The Race: It is impossible for me to talk about this race without focusing on the a- typical weather Vermont experienced this year. Forecasts predicted temperatures in the high 80’s, and they were spot on. This, along with the humidity and lack of wind led to concerns that the race would be cancelled. We ended up starting as planned at 8:00 AM with temperatures around 74 degrees, and they just kept rising from there. The race was red flagged around my mile eight and black flagged sometime after the 4:00 mark. I cannot speak to what occurred after the event was officially called off as I had already completed my run, but I can only imagine how many disappointed people there were. (Roughly 950 participants were able to finish the marathon before the 4:30 mark when the race organizers stopped providing an official time. Over 1500 people did not.)
What I can speak to is the incredible support the residents of Burlington and the surrounding neighborhoods provided. The race organizers doubled the amount of water that was available at aid stations, had ice trucks out on the course, and provided popsicles during the last few miles which helped make the heat manageable. What made the race actually enjoyable were the hundreds of people who turned on their sprinklers, came out with a garden hose, provided extra water and ice, or just showed up on a hot day to cheer us miserable folks on.
The course itself was nice, though not exceptional. It was relatively flat, and Vermont is a pretty state. I would actually have preferred more hills so that we could see more of the city, but I do appreciate the organizers’ attempts to make this a fast course. There is one rather terrible out and back from mile 3.5- 9 where we ran on a highway, but aside from that it was mostly neighborhoods and parks. Again, the people are what made this race memorable.
My Race: This run could have gone really, really badly. It was so hot and there were a ton of people who pushed too hard and got sick. There were hundreds of people who spent hours running in the heat only to be told that the race was called off and their times would not be officially counted. I’m very grateful not to have been one of them. This easily could have been a very unpleasant experience, but thanks to the race volunteers and the awesome spectators, I can honestly say that I had fun running this course. I knew that I wasn’t going to run a super- fast time, so there was no pressure to push myself. I also feel much more confident about running a race in Hawaii’s warmer climate in January.
I selected this particular race because it was so close to where one of my roommates from college lives, and while I had fun with the event, the real draw of the weekend was getting to hang out with her and her adorable family. We hadn’t seen each other in years, and I am so very happy that we had an opportunity to catch up. This is really what the fifty states challenge is about for me: reconnecting with old friends from around the country and getting to experience new places.
** Race Highlights: The people along the course. Hands down. (I also really appreciated the massage tent and pizza and soda at the post- race party… All I want after a marathon is a diet coke and a slice of something drenched in cheese.)
** The Downside: The heat. 100%.
Sub 4:00 State #7
Finish Time: 3:47:05
Overall Place Within My Gender: 93rd
Favorite Race Day Song: “Cheap Thrills” by Sia
Total Training Miles: 1943
Shoe Total: 6