Sunday, October 10, 2010

St. George Marathon Review and Pictures

This is a general overview of the St. George Marathon experience. To see my personal marathon journey CLICK HERE.

Starting Line
The starting line has the longest string of port-o-pottys I have ever seen. It’s a good thing because those pre-race jitters get everybody's bladders going.

It is usually pretty cold at the starting line in Central (this year – not so much). They always have lots of bonfires burning to keep runners warm. This year they also had space blankets available which was much appreciated.

The thousands of runners anxiously wait for the 6:45am start time to arrive. We are praying that over the next 26.2 miles we 1) Don't throw up on our shoes, 2) Don't lose any toenails, and 3) Hopefully don't die.

When the race begins, the crowd of people slowly plod like a herd of sleepy cattle toward the starting line. In this picture, the starting line is way off in the horizon. It took me and Mel ten minutes from this point until we actually crossed the starting line.

Just leaving the aid station at mile three.

Aid Stations
The aid stations at the St. George Marathon are first class. There is an aid station every other mile (until mile 23 when every mile has an aid station). Each has water and Gatorade and many of them have oranges and bananas. This is the only marathon I’ve run that has many aid stations with volunteers ready to rub Bengay on anyone with cramping muscles. This was a lifesaver last year. The volunteers are EXCELLENT!

I think the St. George Marathon course is challenging. If you don’t run the Veyo Hill wisely it will haunt you for the rest of the race.

The marathon website says that over 4,250 gallons of water and 1,960 gallons of Gatorade are consumed during the race.

Finally arriving at the downhill section of the course is a welcome relief.

Mile 17 begins the most beautiful part of the course: running past Snow Canyon. The views are absolutely incredible.

The amazing scenery almost makes you forget how bad your legs are hurting. Almost....but not quite.

A steep descent follows as runners leave the Snow Canyon area.

Just a few of the more than 200,000 cups (!!!) that are used during the race.

After mile 20, runners are greeted with this little gem of a hill. It's not long, but by this point, any hill becomes a challenge. Out of all the runners I saw here, only a small handful were actually running. Most of us had already started the marathon death shuffle and walked up this hill:

The last few miles of the course are full of cheering friends and family members. I don’t mind when they lie and say “You’re looking good!”

Finishers Area
After you cross the finish line you are welcomed by a row of water misters and a volunteer puts a medal around your neck. The finishers area is full of food and drinks. My personal favorites are Great Harvest Bread, ice cold Coke, and all-you-can-eat Blue Bunny ice cream. This alone is worth the registration fee! Instead of running for a certain goal time, runners should pace themselves to avoid nausea so they can consume ridiculous amounts of ice cream sandwiches.

There are many little “extras” that make the St. George Marathon such a great experience. I like the long-sleeve tech shirt and the nice poster that runners get every year. A new addition this year was the runner’s first name on the bib numbers. I really loved this. It gave an emotional boost to have people cheering our names and have volunteers refer to us personally. My favorite extra is the finishers medal: a beautiful, polished circle of sandstone. You won’t find a better race medal.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your blog. I am getting ready to head to st. george from seattle to run my first marathon there when you say to handle the vejo hill properly, can you give me some good advise on that please? I am so nervous!
    Thanks - any tips greatly appreciated.