Friday, May 28, 2010
Boone Marathon Series
I must admit that I've been holding back on posting about the Boone Marathon Series, not because it's hard or complicated or or unpleasant anything of that kind. On the contrary, it's a gem of a running event that I've been selfish with and have been hoarding ever since my first running of it on April 3rd. Now that I've done it a couple of times I have to share it with you.
I can't recall exactly but I believe I found out about the Boone Marathon Series while looking for upcoming NC-based races on the internet. As a frequenter of July's Grandfather Mountain Marathon I thought it was the only race of that distance in the area, so it was with great curiosity that I looked into the Boone Marathon Series.
In a nutshell the series consists of marathons nearly every weekend that take place on The Greenway Trail near downtown Boone, NC. The course consists of seven laps of a 3.75-mile out-and-back on a mostly flat scenic asphalt trail. If you aren't up for a full marathon you can run shorter, or if marathons just warm you up you can run further. Water and good cheer is provided at the start and halfway points, and all finishers will receive a dog tag with their name and event on it. What's all this cost? Believe it or not, not a penny unless you want to buy a shirt commemorating the occasion. There is NO entry fee. If you'd like something other than water (e.g., gels, Gatorade) then bring it.
What's this, you say? Free marathons all year 'round? What's the catch? Well, that's where its founder and race director Matt Jenkins comes in. To paraphrase Matt, "I like to run a lot, but I don't like to travel too much and I don't like to spend too much money just to run. So if anyone wants to join me I'd love to have you along." That's it, there is no catch. There are no medals, no trophies, and no Boston Qualifier. Banditry is encouraged. Keeping track of your laps and finishing time is your responsibility.
So why run all that distance for no material reward? For someone who's new to marathoning it's a great way to get used to the distance without having the hassle of a big marathon. For someone like me who's run a few marathons it's a terrific way in which to practice hydration and nutrition for upcoming races. And for some people I suspect it's a way to get outside for a few hours and enjoy life.
Head up to Boone and put in a few miles for your own well-being. I think you'll find that the intangible rewards will be greater than any medal, shirt, or trophy you'll ever get. Oh yeah- you will probably make some new friends out there on the greenway. I certainly have.
Davidson Area Running Team
P.S. The Boone Marathon Series has spawned a few more like-minded series, including the Charlotte and Virginia Beach versions. Check 'em out!