Friday, March 26, 2010

Bataan Memorial Death March ~ Race Ratings (NM-#26)

Tagline: "Like no other race you've done before." Ratings...

2010 Bataan Memorial Death March ~ March 21, 2010
White Sands, NM~ White Sands Missile Range
Registration Fee: $65 early ($130 late) Teams (5): $225. No Discounts
Runners: 2614 Individuals & 224 teams of 5... total: 3,734 Competed
Available Races: 26.2m March or 15.2m March for individuals or teams of 5. Civilian and Military divisions. Light and heavy carrying divisions.
Average Finish Time: 7:43:39 (individuals)
BQ %: .5% (individuals)

(Pic Rt: The happiest pic of me running a marathon I've ever seen)
Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.9/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.7/5.0

~ This is an unbelievable race with a challenging, but fun, course. The only down side is that the race is in the middle of nowhere so you're going to face a little extra travel time.. but it's well worth it for the beautiful scenery, a VERY well organized race, and to show your support for the thousands of soldier there!

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The only issues I saw with this race, were not controllable by the organizers. The distance to an airport, obviously can't be changed. And it's hard to get a ton of spectators to the top of a mountain in a desert with no homes around. The only changes I would suggest-- that the organizers are in control of-- are medals! In lieu of medals, they gave out dog tags, but I think it would be nice for everybody to get a medal as well. I'm not sure how this is handled for other "marches."

Event Organization: 4.2/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: El Paso Airport... ~50 Min Drive
Rental Car Required: Yes!!
~ This marathon is not the easiest to get to... but then again we don't keep our military bases in the middle of crowded cities. And the treck out to White Sands, NM is well worth the trip for the unbelievable scenery. They suggest for travel to stay in El Paso or Las Cruces, NM-- we stayed in Las Cruces and it was definitely an experience. You get the true New Mexico feel-- I suggest finding a Mexican restaurant while there! Their website is well maintained with all the information you need. And they sent out reminders and important information by email in the weeks leading up to the race. Registration for teams is a little complicated-- the captain has to register everybody and only 1 name is confirmed in the registration database. We were required to get to the base VERY early (4am-4:30am for a 7am start) due to the security at the base. This was a little annoying, but they had a giant tent full of breakfast foods so you could eat and get all your marathon prep in there.

There should also be something said about including all of the bataan survivors and all the branches of the military, encouraging them to take part. I think that's what really helps to make this race what it is! Also, if you chose to stay on base you had that options-- they gave you a bunk and breakfast!

Race Organization: 5.0/5.0
~ I never doubt the military with race organization! Similarly to Marine Corp and Dayton AF Marathons, these were well stocked and well organized for anything you may need. Port-a-johns galore! The aid stations had anything you needed-- water, real gatorade (some thought this was too much), fruit. In the middle of the giant uphill there were several trucks forming a giant misting cloud to cool you off-- I've NEVER seen that before! There was a spot going out of the sand pit with chocolate chip cookies! The course was very well marked-- I believe the posts may be permanent fixtures for the missile range. There is also a giant medical tent midway in the march that you pass twice.

~Post Race Food: Every runner was given a lunch after with burger/hotedog/veggie burger options, chips, drinks, fruit, fruit bars, etc. You could also go back up and buy more later if you wished. Oh and they had beer! There was also Karaoke availble post-race while we ate... Beer + Karaoke = not soooo great lunch music, but fun!

(Pic Rt: Some horrible entertaining singing done by some of the marchers.

Course: 5.0/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 25.95
~ This course is unreal both for the challenge and the view! The desert-scenery is amazing!! (See pic). The climb to the top of the mountain is well worth the trip! The other scenery you get is the treck back down-- as you're coming down there are hundreds of people (mostly military) coming up and watching the heavy pack marchers is unreal!

The course itself is very cool-- but challenging. You start with a nice warm up on the flat base, but at mile 5 you slowly start the climb... up a mountain. The climb end around mile 13-14, followed by a roller coaster of small steep hills, bringing you back down the mountain! Then there is the sand pit... 2 miles of deep sand that's definitely not easy to run through, especially with the little dips and hills! Garmin distance was about a quarter mile short for just about everybody... but who minds a shorter distance???

Spectators: 4.5/5.0
~ Oddly enough, even being in a desert and climbing a mountain mid-course there are spectators scattered throughout hte course. Not huge heards of them... but small groups here and there. We also have a few miles where we spectate each other as the course crosses itself. The aid stations were also stocked with spectators which was really nice to have the cheering! The end of the race had a ton of spectators, including the survivors of Bataan there to shake your hand...

Pace Group: /5.0
~ NA

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ I LOVE running with members from the military-- they are always so focused and serious, but as soon as you yell to them, they are very excitable!!! We even found our own AF LT and commandeered him for the remainder of the course! We encouraged him and he encouraged us. We had a ton of fun being part of a team too! What a great twist on a marathon.

Expo: 4.7/5.0
~ "In Processing" (as they called it here) was pretty cool. You were able to get all of your things (bib, chip, dog tag, etc), then you could get a finishers certificate printed with your name on it, followed by a long table full of all kinds of marathon gear from Tshirts and hats, to chairs and commemorative coins. In the next room they had all the survivors from Bataan who were able to get in. You could get their autograph, including a popular author of a book about the march. Then there was another room where the team captains were sent to get a formal reading of the rules and needed to sign off. Very organized!

Swag: 4.4/5.0
~T-Shirts: The cotton t-shirts were very military in color (tan), and they had a very neat, simple design. Almost nice enough to wear casually. 4.6
~Medals: There aren't medals given out for this race, but in keeping with the nature of the march there are Dog Tags with the marathon logo and information. We were also given professional finisher certificates with our names printed. 4.2
~ Goodie Bag: N/A
Team Beauty and the Geeks...
Time: 4:18:24
Place: Overall Teams 3/224~ Division 3/24 ~ Gender NA ~ Age Group NA

(MB finishing strong... and looking like me-- kind of creepy)

(MB and I in post-race!)


  1. This race looks sooooo cool. It was already on my list but now I'm moving it towards the top. I can't wait for your full report! LOVE the pics and also, am I reading this right? 3rd place?! Way to kick ass.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds like such a cool & uniqie experience! I would love to try something like this.

    P.S. Your race reviews are THE BEST!

  3. Ok seriously, you totally make me want to do this race! I miust look into it! Great write up per usual!

  4. this marathon sounds awesome! i'm kind of a medal whore but i really like the idea of dog tags to go with the theme. definitely added to my marathon to do list. thanks for the great review!

  5. Congratulations! This sounds like a great one. I would do it for the food/karaoke alone :)