Gobbler Grind Marathon November 24, 2002
Finish Time 3:33:29 (14th Overall and 5th in Age Group [40-49 yr. Olds])
My fastest time this year as a 46 year old (4 marathons in 2002, 15 marathons lifetime)
Got to the race about 6:40 this morning. I had arranged to meet Jim R (Dogbyte) before his 7 a.m. early start. We chatted for a bit before his start. After Jims start, I hung out and talked with a few of the local racers I know. Before I knew it, we were lined up for the 8 a.m. start.
This is a small race with a double loop for marathoners. In all, for the 5K, half, and full marathon there were probably 300 runners. For the marathon, there were approximately 70. I thought Heart of America was small, but this one was really tiny comparably. The course is mainly laid out on Indian Creek Trailways which are asphalt running trails. I often run this trail on my easy days. Its nice and flat, but it does have a lot of turns and curves.
We all started at 8:04. The skies were overcast with temps about 34 degrees with winds out of the northeast at 10 to 15 mph. I purposed to go out slow and try to maintain an 8 min. pace throughout the race, which would put me at or under a 3:30. As you can see from my splits, I held pretty close to my goal throughout the race.
The first 3 or 4 miles, the trail was fairly packed with runners. After that it thinned out quite a bit. It was pretty much uneventful, as I was able to keep my pace without too much trouble. After the first loop and there were only marathoners on the course, no one passed me. I counted 13 that I passed on the 2nd loop. I finally caught up with Jim at mile 22 before we left Kansas and entered into Missouri. At mile 23, I entered back onto the Kansas side and headed for the home stretch.
I was able to finish in a good time, for me, at 3:33:29. I waited for Jim to come in about 10 minutes later and we headed for the bagels and sports drinks.
Joined Jim over at the Fairfield Inn for some post-race coffee. I really respect Jim a lot. Some may not know, but Jim consistently ran sub-3 hour marathons in the 70s and 80s. This was his 144th marathon. Way to go Jim!!
All in all, a great race. I never hit the wall, came close to my goal of 3:30 and ran a respectable time. I dont think I couldve asked for more today, after a tough year of recovery. Thanks for reading!