Prettier than expected (and happily downhill) (about: 2013)|
Bradford Hammer from Old Tappan, NJ (4/2/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Two Rivers Marathon Race Festival
Nestled in the Poconos is a low-key, surprisingly scenic, and primarily downhill new race for folks looking to tackle 26.2 in the first days of spring.
What stands out is the course: nearly eleven miles of descent from the marathon start (that shoulders the Delaware River), followed by a l-o-n-g but even out-and-back (nestled against the Lackawaxen River). It provides some lovely and unexpected scenery, and one is almost halfway through the race before settling in to the pancake flat run-and-return.
We had a terrific Saturday in 2013; one of the nicest days in all of March with temps reaching the mid-50s. Starting out with frost on windshields, the day warmed up beautifully and everyone was shedding layers. Plus, with the first two miles completely downhill, runners could shake off the chill with minimal effort.
And, since both marathon and half-marathon runners start out together, there's a nice sense of camaraderie for the first twelve miles. Both distances are part of a running festival so there's people around until making headway on the lonely out-and-back.
Prepare to dodge cars in the first half. The second part is much-more road shoulder running, so it's less of an issue. But there's not a lot of traffic; Lackawaxen is a postage-stamp town in the middle of woods. (Even the race director called it 'the boonies.')
This is a relatively new marathon so there are a few expected kinks. That noted, I received an e-mail from event organizers less than 24 hours after the run (and then another two days later) addressing most of the (very few) issues listed below. So, expect more good things going forward from this race.
For example, water stations were water-only, and there was no food or GU anywhere on the course. Organizers have already written that they will have Gatorade or some other electrolyte beverage available in future years, along with gel stations.
Also, the race didn't start on time (owing to just a single shuttle bus), and there were questions as to the accuracy of the finishing clock, the only official timepiece on the entire run. Again, event officials are on top of this.
Finally, while the finishers' area did have a setup with frozen burgers and dogs available for grilling, only two ardent runners I saw wanted to do the work. So organizers are planning more prepared and grab-and-go food for next time.
The race director has mentioned varying the out-and-back, offered participants a discount on next year's pricing (though the race is already inexpensive), and sent around a listing of forgotten athletic garb. Meanwhile, I already came away with an impressive hoody sweatshirt and a finisher's glass. Officials are clearly very interested in putting on a great show for runners.
If downhill is your 'thing,' you'll want to mark this race down for future years.