Yesterday, I finished my 16th Marathon for the year!!! After 16, you would think I'd be more tired, but I think my body is FINALLY accepting that these marathon things aren't going away anytime soon!
OBX Marathon is a TON of fun! You'll have more details in my Race Ratings, but for now...
(<--- Some OBX Marathon finishers with our fav fans!!!)
The marathon experience is exciting right from the expo to the finish. The expo was full of energy-- totally pirate-themed out-- and the volunteers sung to the "YMCA" (I joined in with my cow bell, again MBs and CBs approval). Oh yes, I bought a Pirate Cowbell!!! It came with me $6 pirate pack, which included a Pirate Cowbell, a Pirate Eyepatch and a Pirate Scully cap!!! SO EXCITING!!! The best part was-- we met up with ALL the Robillards (Including CB) & Hillery (aka Sacco)! Yayyyyy!!!(Me and MB with my pirate cap! -->)
On race day we were shuttled to the Start area by bus. As soon as we got on a fellow- 50-stater started chatting with MB. Turns out this is his SIXTH time through the 50 states!!! And you people call ME crazy!!! Eugene (Gene) Efronzo (CT) is in his early 70'd and will be completing his 6th round through the 50 states in around a dozen more marathons. He was joined by Neil King-- a writer for the WSJ-- who was doing an article on .. what else?... compulsive running!!! The article should come out soon-- I'll keep an eye out and post when I see it!
At the start we met up with a few Albany friends (Lois and Tara pic left) as well as CB, Sacco, and Mike "Boston" DeFrancesco (more on that later) from Florida (pic below minus Sacco)! We also saw Marina-- another maniac-- at the start. We stretched, got some water, and got ready then off we went...
The race is broken up in waves of anywhere from ~20 (elite) to a hundred. This part was a little unorganized because nobody knew what to do. Oh well... off we go! The race itself is run on asphalt, cement, trail, & sand! Great variety. We started off at a great pace (~7:45 min/mile) and continued until about the half point (~8:05 min/mile avg), when CB started feeling a little pain in her stomach. On top of that, we both needed a potty stop (TMI! sorry).
After the stop, CBs stomach wasn't feeling much better :( I got a little worried because it actually started to swell a little and that's right when it started to get HOT!!! The last 13 miles are run out in the open heat and boy did it get hot... even for NC. It WAS her birthday so she told me "IF she wanted to drop out she could!!!" I told her I would rugby tackle her if she tried (among many other threats I made). It helps that I'm actually bigger than her. During Mile 23 you hit the only serious hill and it's part of a 2 mile stretch of bridge bringing you onto Roanoke Island. Gorgeous view but a toughy of a hill at miles 23!!!
We got CB through the race and I didn't kill her!!!! yayyyyy... I was sortttt of pushing her to keep going even after she told me how much pain she was in, so I would have felt VERY guilty if anything happened. I'm not sure if it was myself pushing her through or hopes of beer at the end-- but either way she got another marathon medal on her birthday and ran a GREAT time even with some serious stomach issues!!! GO CB!!!!
One of the most stand-out parts of the entire race was somebody standing at the finish exit shoot saying "THANK YOU! Thank you SO much for participating!!!!" Wow! If you read my recent article on Race Directors you'll know why I really appreciated this!
We finished and were given ICE towels (YESSS!!!), our very cool "Pirate Coin" medals, and you could take your picture with Pirates or Queen Elizabeth (not sure I know the history on why shes connected but oh well!). We met up with the rest of CB's AMAZING fan club that followed us in cars the whole race and even made signs!!! Turns out that Mike (CB's sisters BF who also runs) finished in 3:10-- not only qualifying him for Boston on his SECOND ever marathon, but also placing him 3rd in his age group! Go Mike!!! We also met up with Hillery "I only do halves" Sacco Nicholas who finished her OBX-Half Marathon! Yay Hillery!!
We got our 2 free beers from the beer tent and joined the party at the finish in Roanoke Island, while waiting for MB to finish. MB came in at a great finish for her 8th marathon of the year!!! We took some more pirate pictures then off to a restaurant about 10 feet away from the start to sit down and relax. Finally.
GREAT trip all around and a VERY fun marathon with so much crowd support!