Great Rural Marathon (about: 2002)|
A Runner from Darien, Connecticut (5/27/02)
This is a very nice rural marathon with a beautiful yet challenging course. In some ways it is the very antithesis of New York, which I have run several times: No spectators whatsoever except at the finish (hence the one star above - not a negative), small field of runners, totally rural with nice, high desert vistas - a race to run with your own thoughts, on your own terms. It was more challenging than I anticipated. I knew that the long, long downhill would demand a certain style of running and take its toll on my legs. However, living at sea level, I certainly became aware of the altitude. Also, there are three or four demanding hills in the second half of the race, especially around mile 22, and a killer at 25 (followed mercifully by a nice downhill finish). I was afraid that a water stop every other mile starting at mile 3 would not be enough, but water turned out not to be a problem. There was an additional stop at mile 24 which was welcomed (next year, another at mile 22 would be even better). Many of the water stops were staffed by families, and all were wonderful and supportive. This is not the best race for a first marathon - there are too many things for a first timer to worry about without high altitude and big-time down hill. But I do recommend this race to someone who has a marathon or two under his/her belt and wants to try a smaller, well-organized race that has a beautiful desert course and its own set of rewards and challenges. By the way, the race organizers arranged for a great rate at one of the hotels in Mesquite. Job well done, especially for an inaugural race. Thanks!
PS: There is NO shade on this course. Use LOTS of sunscreen. This may be stating the obvious, but I did come across one runner at the start who forgot. Thankfully, he found another runner carrying some. I don?t know if the race organizers had sunscreen at the start, but next year it would be a good idea just in case.