Saturday, June 12, 2010
I guess I was expecting the Sunburst Marathon to be similar to Knoxville and other smaller town marathons, and it was similar for the most part. There are, of course, the local sights and sounds that make every race unique if the race is organized in such a way as to highlight the best of the area, and these guys did not disappoint.
The expo was at the College Football Hall of Fame, which was also the starting area for the marathon. Very cool place, highly recommend it. The expo was extremely focused, virtually no vendors, and I absolutely loved that. We got signed up and back to shopping and sightseeing within minutes.
Mishiwaka has tons of great shopping, so my clan was happy and left me in peace to hang out at the hotel when I got sick of spending money.
Starting a marathon at 6 am is very civilized, especially when the temperature and humidity are already soaring at that hour. The field of marathoners was quite small, which was great because at my 10 minute pace it can be crowded sometimes. A lot of the runners were locals, quite natural, and the hoosier types are great folks. The course wasn't terribly flat, a few little inclines, which keeps the legs stretched. Endless out and backs, which didn't particularly bother me since it was unique and kind of interesting to watch other people as you meet them again. However, near the end it was heartbreaking to see some of the hardiest of the 6 hour runners limping along, although their spirit and determination really make you proud of them. Hopefully the 3 hour types think the same when they see me...
I finished in 4:28:30, not my fastest but I did some walking in the extremely humid conditions to ensure I would finish standing.
The Nore Dame field is a great place to finish, and the stands were well populated with cheering crowds so it was very cool. Popsicles at the finish was a great touch. And the best part was that the rain held off literally until I closed the car door in the parking lot at the end.
Would I recommend this marathon? 1000%.