Marathon 26 - RnR Phoenix Story*Training*Injury*Schedule*Spectators*Statistics

I was not looking forward to this one from the start.

The 4 weeks after Huntsville included the sloth producing Christmas/New Years break. I swear I gained 10 pounds. The first week in January, I, like the rest of the country, caught the flu. When that was over, a trip to Ottawa, with the requisite baggage-caused backache, further dampened my spirits.

With overly-hyped marketing, the inaugural Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale marathon had swelled to a New York Style 29000 runners (13000 in the full, 16000 in the half). The Half marathon was run on a separate course, but finish at the same place. Temperatures were expected to be in the 40-70 range. Hilarity was sure to ensue.

The flights out were uneventful, with half the plane filled with would-be marathoners.

I met Frank Shorter at the Expo, and he signed my bib. We can go ahead and consider this to be the highlight of the marathon.

It was chilly at the start, in the mid 50s, and the forecast had inched up to the high 70s. Instead of going off at 7:45 as expected, the start was delayed until well after 8, in the rookie-marathon mistake of not starting a chip race on time. The elite athletes must have had it worse, but we were chomping at the bit for what seemed like forever.

Throughout the course, there seemed to be plenty of Medical Support, Lots of Volunteers, and enough Water and Gatorade. Traffic control was great. Spectators were enthusiastic and helpful.

The start was uneventful, if not crowded, and I was able to run at my pace, though I could tell the wheel were going to come off by 13, when my splits breached 10. The temperature was already in the mid 60s, and I was dumping water on head to stay cool.

At 15, the course turned left, but I crossed the parallel half marathon course and visited a perfectly placed port-a-john. A 4 mile hill started at here, and took us "through" the zoo, where the Phoenix Parrot Head Club had a water stop. They were perfectly placed as well, because my spirits were waning. Mile 19 had Indian Drummers helping us up the hill. The scenery is great, at this point, with the massive red stone formations on both sides of the course.

I saw someone wearing a MCRRC tee shirt, caught her, and said Hi. It's still amazes me how small the running community is.

At 20, the course leveled out, and the Sun came out. That was when the hounds of Hell came out.

At 23, I passed a collapsed runner, having convulsions, being attended to by paramedics. You never want to see that on a run. Its anti-motivational to the extreme.

The last 3 miles were slow ones -- in the 13's -- but I finished upright and running.

Post race medical was swamped. There was plenty of it and the volunteers were on top of the runners as they finished. Post-race food included Popcicles. Awesome. Traffic was a nightmare leaving the stadium. I missed the party afterwards -- that headlined the Goo Goo Dolls.

Overall a well run race, and worth doing. Elite does a good job orchestrating races, and they will work out the few issues for next year.


Updated January 11th, 2004