Marshall University Marathon Race Recap

By: Rachel Gibson

Yes, another marathon post...go figure. I've got an addiction to 26.2, and even when I woke up on Sunday not at all in the mood to run a marathon, I still did. Mainly because I'd already paid for it. And wanted to wear the sweet complimentary jacket with pride. And because I didn't have to get up extraordinarily early.
Unlike the rest of the marathons I've written about recently, this one was in my own backyard, nearly literally; the course goes within a mile of our house. I got to sleep in my own bed, and with a start time of 7am, I left the house for the start line at 6:45. In other words, I really had no excuse, I just had to run it.
So I did. And you know what? It was AWESOME.
In the 25 marathons I've run, this was definitely the friendliest one.
Exhibit A (and B, C, get the idea):
  • I met up with my super impressive Ironman friend Aeron at the start, and we were chatting up on the side (not even in the start corral) when the gun went off--whoops!
  • A Kansas City native I met along the route was working on his 50 states goal; West Virginia was his 43rd. Crazy awesome.
  • I saw Aeron again in Ritter Park and we chatted it up for another couple miles.
  • A woman in the 45-49 age group was kicking tail and shared some words of encouragement with me right as I felt like slowing way down--she was definitely a huge reason I kept going strong during the last several miles.
  • There was a guy at mile 13 from Mississippi who wanted me to pace him for a 3:35 (HA!!!)...clearly I was going way too fast!
  • Michele was at the water stop, dutifully volunteering as Mark ran his first full marathon, a huge testimony to how awesome she did during her first at Chicago last month!  What the marathoning duo they are!
  • I also saw a ton of my Huntington running buddies--Emily, Justin, Susan and a whole bunch more--we all exchanged "good lucks" and "way to go"s to each other along the route!
I basically just chatted it up the entire race--I had no idea how fast I was going (other than the Mississippi guy, who couldn't understand how I could run without a Garmin), but I knew I was pushing myself more than I normally do, so when I got to the end zone with a football in hand and saw an awesome PR glowing on the clock at the other end zone, I sprinted down the Marshall University football field as fast as my jelly legs would go!
I still can't believe it...on a day I didn't even feel like running, I ended up with a 5 minute PR, a new time bracket (helllooooo sub 3:40, finally!) and even snagged 2nd place in my AG.
Hooray for fast, fun, friendly marathons!
*The stadium at Marshall University. Go Herd!*
*Coming down from 3rd Ave. into the stadium. Marathons should always, always end with a downhill, just for my ego's (and legs!) sake.*
*Running the length of the field before again running down the entire field. But honestly,the bigger tease is the magnificent smell of hamburgers that are being grilled within inches of the course under those tents.....mmmmm.....beef......*
*My Heisman Trophy pose from last year proved to be very poor football form, according to my pigskin savvy friends, so this year I opted for a simple carry-and-attempt-to-keep-running maneuver.*
*OHHHEEEEMMMMGEEEEE, the finish line!!!*
*Disregard the absolutely disgusting sweat still covering my face on this 75 degree November (gasp!) day.....that's just how excited I was, like "snap the picture now, I just PR'd for the 3rd time this fall, holy cowwwww!"*

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