Thanks, Cottonwood, for a fun race! (about: 2013)|
Winnie Clark from Peoria, AZ (4/21/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Brian Mickelsen Memorial Marathon
Background: Hubby and I were in Cottonwood to visit family. I switched from the half to the full just a couple days before the event to honor/memorialize those effected by the Boston Marathon bombing. I'd run a marathon in early March that hadn't gone so well, and I was rebuilding my mileage to run another marathon in late May. I didn't taper for this event, just wanted to do it as a training run/tribute.
-Great small town atmosphere.
-The race is reasonably priced and supports a good cause. Everyone seems to appreciate your participation.
-Probably the smallest marathon I've run and there was a strong sense of cameraderie on the course. If you're looking for tons of cheering specators and don't like running alone (unless you come with a buddy), this might not be the race for you.
-Lots of aid stations with plenty of fluids
-Extremely friendly and supportive volunteers
-Beautiful, varied course and terrain. Haven't had a chance to run up in the high country for a while and, living in the Valley, I miss it!
-Not too challenging if you run it right. Pace by even effort: take the steep uphills in the first half too fast and you will blow up. Run it smart and you'll be pleasantly surprised by your efforts.
-Lack of porta potties. Saw a couple at mile 20 but nothing before then. I managed to make it but I spotted some desperate runners!
-After mile 19 the course becomes a desert trail run on a single track. There were virtually no runners around me at this point but if the race gets bigger in the future conditions could get hairy here.
-By mile 22 there were a number of turnarounds and loops to follow that were downright confusing (admittedly I have a poor sense of direction!). Occasionally a half marathoner who was a local or a volunteer helped direct me, but I started off in the wrong direction several times. At mile 26 I had to stop at a busy intersection (10k runners were leaving) to ask for directions to the finish line! Fortunately I was able to book it in from there. The last 7 miles need to be rethought, because honestly, at that point most marathoners are too tired to have to think too much! Also, it's very easy for participants to miss portions of the course and run less than 26.2 (I think I ended up running closer to 27 miles).
Overall, though, I had an enjoyable, unique experience and even managed to place in my age group. Capped off the day with a visit to Old Town and sampled some (yummy) local dining.