Run 4 Troops Marathon, Marathon Relay Run / Walk. Heritage Trail – Dyersville, IA – Dubuque, IA. Saturday, June 28, 2014. Humid 70-80 degrees, cloud cover.
Military Style race. Hydration was only thing advertised on course, at each relay exchange; carry anything else you needed with you.
Registration: Available online for $75 or through mail entry form. Relay teams could have 2-12 members for $35 / person. Included with registration was the trail fee, race bib, shirt (unisex tech), timing chip bracelet.
Packet Pick Up / Pre-race: You could pick up your packet the Friday before the race or race day morning. The race is point to point, there was a shuttle from Dubuque (finish) to Dyersville (start). You could also make arrangements as parking was available at the start and finish. There were plenty of port-o-potties at the start. The National Anthem was sung live after lots of announcements.
Race / Course: Entire course is run on the Heritage trail, which is crushed limestone & flat. However there were paved sections and inclines /declines near major road intersections. The majority of the trail was shaded. There were 6 legs & 5 exchanges for the relays, this is where the water & Gatorade stops were. Liquids were in a variety of cups from paper to plastic. Some of the stops had pretzels. Each mile was marked with a sign. There were volunteers at the road crossings. One road crossing had a sprinkler set up. There were port – o- potties, but you had to keep an eye out for them. The spectators were in the form of relay teams at each exchange, there were also family members. If you wanted a time split, you could slide your chip across a box at each exchange. The legs were not even, 6.6, 4.4, 3.6, 4.5, 3.4, and 3.7 miles.
Post Race: After crossing the finish line, & sliding the timing chip across the box a volunteer handed you a dog tag medal and a bottle of water (powerade or chocolate milk.) There was an announcer reading names as runners came in. The finishing area was spread out, there was one small tent with apples, bananas, and grapes. By the time I finished there were empty pizza boxes and 20 ish cookies.
Overall: Decent price, flat course, and the time of year are the major factors in deciding whether I would run it again.
Personal: My friend Laura and I decide to sign up for this race, mainly because we don’t have many marathons in Iowa. However we hadn’t been training for this distance and it was the end of June. Also my parents, sister, and niece were our race support; our friend Tereasa came to cheer us at the finish.
I had a decent race, thanks for the support crew for stopping at each transition with bananas, watermelon, pretzels, water, gatorade, etc. It was really humid, and we were not able to carry everything with us.
Laura was having problems being too hydrated, at mile 15 we walked some, and by mile 17 I trotted ahead of her. I caught up with a 13 year old boy, who we had been back & forth with most of the race. I had to talk to him as he was wearing a Marathon Maniac’s shirt and Hoka running shoes. He told me his age, this race was his 9th marathon, marathons sucked and he preferred the half. Also for those questioning why a 13 year old was doing this, he seemed comfortable with his 4:1 Galloway training.
Near the 26 mile marker, the 13 year old picked up the pace, and said he would help me PR, so we pushed it to the finish. Then I saw my family, and there was my niece, Ella. She wanted to run with me. So my new marathon friend plodded ahead and I grabbed Ella’s hand and we crossed the finish together. It wasn’t a PR but I was seconds away. 4:58:26
It was nice to have Laura to run with and eventually the 13 year old, the trail was nice and forgiving on the legs, but mentally it was lonely. The runners that you passed or passed you by were very encouraging.
The post race party was disappointing. By the time I finished there were no slices of pizza and the cookies were picked over, a few bananas, apples & grapes were left. I even asked if that food table was for all runners as the tent kind of looked like it was private. All liquids were at the finish, nothing near the food. The finish area was also a local fishing area, so lots of non running traffic.