Monday, November 29, 2010

Race Recap: Williams Route 66 Marathon

DARTers Todd H. and Bobby A. recently returned from the Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK.  Todd recounts his experience below:

"Marathon number nine in 2010 would result in a having a good time but not posting a fast running time. Leading up to this marathon the previous three weekends consisted of running the Ridge To Bridge Marathon, the Dowd Half Marathon, and the Spencer Mountain 10 miler. I really enjoy running these races and did not want to miss any of them. In exchange for running so many races I am forced to listen to fellow runners tell me how I should taper and focus on one race.

Route 66 was a great race in terms of amenities. Excellent pre-race meal that included bus transportation from hotel and live music afterwards. Day of race was well organized with easy drop bag tents, starting corrals and plenty of bathrooms. The course was well marked with great aid stations with Gatorade, Gu, and lots of live music on the course. Did not love the half marathoners running with us but not that big of a deal.

At the start I enjoyed standing with and speaking to Charlotte-area veteran runners Bobby Aswell and Tim Rhodes. I had no business standing with them at the front of the start line but enjoyed the conversation and would try to keep them in sight for at least 50 feet or so after the gun went off!

I set out to run this marathon in around the same time that I ran Ridge to Bridge three weeks earlier. I ran a 3:24 at R2B and felt I could repeat and hopefully improve on that performance. Waking up to temperatures in the mid-60's with high humidity I knew that this would be a tough race. Add in a day filled with strong winds ideal for a day of sailing or flying a kite and my plan to run a 3:20 would quickly vanish. If the marathon was changed from 26 to 17 or 18 miles then I would have made my goal as I ran strong up to that point. After 17 miles of heavy winds and high humidity resulting in dripping wet, sweat filled clothing my body was zapped. I gutted out the final miles, looking like a first time marathoner as I received countless words of encouragement from bystanders that all sounded the same. 'You can do this!', 'Don't quit as you are almost there!'.  I prefer to hear such statements that include 'Looking great!', or 'Nice pace!'.  No such luck as I looked tired and worn.

I crossed the line in 3 hours and 35 minutes and was happy to have finished. I crossed off another state in my goal to run all 50 states and was happy to have completed my ninth marathon of the year. One unique part of this race was the clydesdale divisions (based upon weight). They not only had a clydesdale division but they also had five different clydesdale divisions. I won my clydesdale division despite running a sub-par performance for my potential. Fellow Charlotte runners also picked up some hardware as Tim placed 3rd Masters with a 3:07 and Bobby placed second in his age group with a 3:16.

A great thing about running a marathon practically every month is that I will get a chance to run faster with hopefully better temperatures and less wind in the very near future. For those of you considering Route 66 I would strongly recommend this race. Glad I went to Oklahoma as the race was well run and the people in Oklahoma could not have been friendlier."

Way to go, Todd, Bobby, and Tim!

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