Sunday, January 25, 2015

Marathon Bahamas Race Report - I'm a Globetrotter!

I ran the Marathon Bahamas last weekend, which starts in Nassau and takes place almost exclusively on New Providence Island, with a less than a mile detour to and from Paradise Island. It was my second island nation marathon in two months (see my Cayman Islands Marathon blog post). More importantly, completing a marathon in the Bahamas qualified me to join the Marathon Globetrotters, as it was my 5th marathon country. I’m a provisional member, meaning that I don’t have voting privileges, but I’m OK with that. If and when I complete a marathon in my 10th country, I will become a full voting member.

On-course selfie with an ocean view.
 
I traveled with Abbi and Rachael. Abbi and I were staying together and had a big surprise when we arrived at our pre-paid hotel on Friday night. The hotel was closed for renovations! We were able to speak with a hotel employee, who said all of their third party booking agents were supposed to have rebooked us; of course, this didn’t happen, and here we were in Nassau, after dark, without a place to stay. We ended up at the Hilton, where most of the Marathon Globetrotters and our friends were staying. The Hilton was about twice the price, and we’re still waiting to be refunded for the original hotel. These things happen, and we didn’t allow this to ruin our weekend.

The Nassau Junkanoo Beach Resort, where Abbi and I were supposed to stay. Closed!

It was nice to have a day to relax before race day. With Rich, the president of the Marathon Globetrotters, picking up race packets for all of us, we didn’t have to go far or do much. Rachael, Abbi and I spent time enjoying the amenities at the Hilton, then headed to the Marathon Globetrotters meeting that afternoon.
View from the Hilton 7th floor lounge. We were very close to the cruise ship port.

I enjoy a cold Bahama Mama by the pool

Magenta with the Bahamian flag at the Hilton's beach

The Marathon Globetrotters meeting was their first, as this is still a new club. After introductions, the voting members voted to accept the club’s bylaws and officer slate. Some club discussion took place, including the tentative announcement of the next club meeting at the Jersey Marathon (that would be the British Channel Island of Jersey…not New Jersey, USA), and then all the members gathered for a group photo.

Marathon Globetrotters after the meeting; Rich is holding a laptop by which Anders joined us from Sweden via Skype

Pre-race dinner with friends at Café Matisse; I had a great pasta dish

On race morning we met at 5:30 AM to walk a couple blocks to the starting line. The race would start at 6:00 AM. About ¼ of the field of full marathoners was made up of Marathon Globetrotters. I got to see many friends, and met some new ones. Abbi and I were going to run together, using the first half of the race as practice for my upcoming pacing gig (I’ll be the 3:00 hour half marathon pacer at Georgia Marathon in March). It was dark when we set out, but already warm.

Marathon Globetrotters before the race

Rachael, me and Abbi ready to go

Early in the race we encountered the only two hills, which were the bridges to and from Paradise Island. It was still dark at this point, and there wasn’t much to see on the small stretch of the island that we ran. I’m not sure why they didn’t give us a bigger taste of this island, which is home to the famous Atlantis resort.
Eddie and Rachael climb the bridge to Paradise Island

Still-dark view of Atlantis from the bridge

Abbi and I fell into a groove – sort of. She’s an experienced pacer, and had to keep reeling me in, as I was running a little too fast for the 3:00 hour half pace we were trying to keep. We were also trying to figure out the best run:walk ratio. I will need to do some experimentation on my own to get these things right, and I will need to use a GPS watch, which is something I don’t currently own. We ended up finishing the first half right about on time, but I need more practice to be a pacer.

Abbi and me on the course

Loved the architecture and colors of the buildings, like this police and fire station

The second half of the marathon was hot for us. The sun was overhead, there was little cloud cover, and both Abbi and I felt zapped by the heat. We ended up walking a lot more in the second half. In retrospect, this was not the best marathon to practice pacing the 3:00 hour half. We could have been a little farther along in those first 3 hours, thus giving us a faster finish and less time in the sun. Oh well…it was what it was. We did enjoy some beautiful scenery, as much of the course had an ocean view.
And what a view! We ran along the ocean for a good amount of the course.

As we neared the turnaround of a long out & back section of the course, we started to see our faster friends coming back. I took so many pics of fellow Marathon Maniacs and Marathon Globetrotters. Here are just a few.

David was my fastest friend at the race, and he won his age group!

Abbi and Kino

Jc gave us on-course hugs and then hurried on to the finish

It's Rich, Marathon Globetrotters president

For quite some time, Abbi, Kevin and I were running/walking together, but Abbi’s walking pace was faster than that of Kevin and me. We kept up with her only when we jogged for short stints to catch up with her steady walking pace. Eventually, Abbi lost us, and Kevin had to drop back due to an injury. That meant I spent the last couple miles mostly alone. I don’t normally mind this, but I was so hot and felt more tired than I should have (this race had about the same conditions as Cayman Islands Marathon the previous month, yet is was harder on me). I just wanted to finish.

This sign was inspiring as the late miles of the course were too sunny and too hot

Kevin, Marathon Globetrotters membership officer, nearing the finish

Finally, I saw the finish line, but had to go past it before the course turned around and came back into the finish chute. I saw several friends cheering me in as I crossed the finish line. The best part of the finish was seeing Eddie and Nilda, who got engaged a little while earlier when they finished the race. Eddie dropped down to one knee, catching Nilda completely off guard. Her response to the proposal was: “it’s about damned time!” I congratulated the happy couple, took a few finish pics, and then headed back to the hotel with the group.

Eddie and Nilda got engaged at the finish!

And I qualified for the Marathon Globetrotters with my finish!

Later, after refueling with beer and a snack, Rachael and I met some of the Marathon Globetrotters for another drink and another snack. It was fun to be with a group of people focused on running international marathons; I can learn a lot from that group! We called it an early night.

The day after the race was our travel home day. But first, we did some souvenir shopping in Nassau, and finally found some good seafood for Abbi and Rachael.

Magenta does a little window shopping on the way out of town

Even with the set-back of the hotel change, and even with the ridiculous heat on race day, it was a good weekend. The race course was scenic, the company was good, and there was ocean, sand and drinks. The few spectators along the course were friendly and upbeat. The volunteers were supportive. Unfortunately, the aid stations only had warm water and Gatorade, and Gu twice on the course; for a hot race like this, some fruit and colder fluids would have been nice.  I would recommend this race to someone wanting to do a hot, waterfront marathon. But for me it ranks a little lower than the Cayman Islands Marathon. Stay tuned for my next blog in which I directly compare the two.

2 comments:

  1. LOVED this report!!!
    Awesome job on gutting out a hot/sunny race!
    Is the Globetrotting group run by different people than MM/HF?

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    Replies
    1. Marathon Globetrotters is not affiliated with the Maniacs, although many of the members (like me) belong to both clubs. It is a different concept. It is a free club with elected officers, and the members (if you're a full member) vote on issues. This is unlike Maniacs, which is not a free club, and members really don't have a formal say in the club's operations.

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