I knew absolutely nothing about the Newport Rhode Races Marathon when I signed Jim and I up for this one, but I needed Rhode Island, and the timing worked out well for us both, so off we went. We flew into Providence on the Friday before Boston and had to keep telling people that we were in town for the ‘other marathon.’ While the two races don’t really compare, I will say that Newport had a lot more charm than I had expected. For starters, the town is lovely. We stayed at the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites which sat right on the water and was a block from the start/ finish line. The location couldn’t have been better.
Getting to the race on Saturday morning was obviously super- easy, and we had a smooth start. The course makes a loop around one side of town, then passes back through the start/ finish line before making a second loop in a different section. The first half of the race was excellent: The weather was perfect, and we had picturesque views of the ocean during our first several miles. We then turned into the old section of town and passed by all of the historical estates and mansions. They were gorgeous, and I had to keep telling the guy running next to me that I wasn’t staring at him, I was just trying to take in all of the stunning architecture. The race advertised moderate rolling hills, and that felt spot on for the first thirteen miles. While the course was rarely flat, the hills kept things interesting and weren’t too difficult.
We passed back through the start/ finish line right at the halfway point, and this is where things started to go south for me. There was an aid station at mile thirteen, but then we didn’t see another one for four miles. It was starting to warm up by this point, and we hit a section of the course with no shade. Also, the moderate rolling hills began to get larger, and the scenery shifted from ocean views and mansions to a more rural landscape. I was uncomfortably thirsty by the time we hit the next aid station, and I wasn’t fully able to recover from the dehydration. My pace slowed considerably, and I ended up walking up some of the larger hills towards the end. What had felt fun and effortless for the first two hours began to feel much more like a struggle by mile twenty.
I finished this marathon with a decent time, but I was disappointed with my performance when I saw the results: Newport’s age group award categories spanned ten years instead of the typical five, so as a 39 year old participant, I didn’t think my chances were particularly strong in the 30- 39 group. After slowing down towards the end of this race, I decided to take the last couple of miles easy and walk when I felt that I needed a break. I got passed by a few people, which usually bothers me. About a half mile from the finish, a woman passed me while I was walking up a hill. She ended up beating me by twenty seconds and, consequently, was the third girl to cross the finish line in our division.
** Race Highlights: I loved the first half of this race. The water views were spectacular, and running beside all of the old mansions was extremely cool.
** The Downside: The second half was much hillier and also hot. More aid stations during this section would also have helped.
Sub 4:00 State #27, BQ State #26
Finish Time: 3:32:44
Overall Place Within My Gender: 12/ 164
Total Training Miles: 5,798.7
Shoe Total: 18