Sunday, October 16, 2011

Detroit Free Press Marathon, 16th October 2011

Detroit Free Press Marathon, leg #3 - 16th October 2011

So this was a race that I never really thought about or intended to actually do, mostly because 5k is too short for me and a half of full marathon are quite a bit off in my future right now. My company was trying to put a group of runners together to raise money for a local charity and were covering the entrance fee for the race, so I thought I'd have a look at the website anyway, just for the hell of it, it was then that I saw that you could run the whole marathon course as a relay team and that the first leg, which crosses from Detroit, over the Ambassador Bridge was in my sweet spot, 6.2 miles, a 10k. I approached the coordinator to offer my services to any team that needed someone, at which point I was told that there weren't any, and I was a little disappointed. I kicked the thought around in my head for a few days, spoke to Bren about it and decided to try and put one together, with me running the first leg.

Getting the gang together...
I decided to put a post on Facebook, just to see if I could generate some interest, I wasn't really sure, which of my FB friends ran, but what the hell. Within a few hours of posting, I had two bites, both from colleagues/ former colleagues, neither of which I knew ran, but what the hell, we were on our way. Right from the start I knew I wanted the first, Sean said he wanted nothing over 6 miles, so the second leg suited him down to the ground, Derek didn't want anything too big but has been running 5k's, so the last leg, might be a small stretch for but he was happy to give it a shot, now just needed someone for the longest leg, #3 at 6.7 miles, and the shortest leg, #4 at 2.9 miles. I tried contacting a few other guys but I was struggling to get someone to commit. It was at that point that Bren suggested I ask my son, Gordon, how he felt about doing the fourth leg. Gordon has been running 2-3 miles daily at school as part of his cross country practice and he was keen, so now we had four. The fifth was proving to be a little more challenging, but I had a lead and while he said he was going to do it, I wasn't convinced. So I decided that it was time to commit to the team and actually register on the site. The process is relatively painless and is done through the website, much like many of my previous races. Eventually the runner for #5 decided to commit and we were just waiting now, until, with about one week to go, leg #3 pulled out, due to injury. So now the bedlam began. Very quickly it became obvious that another colleague could step in, but only if he could do legs #1 or #2. I wanted to do #1, but not really a big deal, all that was needed was to go to the expo and arrange it with the American Department of Homeland Security. So now we were set, we had all five and they were;

  1. 6.2 miles   Kevin Power
  2. 6.0 miles   Sean Luce
  3. 6.7 miles   David McWilliams
  4. 2.9 miles   Gordon McWilliams
  5. 4.4 miles   Derek Pratley

I was now predicting a ~9am start time for myself, so we decided to leave a little later on and drop myself off first then Bren could take Gordon to his starting line at Belle Isle. I had a couple of minute walk to the start of my leg and got there at almost dead on 8am. I was thinking that the race was about one hour old and Sean would be running. I was anticipating a ~9am start

The official results
The results is a great one but also very confusing. My phone, running the Endomondo application had me down as doing 6.82 miles in 1:03:11, whereas the official website said my leg was a 6.7 mile leg and their timing has me down at 59:58 - giving me a pace of 8:57. Sean's running app on his iPhone also gives equally baffling results, but we'll take it. I was hoping to be somewhere in the 4:05hrs region, so 8 minutes inside that isn't too shabby.

On reflection a couple of things come to mind; no drinks or snacks for relay runners at the end of their stages. kinda makes you feel like a second class citizen. The end of race 'Conquered' party was very disappointing. The organizing was a hassle, getting to and from the leg start/ finish points was a major pain as well, especially without anything to drink. Cool shirt & medal though.

The team, from left to right; Derek Pratley, Sean Luce,
David McWilliams, Gordon McWilliams. Kevin isn't in the picture.

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