By Erin Hazler
My second full marathon of the year is DONE! And it was fantastic!
I worked the Eagle Creek Marathon into my 50k training for a little confidence booster (or reality check) to see how my training was going. I’ve been coming out of a bit of a training funk and this race hit the spot. Why was it such a good race? Well there are quite a few reasons:
- Course Changes – There was some redirection this year from last year’s course and I LOVED it! Last year there were some comically steep inclines and declines to get through in the beginning and end that had me cursing under my breathe. The different design dodged a few of those and I was THRILLED!
- PLANET ADVENTURE POTATOES!!!!! – These tiny salty potatoes at the aid stations are enough to keep you running. They are delicious!
- Volunteers – I do not know where Planet Adventure gets their volunteers from but WOW. I noticed this last year when I ran the full at Eagle Creek. Last year I was a full hour slower than this year (thank you lovely weather and better training) and I noticed that even after a million hours these volunteers were still treating me like a rock star! This year the volunteers were just as amazing. Always smiling, always joking around, these people acted like there was nothing else they would rather be doing on a Saturday then handing me water and potatoes.
Speaking of volunteers… On my second loop I was definitely starting to zone out and lose a bit of interest in the whole situation by the time I was approaching Aid station 4. Out of the blue I hear this scream of excitement directed towards me. I snapped awake and saw that the volunteers had made a human power arch for me to run through and were yelling their heads off. If that doesn’t bring a giant smile to your face and give you a little pep in your step, then you’re dead inside?. I left that aid station with new life and ready to bring the race home.
When my friend and I got to the aid station at the big bear, we might have mentioned the excellent treatment from aid station four…. And these folks were not going to be outdone! They gave us an arch to run through as well! And a million more smiles and words of encouragement. Seriously, I don’t know where PA finds these people, but they helped to make this race AMAZING!
- Runners – Because of the out and back nature of the course, you see lots of other runners. A few times this led to some crowded spots, but I kept noticing that the majority of the runners were so thoughtful and polite. YAY! And I got to see my friends running the half marathon which was a lovely surprise. I heard and said, “good job” and “great running” so many times. And I got so many smiles along the way. It was like we were all on a giant group run together with a bunch of friends we don’t know.
- The Finish – This year my finish time was after the 6 hour mark. When my friend and I reached the finish line our arrival was announced on the speakers and we were immediately given our finisher medals and bottles of water. Again, the volunteers greeted us with giant smiles and genuine congratulations. Even though we weren’t the first, second, or even 100th across the finish line, we were treated as if we were the number one finisher. There isn’t a better feeling on marathon day.
Thank you for a great race day Planet Adventure.
AND DID I MENTION THE POTATOES??!?!?!?!? BECAUSE THEY ARE AMAZING!!!!
About the Author:
Erin Hazler started running in her 30s. She balances an uneventful desk job with a love of running on trails and roads. She is very involved with her local running group the Bloomington Area Runners Association
. When asked to describe her running, Erin says, “I am not fast. I am not talented. But I am PERSISTENT!” Read her blog
and follow her on Twitter @persistentrun