|Course is definitely not flat but that makes it fun.|
I ran this race just as a tune up for the Arkansas Traveler 100. Since this race fell three weeks prior to that AT100, it lined up perfectly and I have always wanted to run Andy Payne Marathon but it had been held the last weekend in May which is a miserable time for me to run because it is hot and humid. But this year, they changed the course to Lake Stanley Draper Southeast of OKC and they changed the time of year so it worked out well.
For those who don't know, Andy Payne won a transcontinental footrace across America in the 1920s. It was a big event during the roaring twenties when extreme sports and stunts like all night dances and pole sitting were a big fad and so an extreme race across America attracted a lot of attention. Payne was a Native American from Oklahoma that was competing against world class athletes and he walked away with a $100,000 prize for winning. It is a fascinating story and there is a great book on about the race that I read and would highly recommend: C.C. Pyle's Amazing Footrace by Geoff Williams. If you love running and love to read, you will love this book. What Payne and all the runners did is amazing even by today's ultra standards. In fact, when you consider there were no lightweight trainers, Gatorade, Gu, or dry-fit shirts, etc, it is even more remarkable.
So it was that I towed the line at the race remembering Andy's great feat. My goal was to just race around 90% effort and try to finish somewhere in the low 3 hour mark.
The course was challenging with a lot of rolling hills that at times were pretty good climbs for a road marathon but I liked that because it kept things interesting. We started at 6:30 a.m. and so we started in the dark and it was not fully light for at least an hour. That was good because mid September is pretty hot and this day was expected to get into the 90s. But the heat never really was too bad so I was thankful for that.
As everyone settled into their pace, I approached the turn around for the half marathon and noticed a marathoner who had turned around with the half. I was only about 50 meters around him and so I turned around too thinking they might of changed the course and were doing a double out and back. As I began running the other way, I asked some other marathoners that were now running toward me if we were supposed to go straight and they said that we were. I thought so because I had looked at the course map earlier in the week and it looked as though we went 13.1 miles around the lake which conveniently enough brought us almost back to the start, then turnaround and run the reverse route around the lake. Pretty neat course. So I turned around and lost a minute or two because of the confusion.
The last four miles to the turnaround was much flatter as we ran along the top of the dam. I dropped back again from the group of front runners who I had been pacing with because I told myself that I was not racing and did not want to burn myself out before the Traveler. After the turnaround, my pace slowed to 7:30ish pace. I had been averaging 6:40 to 7:00 depending on the hills. I tried to pick up the pace but the warmer weather and my sciatic kept me from hammering the last 6 miles as I had hoped to do.
I ended up finishing in third place in just under 3:11 and there was a very large and beer mug with race logo for the top three overall so I was glad to be getting that.
But as it turned out, the guy that turned around at the half, had run out and back twice and came in about five minutes behind me. So he bitched and complained until the RD gave him the third place mug! First of all, he didn't even beat me. He was a good five minutes behind me. Second of all, everyone who runs knows that if you do not complete the course, you are DQ'd. It's happened to me one time when I had set the course record at the Turkey and Tatur 50K but I understood this and accepted it because that's the way it goes. It's happened to me several times. This guy, rather than show real sportsmanship, thought he could whine his way to get an award he did not earn. It's really amazing when you consider he was no where near finishing ahead of me! By the way, I have no idea who this runner is and it is NOT the guy who is listed as fourth in the results. This runner ended up not being listed in the results because he was in fact DQd from the official results.
Of course I don't really care about the beer mug though it would have been nice to sip a brew from. What a really care is the principal of the matter. That a runner could do that. I hope he reads this blog, and I hope he is sipping beer from my mug and I hope the beer tastes very bitter and he thinks of how he cheated to get it.
As for the race, I would highly recommend it. It's small, cheap and a nice course. Can be warm that time of year and the RD had trouble organizing the water stops but has promised to correct that in the future. I will certainly be back. By the way, this was the 36th running of this event! One of the oldest races in Oklahoma.
Now I am ready for the Traveler. I felt pretty good about it but I just worry about the sciatic pain. Other than that, I feel ready to run and enjoy every bit of it!