Published: August 18th 2011July 26th 2011
I registered for this race about two weeks prior to race day. I had not planned on running this one, but I won't be in town during the Park City Marathon (August 20th) and as I'm completing the Utah Grand Slam, the only remaining marathon I could use to complete the Slam was the Deseret News Marathon.
Runners were bused to the top of Big Mountain for a 5:30 am start. The drive to the top took awhile, even though we were only going 26 miles and our driver got lost but we eventually made it to the top an hour before race start.
Those early morning hours before a marathon begins are always hectic and chaotic. There are usually thousands of runners stretching, hydrating and waiting. The morning of the Deseret News marathon there were only about 600 of us. I've never run a race so small and there was a very real fear of being dead last with such a small number of runners... I'm not a fast runner. But I need not have worried, I wasn't even close to last...and I finished. I know of at least two runners who were taken off the course. And I guess if it came down to it, I would rather be last than not finish at all. And I would rather be last than to have not been there at all. DLF > DNF > DNS, which translates to Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish is greater than Did Not Start.
Almost the entire course was downhill. The first two miles were very steep and it was hard to keep from blasting down the mountain as fast as I could, but to do so would have ensured a sprain or stress fracture of some sort so I held back with a conservative pace that would ensure the continued comfort of all bones and ligaments.
Around the 8 mile marker I met up with another runner. We were on an out and back segment that required we run around a small cone. The runner ahead of me was just circling the cone when I heard him make the sound of a race car engine. The sort of sound one might hear on a race track at the Indianapolis 500 with cars zooming past. It's not the sound one usually hears from a grown man so I said "Did you just zoom like a car around that cone?" to which he replied, "Yes, I did." He seemed quite proud of himself and so, not to be outdone, I flew like a Lear Jet around the cone, making the appropriate sound to match my actions. That was all it took for us to bond and we ran every step of the rest of the race together, talking and sharing life stories the entire way. It was his 8th marathon of the year and my 3rd. He is a teacher from Houston who is traveling around the country running a marathon in each state and is also a Marathon Maniac. Near the finish line we met up with another Marathon Maniac who had run the Seattle Marathon the previous day and then driven all night to get to Utah in time for our marathon. He had not slept in two days and it was all he could do to finish the marathon so my new friend and I ran along beside him, talking to him and keeping him awake for the remaining half mile to the finish line. The three of us crossed the finish line together at just over 6 hours.
I had a BLAST running this marathon, primarily because I ran with someone and he made it fun. I might have to consider finding a running partner for these races.
Next up, the Top of Utah Marathon on September 17th.