Sweet Home West Virginia
A Marshall University Race Report
So two weeks of ice and compression socks and I’m ready to check off some more states. This time I’m joined by Tim and Kim. Yeah you got the rhyming thing didn’t you!
Just a little introduction of my traveling companions.
Tim had just completed the Portland marathon 5 weeks prior, injured no less. Kim had just made it back from a disappointing cancelation of the New York Marathon, injured too! Yes we were a gimpy crew to say the least.
The Marshall University Marathon is located in the beautiful city of Huntington West Virginia and known for it’s most distinguished graduates Leah and Dave Pelfrey! (If you don’t know them we’ll you should, they are an amazing couple). Leah as you may remember has been my most constant traveling companion and partner in crime this year.
This was a drivable marathon so we decided to make this a pure business trip. Drive in on Saturday morning and home right after the race.
Since Leah had run this race before and lived there during college we had an insiders tip on where to stay and eat!
We met early in the morning at Tim’s house to begin the 6.5-hour drive to Huntington. Armed with snacks and Google map directions I though I was all set.
All set that is unless you leave those items in Tim’s kitchen!
Luckily Tim had also printed directions so we were okay. Remember those famous lines later.
Now I never really think about not having a smart phone because hey, usually at least one out of three folks in any room does. NOT! It turns out that out of all the folks in our running club, the three people who do not have smart phones are, you guessed it, Tim, Kim and Sue!
Still we have directions and all goes well on the drive. We even made such good time that our rooms were not ready when we arrived at the Holiday Inn.
Needing to stretch our legs we decided to walk the half-mile to the expo. Expo is maybe to strong of a word; let’s just call it packet pick-up.
Packet pickup was located in the lobby of the Student Center. Easy and quick pick up! This race was a bargain. For a measly $55.00 we received a nice tech shirt as well as an awesome Brooks marathon jacket! Score. Even if the race stunk it was worth the drive just for the jacket.
Nothing to see here folks! And I mean nothing. Other than a small display of GU, clothing and shoes that took all of 2 seconds to check out, we were done. It was almost a pleasant surprise after doing so many mega expos.
This race was very very small. I believe the total marathoner’s were under 700 but it was just right in my mind.
We decided on an early dinner and early bedtime.
Now one thing I have learned about running marathon’s with Tim was that he had a bit of a sweet tooth (as noted in my Louisville race report where he single handedly helped the girl scouts meet their quota for the day at a rest stop on the way home, damn thin mints!)
Any way, at dinner we noticed this awesome cupcake shop across the street. We made plans to stop after dinner to pick up post race goodies. The problem was that it was late in the day and most of the flavors of cupcakes had sold out. As we were eating outside we watched folks wander in and buy our cupcakes. We began cursing them. No, don’t buy our treats! Dieting is in!
So we might have rushed dinner just a bit but it was worth it for the Red Velvet Cupcakes that Tim got, the Berry Pie for Kim and a host of goodies I brought home for the family.
Since check out was early we opted for using the Student Center to shower after the race, which meant driving to the start. No worries! We had plenty of time to drive the whole ½ mile!
Race morning was again, perfect! Slightly overcast and a bit chilly with the promise of 70 by the finish!
Now you remember my friend Ed from St. Louis? Well he was running not one, not two but three marathons that weekend with the last one being here in Huntington.
I lucked out and spotted him in the crowd. Ed was not in good shape. Remember how I hobbled in St. Louis, well that was Ed in Huntington. He had taken a fall the day before and was not looking for anything better than finishing upright. He really rounded out our crew of the running wounded.
Kim decided to start behind us but Tim said that he would stay with me for a while.
A while ended up being about 15 miles but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The start was kind of funny. No gun, no fanfare, just go! Oh and no mat either even though it was chipped timed. Actually I think there might have been a chalk line drawn on the road but don’t quote me on that one.
The course for this race consisted of two loops around the city that took us into some really beautiful parks.
In the first mile, Tim’s hands got cold and low and behold he just happened to find a discarded pair of gloves to put on! Score again.
Even though he didn’t need to Tim stayed with me and ran/walked until I could find my legs. The calve muscle that I had torn was letting me know it was not healed yet. We talked and ran together.
On the second loop we actually passed the stadium where we started (and parked). It was during that reverse loop that Tim began to go shopping. It was hilarious to look at all the discarded toss aways for something worth snagging.
The item turned up at mile 13. Tim found an awesome black jacket that looked a lot like the great jacket we got for the race. In anticipation of passing our car, Tim tied it around his waste after all it was only less than half a mile right! Wrong again!
It turns out that on the reverse loop we needed to pass the stadium and didn’t come back to our car until mile 15. Poor Tim but at least he got an awesome jacket for his trouble. It was here that we parted ways. I was not feeling the love and Tim (a way way way faster runner than me) was ready to take off.
Tim took off to the car with his newly found items and I hit the port of potties for a little relief. Shouldn’t take but a minute right? Okay Wrong again.
Out of the line of 8 or so port o potties not a single one had toilet paper! After checking the last one in disgust a man behind me offered to go to his car and bring me a napkin he had left from his breakfast. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I went in and waited for my Good Samaritan to return.
Once I made it back on the course I started seeing all kinds of Marathon Maniacs that I had met throughout the year. It was really fun! Suddenly I didn’t feel as much pain and before I knew it the finish line in the stadium was just ahead.
One of the cool options you have when finishing the Marshall University Marathon is crossing the line with a football! Yes I came in, struck a pose and spiked the ball! West Virginia check.
I met Tim, congratulated him and made my way to the car for my cooler of beer! Yes I came prepared.
Tim and I settled in and cheered everyone while waiting for Kim. Again being injured all any of us were hoping for was finishing upright.
Kim crossed the line looking fabulous! Ed came in about 10 minutes later looking not so fabulous but very proud. Then it was time to work our way to shower and home.
Remember when I said I was traveling with the only people who don’t have smart phones, well it appears they were traveling with someone who can’t back track on directions!
Yes it sounds easy in theory but oh boy when your tired it takes more brainwork than you would think. Did we miss an exit? Why yes we did! Luckily Tim’s great sense of direction got us home by a slightly different (and maybe longer) route.
This was an awesome marathon that I would highly recommend if you’re looking for a flat, inexpensive and well supported marathon. We also had the honor of seeing the oldest marathon finisher make his Guinness Book appearance (well sort of, he ran by us as we were going to shower) All in all a great experience.
You may ask, time? What was your time? Well I came in at 5:01 not too bad for a gimpy runner on her 14th marathon.
Next stop Tulsa Oklahoma!
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