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Start Date/Time December 7, 2013 @ 9:00 am
End Date/Time N/A
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This was my first marathon- I tried to find one with better "swag" but this was convenient since it was in my area. I've done plenty of half-marathons so I'll compare to those races (that often had an associated full marathon distance).
First, the shuttle to the start was convenient- but apparently one of the buses break down to the top of the hill every year. So we had to get out in the cold and hike to the top. No big deal. Some people were really hurt about this though.
This wasn't a great "first" marathon- low fan-fare at the beginning. It was a lonely start at the top of the mountain but pretty and scenic. Once we got going, the buses somehow magically could move again and we had to breathe their exhaust for awhile down the hill as we shared the road. Some neighbors came out to watch but mostly the road was shut down to any spectators. This was no rockin or rolling marathon- only one piece of entertainment provided by a local drum group along the way. It was also all downhill- fine with me cause I've got killer quads. It was freezing (by Tucson standards) the whole way though.
I've volunteered with other distance events and the assistance was just not there. There was plenty of water but when you crossed the finish line, it just ended. The photographers were really in your face, you couldn't find any free space blankets to warm up. They also had peanut butter and jelly rolls to take- nice thought but if you've unless you have allergies (I've got a ton, I never expect anyone to have something special for me, I brought my own carbs and proteins- but it does make for interesting avoidance needs). All I could do was try to not breathe in the food tent to get to the bananas and oranges. Not a nice surprise- I haven't had an environmental event yet- but I don't think there would have been anyone to help if I'd needed an epi pen. In such an increasingly peanut allergic world, this was a train wreck since you're kinda mentally drained when you're done and making sound decisions is a little tough.
Swag was not a factor for signing up. Don't expect anything cool- a non-specific, catchall event teeshirt in men's only sizing that is non-form fitting for the ladies (I was kinda hoping for the "marathon only" shirt) and a finisher medal.
The great thing that is one of my biggest pet peeves if not met: this race did start on time! Nice. Go team for that. I couldn't have waited much longer in that freaking cold. I'd suggest bringing a space blanket and hand warmers like I did and you'll feel a lot better than your co-runners that were hunkering down looking miserable.
I think if you're a first timer, this might not be the race for you- most my fellow runners were on their 50-60th marathon and the event is pretty small. I would not recommend to a friend either. Even if you're not into the loudness of a rockin' or rollin' affair, this marathon is pretty desolate and can be mentally a little draining with little mental stimulation.
Overall, no huge complaints but there are considerations to take in if you're thinking this is the race for you. Will I do another? possibly- this event didn't ruin it that much for me.