The 47th state to be completed a year after it should have been done. Originally Estes Park Marathon was supposed to be my Colorado marathon, but was doomed. So the Colorado Marathon out of Fort Collins will take it's place.
The area is beautiful with the Rocky Mountains looming to the west. Old Town Fort Collins is a happening place. If you are a runner or like biking this town was designed for your interests.
Arrived on Friday, April 29th, went and picked up my packet with #79. Spent the remainder of the day exploring. The next day was windy, cloudy, and rain/snow. Betty and I went for a 4 mile walk and later I ran one mile to shake out the cobwebs.
The elevation at Fort Collins is 4915 feet and at the start of the race over 6,000', so elevation will be a factor.
Got up at 3 AM had oatmeal, dressed and headed for the bus pickup in Old-Town Ft. Collins. The bus left around 4:15 AM to drive us to the start line 26.2 miles away since the finish is at Old-Town.
Arrived at the start area a little after 5 AM in the dark. I had a flashlight, so all was well for me. The temperature was 35 degrees which was better than originally thought (28). We remained in the dark for a while but the sun slowly rose to some spectacular views. What a gorgeous palate this race was going to be run against.
The race started at 6:15 AM with little fanfare at the Steven's Gulch Campground in the Poudre River Canyon. The Poudre River will wander alongside of the runners the entire course. Even though I was close to the start line it took me over a minute to cross the line. Fortunately it was chip timing, so no big issue.
So my plan was to run like hell while the course went down mountain. So much for plans! While I thought I was running well and efficient, my times indicated otherwise. The course did go down mountain for 18 miles with two tiny uphills in that distance. I broke down my race in thirds. The first 9 miles I had hoped to run 8:15 to 8:30 miles. I ran around 8:50's. The next 9 miles (10-18) I planned to run around 9 minute miles but was around 9:30's, so my game plan was not working out as planned. Between 18 and 20 miles were the hills and they were not bad, but were 2 miles worth with a small downhill. So with my plan of a great marathon time gone, I eased back and just enjoyed the rest of the race. The coursed went onto a bike path around 22 miles and into the finish at Old Town. The finish was welcomed and as I approached there were three kids in a line about 3,4,& six years old holding up there hand to be slapped by the marathoners as they came past them. However the runners were focused on the line and no one was making the kids day, so moved to my right so to greet the kids and hit each hand putting a smile on each ones face. The little one I had to bend to get down to his hand and thought I was going to fall right over. It's amazing the effort it took to do a little thing like that.
A few more feet to the finish line with a time of 4:26:28 and state # 47 in the books.
The marathon was well run, downhill course and a beautiful setting. I would highly recommend this race if you desire a road marathon in Colorado. Low lander the altitude may have some effect on your performance, but view is well worth the effort.