6:30 AM Somewhere south of Valentine, Nebraska the start of the 3rd Annual Sandhills Marathon begins. My goal was to complete the marathon for the new state and finish between 3:15-3:30.
One out of two ain't bad.
The morning actually started with the alarm going off at 3:50 AM. Getting prepared with some food, dress, and out the door to meet the cars going to the finish. They were leaving from another hotel at 5:00 AM. Left with the caravan to the finish line some 40 miles away. Once parking the car, got into the shuttle for the starting line.
A shot gun was fired and the 18-19 marathon runners were off.
Since I did not train to run a fast marathon, I felt slow was in order. A group of runners from the prerace meal the night before planned to go for a 4:15 marathon, so I was going to run with them.
After 3 miles I needed to use one of the porta pots on the roving trailer and sure enough it was sitting along the road at mile four. I took a good healthy dump, which did not occur a few hours earlier. Relief and out the door I went. Well the group I was with were gone and some other runners were now in front of me.
From this point on it was me and only me.
The course goes down this road of 25.6 miles and takes a side road to Brownlee, a small (really small) community. The road is single lane so if a vehicle goes by it basically go off the side of the road so not to run over us.
So I'm running along maintaining an acceptable pace when mile 10 comes along. A hill, big one!
It goes all the way to 13.1 miles. Wow! Now I expected some small hills as the maraTHON IS NAMED sANDHILL. This one went on forever. Oh well stop complaining, Don.
After the 1/2 marathon I started to slow slightly, but continued onward.
The sun was out and the skies were clear, but not hot. I plugged along to the Brownlee side trip.
Coming back from the turn around I saw my nearest competion. I little to close. I picked up the pace with 5 miles to go. When I got to 25 miles I noticed a runner ahead of me who was doing some walking. He was probably a 1/2 mile ahead. So I focused on him and pushed to the finish line. I almost got him, but just a little to much separation. My time was 4:39:19.
This is a nice, well run marathon. The weather was great and the day on whole was gratifying.
Nebraska, number 41.