Barefoot Rick's Garden City Marathon Report - June 6, 2009
I Corinthians 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Temperature at start - 62 degrees F
On January 23, I received an email from the public relations person for Mosaic, a faith-based organization serving people with developmental disabilities in Garden City Kansas. Their associate director had stumbled upon my website during his search for a race director for their annual running event. After a few emails back and forth, we all agreed that I would be their guest speaker at their pre-race pasta dinner the night before the races. Not only had they planned a marathon, half-marathon and 5K to raise funds and awareness for Mosaic, but they had also planned a "Battle of the Bands" which was to take place Saturday night following the races. The winner of this contest would be the opening act for REO Speedwagon in another fundraiser to be held on August 29.
The flight to and from Garden City was somewhat novel in that the aircraft was a Beechcraft 1900 twenty-seater piston/propeller aircraft. It had been a while since I had traveled in a non-jet airplane so it was kind of fun. Arriving on Friday June 5, I was graciously met by Robert DeLeon (associate director of Mosaic and associate pastor of the Salvation Army) at the Garden City Airport. Robert took me out for lunch and then to pick up my race packet and finally back to my hotel room to rest up before that night's dinner and my keynote talk. Later that evening, we had a wonderful pasta dinner with over 200 attendees. I talked for about 30 minutes on what it's like being a barefoot runner, along with some motivational items I had prepared. I recorded my talk, but because the dinner was in one of those large county fair metal buildings the sound-system reverberated to such an extent that the recording quality was not that good. I have included a copy of the talk here if anyone one would like to attempt to listen.
The next morning, Robert picked me up at the hotel at 6:30 a.m. We headed for the Garden City Zoo where the running events would begin. I learned that there were a bunch of folks signed up for the 5K, a couple of dozen for the half-marathon, several teams for the marathon relay, BUT ONLY 3 RUNNERS FOR THE MARATHON! They are fairly new at putting on races at Mosaic so I encouraged them, for next year, to get their event posted out on marathonguide.com. That way all those running marathons in all 50 states will know about their marathon. I assured them that they would have many more the following year if they would do this one simple thing. Another reason that I believe they had so few marathon runners is because of the heat. Garden City in June is HOT!! The course winds through open country with the tallest plants, in many places, being sagebrush. It's like I told Robert after the marathon, "This course is not for marathon sissies!" The dry climate sucks moisture out of a person quickly so it's important to drink early and often.
I knew the heat would be a factor, noting that the high on race day was to be 95F. I usually don't wear a hat but I did this day as well as some sunglasses. The course begins at the zoo and then heads over the Arkansas River (or river bed since it's dry this time of year) and then out into the country side. The course is about 90% chip seal which is not a barefoot runner's favorite texture. For those who don't know about chip seal, it is road that is tarred then crushed rock is poured over the tar and then traffic pounds the rock into the surface. I compare it to running on lumpy petrified Rice Krispies! I knew that if I just took it slow and took my time that the heat wouldn't get to me nor the chip seal. The first 13.1 mile loop went flawlessly -- somewhere around 2 hours and 5 minutes. Then, it started to really heat up. At least I knew what to expect from the course since I had already ran the first loop. I just settled into an easy pace, drinking water at every water stop and drenching my cap.
When I pulled into the finish line, there were a few folks cheering me in. The other two marathon runners had finished quite a bit earlier than my 4:22:53. No matter. I gladly accepted my 3rd place medal (notwithstanding that I finished both in 3rd and last place! Ha!!).
Once again, I would like to thank the sponsors, all the folks at Mosaic -- Robert, Debbie, Penny, Brian and so many more! You guys put on a nice little race that was both challenging and fun! I pray for your continued success in the future.
Your Barefoot Servant,
*I am a marathon runner and do not prescribe to a run/walk method for MY marathons. Likewise, I do not judge anyone else for "finishing" a marathon in whatever way they can propel themselves across the finish line, whether it be walking, crawling, etc. All marathon finishes are notable in their own regard.
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