Great, unique event!! (about: 2013)|
Ed Robins from Philadelphia, Pa (10/9/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Center of the Nation Marathon - South Dakota
This race is just one race that is part of a 5 day, 5 state event where runners can (if they chose to) run 5 marathons in 5 days in 5 states. I only ran 3 of the races and this was my first (I was also running Wyoming the next day and Nebraska on Friday). There was also a half marathon option.
Because of the demanding nature of running up to 5 marathons in a week these races are set up differantly than most races. They have no time limit so participants can chose to walk the entire distance. Also the courses are short loops or out and backs that runners complete multiple times. Each time a runners completed a lap they recieved a rubber band.
This year the South Dakota race was a 1.1 mile out and back course that ran along the Belle Fouche river. Now I thought that running the same course over and over would be terribly boring. What I didn't realize was that running back and forth like this allowed everyone to see everyone else each lap. Names were on all the race bibs and folks began greeting each other by name. At the end of the day you began to feel as though you were making new friends. Also it allowed runners of all paces to interact. Usually in a race you only see runners of your speed but here we got to see everyone each lap. I've never felt this kind of camarodery in a race before. I am now facebook friends with so many folks who ran this event. This is a race without fan support but seeing all the other runners is a superior substitute to the usual fans.
Also you quickly learned the course so you knew when the water stops were coming and you could gage your effort better knowing exactly where the hills were. The aid stations had water and gatorade and lots of small sweet and salty treats.
Runners get one shirt for the entire event and the medal is handled in another unique way. Everyone gets a participation medal and extension medals for each race that you complete. These attach to the main participation medal. So runners who ran all 5 days by the end of the week had a chain of medals that hung down beneath their waists. Also runners who ran all 5 days got a special medal acknowledging their 5 day accomplishment. Very unique and fun!!
As I said I was signed up to run 3 marathons in 4 days and if I could do it again I'd participate in all 5 days just to be part of it all even if I only ran the half on some days to save my legs.
The basic templete for most races is the same. What is so great about this series is the templete is differant and it gives the race a breath of fresh air. Clint the race director is super attentive to runners' questions and concerns and it shows in this super fun series. If you want to try a differant kind of race try one of these!!