I signed up for the Newport News One City Marathon rather last- minute as I realized I didn’t have a race scheduled for March and didn’t want to go seven weeks between Arizona and Boston. The reviews were mainly positive, and it came at a good time in my schedule. This race is held one week before the Shamrock Marathon on Virginia Beach, which is a much larger and higher- profile event, but I thought that Newport News put on a respectable, smaller, marathon.
Ultimately, I think the word “nice” is the best descriptor for this run. I’m writing this post a couple weeks after the fact, and I’m already having a difficult time recalling specific details from the course. This will likely be a marathon that blends into the background as I run more states, but I definitely don’t think it’s a bad race. The course was flat and well planned, packet pickup was super- easy, and there were no logistical problems on race day. There just wasn’t much about the experience that stood out to me. I actually had several people make the comment, “THIS is the race you picked for Virginia?” during the weekend.
The course is a point-to-point, which makes sense as Newport News is a long, skinny town. There are no hotels at the bus pickup/ finish line, which is a bit of a bummer. (Fortunately, there is a ton of free parking in the area.) I’m always happiest when I can walk out of my hotel and be within a block or two of a start line, but I did appreciate the fact that this marathon ended at the shipyard– It added a little local flavor. It was in the low 30’s and cloudy all morning—making this the coldest race I’ve run. Our bus drivers were super- accommodating and let us stay on board until it was time to line up. All of the volunteers at the start line, throughout the course, and at the finish were equally wonderful.
I was ultimately very happy with my run, which came two weeks after Mesa. This is the closest turnaround I’ve tried to date. I had no problems at all during my race and was only slightly sore during the following week. I ran with the 3:30 pace group, which turned out to be a very nice collection of people. I was VERY grateful to have other runners to talk to on the course as it helped detract from the nice—albeit rather uninteresting—scenery. The pace felt good all the way up to mile 20 when I had to break away to use the bathroom. This was my 15th marathon and only the first time I’ve had to do this. I very much do not want to make it a habit as it’s pretty gross and slowed me down by about three minutes.
My other impetus for running this particular race was the fact that we have friends from Jim’s residency in the area. After a rather uneventful marathon, I was able to cap off the day with a much more memorable visit.
** Race Highlights: I ran with a great pacer and a nice pace group.
** The Downside: I had to use a porta- potty at mile 20. This was more than a little gross, and I hope to never do this again.
Sub 4:00 State #15, BQ State #13
Finish Time: 3:33:38
Overall Place Within My Gender: 22/ 161
Favorite Race Day Song: I didn’t listen to much music. I spent most of the time talking to people in my pace group.
Total Training Miles: 3427
Shoe Total: 12