I Won an Age Group Award!
I won 3rd Place in my age group at Parker's Marathon in West Virginia! Does it matter that this race had only 121 finishers? Does it matter that my age group only had 3? Not to me! I'm hanging that 3rd place medal on my bling rack with pride! It's a good thing I delayed my post about this race for nearly two weeks...because I only received my age group medal in the mail last night. I was very surprised, because I was quite slow compared to my recent marathon times. For some reason I was very, very tired, and my calf was bothering me where I'd had a stress fracture last year. I did a lot of walking in the second half of the race, but of course, I finished!
I wasn't originally planning to run Parker's Marathon, but after looking at my race calendar, I saw that I could add a couple more states by January, thereby advancing to 7 stars in Marathon Maniacs. Parker's was not too far from home by car, and I needed West Virginia, so I decided to do it. Glad I did! The race was crawling with Maniacs! I got to travel with Anders Forselius, the "Biking Viking" and meet up with Wayne "The Manimal" Sherman, another Northern Virginia Maniac. And I got to meet lots of new-to-me Maniacs, including the legendary Larry Macon.
I was impressed by Parker's Marathon. A small race doesn't need to mean a small experience. This one was a very nice experience. There was a hot breakfast before the race, and a hot lunch after the race, which included several homemade baked goods - yum! They even thought of the vegetarians by offering veggie burgers. The venue at North Bend State Park was pretty and serene. The water stations were staffed by very friendly volunteers, and there was a great cameraderie among runners on this course. The course was an out and back along an old rail trail, run mostly on packed gravel. An old railroad tunnel was a unique feature, making this course special. Mini flashlights were provided on either end of the tunnel so that runners could light their way. Problem was, when I got to the tunnel the first time, all the flashlights were on the other end! I made friends with fellow Maniac Annette and 50-Stater Deb as we felt our way through the tunnel in the pitch black. And I do mean it was DARK. The tunnel was long and curved, so we could not see the light at the end of the tunnel until we were nearly through it!
I wish I could say that you'll have the same experience if you run Parker's next year. But your experience will be a little different. In 2013, Parker's Marathon moves to Morgantown, WV with a new course. I understand it will still be a rail trail, but I cannot guarantee you a spooky tunnel experience. Oh well, I'm sure the race will again be well managed and you'll have a great time.
|My finisher's medal and my 3rd place, female 41-48 medal|
|What a group of Maniacs! That's Wayne in the red Hill Killer shirt and Anders on the far right.|
|Me and Larry Macon, who has completed all 50 states 14 times and holds a Guinness record for most marathons run in a year! (Photo credit to Anders Forselius)|
|The light at the end of the tunnel...literally!|
|Deb, me, and Annette long after we made it through the tunnel; this is what the course looked like for the most part (photo credit to Wayne Sherman)|