I’d heard great things about the Erie Marathon — that it was flat and fast and that the people were friendly. All of this is true. Michael and I were both happy with today’s race outcomes: a 3:10 marathon and Boston qualifier for him and a five-minute half-marathon PR for me. I have few complaints about this race. The weather and course were glorious for mid-September.
The marathon started at 7 a.m., and the rest of the half marathon field had to wait until 7:30 to start. I don’t run many halves when a full option is offered, but the number of women running the half really struck me. Almost two thirds of the field was female. The half marathon is a loop around at Presque Isle, which you can see from across the bay in Erie. It has one turnaround that I didn’t find at all problematic and one small ramp that was kind of a nice change of pace after so many miles on completely flat roads.
My first mile was a little easy because I wasn’t sure how my left hamstring would hold up. I ran a slow 10-mile shakeout run yesterday, and my legs felt heavier than I would have liked. As usual, I didn’t taper the way I should have because I line up half marathons in the middle of my marathon training. So I’d planned the half marathon to be part of a 70-mile week. By mile two, I started to be able to feel my feet, which had gone numb at the start line. I kept a remarkably even pace for the entire race, probably because the course is absurdly flat.
The race scenery reminded me of running in a beach-y Rock Creek Park — tree lined paths away from the wind, but with a few glimpses of the water or sand every few miles. I loved the serenity in the early miles before the half marathon ran up against the full. The light was beautiful, all was quiet except the pounding of runners’ feet, and the air was crisp.
Happily, I was able to hold on to a 6:45 pace that seemed a little aggressive at first to break 90 minutes for the first time. I came in fourth female, only two minutes behind the female winner.
— AmandaHi (@amandahi) September 14, 2014
After the race, I changed in to warm clothes and headed across the course to try to catch Michael and Jamey who were running the full marathon. They both looked good at the 19-mile mark. I cheered the finishers for another hour, something I wish I was able to do more often.
Some fluid stop oddities. At a few of the water and GU Brew stops, I had trouble dodging the tunnel of volunteers who were overly eager to hand out cups. I took one cup of water shortly after the halfway point, and that handoff went just fine.
Slowest marathon runners on half marathon course. Michael mentioned the inverse being true for the full marathon. For me, because the race was run at times on a single lane of a two-lane road, I ended up behind lines of marathon runners and walkers who were grouped four across. At least four times I had to dart into the car lane to get around the groups. Certainly there is no way around this issue in a two-loop course with a staggered start.
No pace groups. I certainly could have used a pace group, if only so I could get an idea of how fast the runners I was tracking were running on the full marathon course.
Timing signs and corrals. Runners seemed to adhere to the per-minute pace signs. I had no trouble hitting my stride in the first quarter mile.
Fast awards posting. The results were posted within about 15 minutes on the side of the rotary pavilion, and awards were ready right then.
Post-race food and drinks. Panera bagels, bananas, sandwiches and lots of cookies were all on hand. I didn’t eat much food, but I appreciated the bagel and banana I had.
Weather. Starting temperature was about 50 degrees. In September. This race attracts a lot of Boston Marathon qualifier hopefuls because it is so far north, it’s flat, and it’s on the last weekend you could possibly get in to Boston if the race isn’t full in the first week. This weekend’s weather was about as good as we could hope for.
Lots of island-themed SWAG. This race does not skimp on race-themed trinkets. The list included a do-rag/towel, long-sleeved cotton T-shirt, cotton bag, race medal, 26.2/13.1 Erie Marathon/Half sticker, picture of the lighthouse from Presque Isle.
- Course: one loop for the half, two for the full
- Terrain: flatter than flat on roads with some cement but mostly asphalt
- Website: Erie Marathon