Hey, how about I write a race report about this marathon since I seemed to have skipped out on my last one?!
This marathon has been around since 2009 and I've had my eye on it since then and I'm really happy that I finally got to do it. It's a small marathon, 376 finishers, that meanders through WV and Maryland hitting 4 national parks, many filled with lots of Civil War history. I had no time expectations for this race because the last 10 miles are tough and I just really wanted to finish it.
The start temps for this race was 30*, so I was mulling over and over as to what I should wear. I finally settled on capri's, a jacket and tanktop underneath, turned out to be fine since I felt good throughout the race.
We started in Harper's Ferry, WV and ran through Murphy's farm where the John Brown raid happened. It was so pretty. The sun was rising over the mountains and the fog was still in the air. I tried to really conserve my pace, which I did pretty well. Once we went out and back through the farm, we looped back to wear the start was and I waved to my mom and handed her my hat and gave her another hug. From that point we started going downhill....and I mean about 2 miles of a step decent, my fastest miles of course. Finally leveling out in the historic cute town of old Harper's Ferry, we crossed the Potomach River into MD on a frosty slippery bridge (of course they put a photographer there), then down a metal spiral staircase (no, for real!), to a rail trail that runs along the C&O canal. At this point, there's mist coming off the water and mountains all around, so gorgeous. We spend 13 miles on the rail trail, which was really nice and level, just a little rocky. We passed some old canal fixtures, some campers in tents (they must've not known it was going to be 30*!). My pace is still good and I still feel strong. I sent out a couple texts to let some stalkers know how I was doing.
At mile 15, we leave the trail and that's when we get to the hilly party of the race. We go up this road and into Antietam Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. This is the toughest part of the race. BIG HILLS. Up and down and up and down. I was still keeping pace, but it took it's toll and I started walking up more of the hills towards the end of the Antietam portion of the race. I snapped more photos while I was walking...why not? Leaving Antietam Battlefield at mile 21, I was feeling a wreck. The downhills really took their toll on my knees and calves (guess what muscles i need to work on?).
The rest of the race was flat and I walked a bit on miles 22 and 23, and then I just said get over it and go. If you keep walking, you'll only be out here longer. I was hurting but plugging along, the last bit of the race was along a road in town..not that special, but we had to get to the stadium to finish somehow. I texted my mom at mile 25 to let her know I was heading to the finish, and realizing that I could still get in under 4:50, i just kept making it hurt and running. Running into the stadium was awesome, all of a sudden you're hit with a huge crowd cheering you on, and since it's a marathon of 376, they really are cheering just for you, felt awesome and pushed me to the finish at 4:49. A new PR! So...maybe I'll find a FLAT marathon sometime to see how I do.
Here's some of the photos I took: