Thursday, March 14, 2013

Phoenix Marathon 2013

This is the inaugural year for the Phoenix Marathon.  Last year they had a half marathon, which I believe prepared them well for this year.  The Marathon went super smooth and I was very impressed with crew.  The Phoenix Marathon isn't actually in Phoenix but just east in Mesa, Arizona.  It's a downhill course with a 1,000 feet of decent(there is a small 1-2 mile uphill at mile 4). The race start time was set at 7am but due to a forecasted higher temperature for the day they moved up the start time to 6:30am.  The high was supposed to get up to 82 degrees which I know had a lot of runners worried.  In my mind that just means you need to run a little faster to beat the heat! Motivation!

I drove to the finish line at 4am and caught a quick bus ride up to the start.  The bus was able to drive on a freeway most of the way up there so it made the trip quick.  At the top of the hill(aka "Start") they had music, bon-fires, heat lamps and drinks. The only negative I can think of was the insufficient port-a-potty number making lines very long.  They sang the star-spangled banner and launched fireworks to get the runners pumped up.  This is a medium sized race with a cap of only 2,000 runners(Next year is supposed to be 3,000) so to get over the start line isn't a big problem.   The race begins right under the famous Phoenix arrow which makes for some great views early in the morning.  The first 3-4 miles are a good downhill but not so steep you are having to control yourself too much.  At mile 4 there is a bit of a hill for almost 2 miles but it's so early in the race you don't even notice it.  From there on out it's all gradual downhill  or flat making for a very fast Boston Qualifier.  The finish was great with free massages, food, muscle milk and ice baths.  The heat ended up not being an issue  for me and from what I hear the normal temperature for that time of the year has a high of 68ish.   

The support for this race was pretty good for its first year.  There were quite a few spectators as accessibility was great.  My wife was able to see me 6 times throughout the course and that was while lugging around our 7 month old.  That made it a great race!  Having spectators throughout the entire course was fantastic and made the miles go by quickly.  As far as race support there were a lot of water stations starting with mile 3 and then repeating every other mile until the last 6 miles where the stations were present every mile.  Each water station had water and PowerAde and a few of the stations had  Cliff shots, bananas and oranges. 

Now for the Bling!  The race medal was a cool medal guessed it a Phoenix!  The race shirt was a very cool and simple Nike drifit.  

All in all I really enjoyed the Phoenix Marathon.  It was my second marathon.  My first was the St. George Marathon which is known to be a great marathon. I actually liked the Phoenix Marathon more as it was not such a harsh downhill and there were more spectators throughout the course making the time fly by.  I ended up running 45 seconds slower in this marathon than when I did the St. George, however I was in a lot better shape when I ran the St. George so I would say that these marathons are very comparable.  

I would give this race 4.8 shoes as I thought it was an awesome race!

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