Most of us are aware of the Marshall Football team tragedy in 1970 , when the football team was lost in a horrible plane accident. So running a marathon , where you finished inside the "Thundering Herd" stadium, carrying a football tucked under your arm across the finish line, made this race an attractive option on Lindsey's to-do list. In case you didn't know it she is going to try for the 50 States marathon club. This is where you run a marathon in every state.. At first I thought this was a crazy idea, but... now that I am going to attempt a full marathon next year .. not once ... but 3 times.. I understand the attraction. So I went along to do the 1/2 marathon, and to drive the car home. It was just 3 weeks ago that we did the Indy marathons, and both of us were wondering how this would work.
We drove over Saturday afternoon.. Huntington is a quick 3 hour scenic drive. The marathon is hosted by an organization called Healthy Huntington. And the one thing that struck us as we drove in to town, was the number of Cancer and Heart doctors with billboards around town. Also the number of cemeteries...It was kind of creepy. We picked up our race packets at the University rec center.. really nice place by the way and the shirts were ADORABLE! Buffalo imprinted long sleeve tech shirts from Brooks, very nice.
Race morning, I wondered who they had to pay off to get such amazing weather. Temperatures were just under 40, but it wasn't windy at all. Stadium bathrooms were open so no long lines waiting to use a freezing cold porta-potty, but rather a toasty warm bathroom. The race is small.. about 1500 half marathoners, and 500 full marathoners. And the runners are extremely friendly.
Honestly it was the people we met along the way that made this race for both of us. We met 2 gentlemen who were part of the 50 states club. You can find them , because they ... like us... hang at the back of the pack not trying to break the time of their last marathon, but just enjoying the run and the scenery. Both had run marathons the day before! One had driven down to Savannah, run the Savannah marathon, then got in the car and drove 9 hours to Huntington, to run Huntington on Sunday!!!! We picked their brains to see what races they had enjoyed the most and just chatted along a mostly boring first half of the course. It wasn't until about mile 6 when we entered a park , did I really enjoy the run. You can't tell from this picture though.. This was in the Huntington newspaper the next day...I don't look like I'm enjoying this much..
The park had a nice crushed gravel path and we spent the next 5 miles running in comfort. We could have used a few more water stations along the way, but for a half marathon experience, I was enjoying it. It seemed easier somehow than Indy had been... probably because it was so flat.
At mile 12.1 Lindsey and I separated.. I headed toward the stadium to complete my run, she headed across campus to circle around and start the loop again. I finished the race 3 minutes faster than my last 1/2, which was nice... but the post race food was a disappointment... lots of Little Debbie snack cakes and burgers... so I headed to the car to grab some peanut butter crackers and to change my clothes. I caught Lindsey as she made her way around the back of the stadium and bitched about the food... She just looked at me like I was crazy... because she still had 12 more miles to run!
I jumped in the car and drove back to the park area, so I could wait for her there. The weather was still gorgeous with temperatures in the mid 50's and tons of sunshine. I hung out at one of the water stations talking to the volunteers and complementing them on a job well done! They had the football game on and were having a great time encouraging the runners. I ran about another 2 miles with Linz around the park and then drove back to the Stadium to see her finish. She completed her race about 2 minutes slower than Indy, but not bad at all. (She swears it is the extra Porta-potty stop she had in this race versus the last)
Overall not a bad weekend. Great weather certainly helped make this an enjoyable one, but she is glad to have WV off her race list. 3 down... 47 more to go!