Sunday's Marshall University Marathon was a good one but did get brutal. Temps started at 42 degrees and ended at 72 degrees when I finished. We picked Marshall to memorialize the 75 football players/coaches that died in a plane crash in 1970. You probably remember this from the movie We Are Marshall. During the race you get to place a rose on the Memorial Fountain (if you so wish to give up precious time) or you can hand your rose off to a volunteer to place it for you. The last 100 yards you actually run on the Thundering Herd's Football Field and carry a football to the finish line.
I went with 3 Fasttrackers: Tom Chaves (created my website), Keith Straw (the fairy), and Elden Monday who wanted to beat 3:15 and qualify for Boston. My friend and chiropractor, Andy Harris, went with us too. Andy ran for ALS.
With the temperatures low during the first half of the race everyone was on pace for a PR. Keith , a 3:12 marathoner paced Elden and they had a 90 minute half marathon. Amazing. Keith finished with a PR of 3:10 and 3rd place for 50-54. Elden got his BQ with a 3:13. Yeah! Please see picture of Elden #112 temporarily beating the fairy:
Tom has to get a 3:30 to qualify, he usually runs a 3:40. He ran an on target 1:40 half and managed to finish under 4 hours -- the heat got to him. The heat got to me and Andy as well. I ran a 1:53 first half, felt easy. I thought I kept the same effort the second half but finished with a 4:01:37. Andy ran a 1:59 half and finished with a 4:44. Andy, built for football more than running usually runs 4:15. He came in half naked, put his ALS shirt on before carrying the football the last 100 yards on Marshall's football field.
I witnessed 3 collapses on the course due to cramps. First a girl at 20 miles, I gave her all my Tums for calcium. At mile 21 a 50 year old man's legs gave out and he landed straight back on the towpath, volunteers helped him up. While waiting for Andy to finish, I saw a man in his fifties at the 30 yard line raise the football over his head and his legs gave out and he landed straight back on the turf. Other runners carrying their footballs ran over and around him, not kidding. Then 2 big guy volunteers helped the man up and he eventually hobbled over the finish line killing 2 minutes of his time.
Keith was in his hay-day. When he got to the starting line in his fairy costume people took pictures of him, told him it was a "pleasure" to meet him, recognized him in Oct and Dec. Runner's World . Elden said guys were bitching during the race ,"We can't let the fairy beat us!" Keith beat them. After the race we all ate at The Marshall Cafe and tons of people came over to meet Keith (in regular clothes now) and took pictures. We were all gagging of course
Thank goodness 2009 isn't a Leap Year.
The Tel Hai 5K event is an annual reminder that Fast Tracks is not simply a marathon club.
A record 26 Fast Tracker runner, family and friends avoided Amish Horse and Buggies to brave this year's Hel Hai. Of the 23 runners, 6 medaled.
Race Results (Unofficial as of this writing, they have not been posted to the website):
(1) Joan, first in age group.
(2) Rachel and Marie, first and second in age group, respectively, and 3rd and 4th women overall.
(3) Keith, Marissa and Jim D, 2nd in age group. (Keith proudly wore his silver medal all day.)
(a) As with any Dick Fitch managed race, there was plenty of time for giveaways while race results were being tabulated; including a Tel Hai embroidered computer lap top bag won by yours truly.
(b) Meredith, yes Ultra Marathon Meredith, was talked "off the ledge" to run her first 5K. I can't imagine a more impressive way to break into the 5K circuit.
(c) A well known Fast Tracker brought her husband, whom few had met.
(d) Marissa pointed out to me that she finally received a race shirt that fit.
(e) Drawn by the allure of Tel Hai, Sarah's brother and family joined us from Minneapolis.
(f) Laura Yasso drove from Allentown and was able to join.
From the first timers, I was told Tel Hai did not disappoint.
We look forward to 2009, when many FTer's children will be a year older and, hopefully, NOT drawn to the Thanksgiving Parade, so that others can join.
Tel Hai - Redefining Retirement . . . . . . . . and running.