Mainly Marathons Independence Series Day #1-Elkton, MD

V__DE4EDate: April 29. 2015

Distance: 13.38

Time: 3:15:58

My slowest time ever for a half, but that was part of my longer-term plan to get through four races in four consecutive days. What a new experience! Denise joined me for this adventure, which will allow us to knock out four additional states that we haven’t yet done: MD, DE, PA, and NJ. The series also includes a fifth day–in NY–but since we’ve already completed a half marathon in New York state, we get to skip day #5. What makes this race experience different from most races?

1. Size. Large destination races can attract thousands of runners. This race, however, drew about 100.

2. Swag. We get one shirt for all five races, but we got to choose the color we wanted–wow. And, the medals are quite unique. We were given an “Independence Series” medal and with each race we complete, we get awarded an attachment that hangs off of the main race medal. That’s unique.

3. Course. These races, we’ve learned, are set up as out-and-back courses. That’s not the unusual part. The unique thing about these out-and-backs is that runners complete several loops to get their mileage in–6 to 10 loops for the half marathons. Granted, that gets a bit boring, but it also allows for one aid station and never feeling like you are running alone.

4. Aid Station. Speaking of aid stations, this one was AMAZING. At most races, aid stations consist of your choice of water or Gatorade (or Powerade). If lucky, the volunteers might hand out Gu packets at about mile 8 or 9. If really lucky, they might also offer bananas, oranges, pretzels, or Gummy Bears at some of the stations. In THIS race series, there is a massive spread of food, including: potato chips, BBQ potato chips, Fritos, Cheetos, pretzels, Rice Krispy treats, pickles, Gummy Bears, oranges, bananas, apples, granola bars. ham and cheese paninis, olives, jelly beans. peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Oreos, licorice, M & Ms, Reeses Peanut butter cups, miniature candy bars, hard-boiled eggs, Fig Newtons, Gatorade, chocolate milk, Coke, and water. As one racer pointed out about Mainly Marathon races, “Where else could you run five full marathons in a row and still gain five pounds?”

5. Runners. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of participants. What kind of crazies show up to run a race series like this? Denise and I found out today. With few exceptions, we were among the youngest participants and we are pushing fifty. Far more runners are also planning on running the full marathons instead of the half marathons. Those facts made us feel like slackers. We are only running the first four races–and we are only running the half marathon distance. LAZY, eh? We also got the distinct impression that most of the runners have completed several of these race series and most of them also know each other from having met at previous races. Despite that, we felt very welcomed. Everyone was friendly and upbeat.

6. Competitive Level. ZERO. The races are not officially timed and most of the runners didn’t seem to care about their finish times at all. The number of loops runners complete is tracked by how many rubber bands you have on your wrist (one rubber band is added after each loop). Very few people were listening to music during the run and very few people seemed to be tracking their times at all. Rather, lots of people were taking a lot of walking breaks (or walking the whole way) and carrying on non-stop conversations about previous race , their training plans, their travels, and almost anything else. This non-competitive vibe made me feel perfectly comfortable with the fact that I probably walked half of this race. In fact, I went into this race planning to walk a good portion of it, but I found myself trying to devise “the perfect walk/run strategy.” Once I got started, though, any formalized strategy went completely out the window. I ran when I felt like it and I walked when I felt like it. How freeing! I really enjoyed this race and look forward to the remaining three days. I have no idea what to expect, but I’ll keep you posted…

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jen on April 30, 2015 at 7:15 am

    nice job! I love the zero competition! Needs to be more races like that available- how freeing! Xo

    Reply

  2. […] was the second race series I have completed with Mainly Marathons–the first one being the Independence Series this past spring. Touted as “the world’s best 5-day and 7-day multi-state races series, […]

    Reply

  3. […] about Mainly Marathons in the past and they continue to be great races. Previously, I did the Independence Series and the Appalachian Series and became hooked. These are small races–only about 100 to 200 […]

    Reply

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