While I had heard it was a hard marathon, I never really realized how hard. As race day approaches, I started looking into it and started by looking at last year's results (HERE) and realized what I was up against. The fastest female ran it 4h40m last year which is an average of 10:40 mins/mile. This just means one thing. This marathon is not only hard. It's BRUTAL.
|Not beginner-friendly course.|
Here's what I came up with:
I have divided the race as follows (see map below as reference) which seems to break down to very doable distances if tackled one at a time:
1. Start to Aid #1 (A) - 3.8 miles. Slightly uphill (partly paved).
2. Aid #1 (A) to Aid #2 (A) - 3.3 miles. Loop around Ball Mountain.
3. Aid #2 (A) to Aid #3 (B) - 2.7 miles. Downhill to the base of Mosquito Pass.
4. Aid #3 (B) to Aid #4 (C) - 3.3 miles. Up to summit of Mosquito Pass.
5. Aid #4 (C) to Aid #5 (B) - 3.3 miles. Downhill to base of Mosquito Pass.
6. Aid #5 (B) to Aid #6 (A) - 2.7 miles. Slightly uphill.
7. Aid #6 (A) to Aid #7 (A) - 3.3 miles. Loop backwards around Ball Mountain
8. Aid #7 (A) to Finish - 3.8 miles. All downhill from here!
|Marathon follows the blue line only. It's an out and back and we go through Aid "A" 4 times.|
Leg 1 - With 1,500ft of gain in just 3.8 miles. I am aiming to get to aid 1 in 60 minutes.
Leg 2 - The Loop around Ball seems to be half up, half down. With that in mind, I plan to run 3.3 miles in 45 minutes.
Leg 3 - As the downhill continues and the one and only flat section of he course makes an appearance, I plan on running at a steady pace the whole way to Aid B and get there within 30 minutes.
Leg 4 - Up to Mosquito Pass. This will be a hike! With 3.3 miles to the top, my goal is to summit in 1h15m.
Leg 5 - Downhill from the summit! While I don't plan on blowing up my quads, I would definitely want to give it a good shot at catching up. 45 minutes for the descent (I've heard it's technical).
Leg 6 - Again the shortest leg of the course, but a flat that turns to up. Hopefully not too steep so I can push through most of it and get back to Aid A in 40 minutes.
Leg 7 - Another Loop around Ball giving myself an extra 15 minutes from the first time since I'll most likely be tired. 60 minutes for this loop.
Leg 8 - With 3.8 downhill miles to go, I will aim to cautiously run them in 45 minutes.
This adds up to a finish time of 6 hours and 40 minutes which is an average pace of 15:23 min/mile. But the big picture analysis tells me, I should conservatively aim for a sub 7h finish. Anything between 6h40m and 7h is completely acceptable while anything below it is an above-and-beyond, killer performance.
Off to walk the pup... :)