Friday, June 27, 2008

14 June, Hatfield-McCoy Marathon

Getting from Colorado to the race start in Williamson, WV was at least as tiring as the actual running of the race. With plane tickets into Charleston, WV @ $650 I finally settled on spending 50,000 of my Skymiles to get there. When I arrived at the COS airport Friday morning at 0700 I learned the first leg to Chicago (ORD) was delayed four hours and had to change to a flight to DED then ORD. In ORD the next flight kept getting delayed until finally it loaded up five hours after my arrival, after which we sat on the tarmac for a couple more hours due to thunderstorms all up and down the east coast. I finally arrived at Charleston at 7:30 PM, picked up a rental car (which I had mistakenly reserved for the day before--which cost me $65 for the extra day -- I'll never use Hotwire again), and drove frantically to Williamson to make the 9 PM deadline for packet pickup. Made it with five minutes to spare and they still gave me a wonderful pasta dinner that was included with the entry fee.

Next morning the forecast was for thunderstorms, but they didn't materialize and I only got rained on for the last two miles and by that time it was a welcome relief from the humidity.

The course was on lush green back country roads with minimal traffic. The crux of the race was an 850' hill that climbed from mile 7.5 to mile 8.5 after which we promptly lost all the elevation we had gained in about a mile and a half. At the half-way point we crossed the river and ran into a small village and turned around and came back over the river and continued the course along the Kentucky side of the river. Here I was able to see everyone from the race leader to those as far as four minutes behind me. I was in fifth at this point. I ran alone all the way to about mile 24 when I heard what I thought was a wild boar snorting in the woods. When I looked back it turned out to be a middle-aged runner. I talked myself into thinking he was in his mid-40's as he trotted past me. Later I found out he was 55! I won my age group (50-54) though. 6th overall.
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