Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mesa Falls Marathon ~ Race Ratings (ID -#39)

Tag line: "Potato sack packets, big breakfast, and Huckleberry milkshakes... oh there is a marathon too!!!"

(These are about a month past due... sorry!)
Antler Arches in Jackson, WY-- That's MB not me
Mesa Falls Marathon ~ August 28, 2010
Ashton, ID ~ Targhee National Forest
Type: 13.6 Miles of Pavement 9.8 Miles of Gravel roads (wide), and 2.8 Miles of trail (Non-Technical)
Year Running: 11th (certified)
Registration Fee: $55 ($75 late and no shirt)
Charity Race? N/A
Runners:  214, 101 Females
Available Races: Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K
Average Finish Time: 4:34:53
BQ %: N/A

Overall Race Ratings: 4.5/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.3/5.0
~ This is a VERY well organized race that is all about the runners from the shuttle bus pick up (with a full breakfast) to the ticket you get at the finish for a free huckleberry milk shake. This small race has a relaxed feel and a non-uptight director who waited for the port-a-john lines to die down before starting. The aid stations are stocked the way an ultra would be and the volunteers are exceptionally nice and supportive. Great course with a variety of surfaces and a great view. 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This race is in the middle of nowhere, so you're going to have issues getting to the race and you're going to have to get up early for the shuttle bus. Aside from moving the race out of ID, the things you can do?... Make sure there is enough food at the end for all the marathoners! If this means having a separate food corral for the halfies and the fulls do that! Also-- the shirts (although unique) need a little work :)

Event Organization: 3.8/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll 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: ~ 2 Hours from Jackson, about 45 Min to the closest airport
Rental Car Required: YES
Getting to this race is definitely not easy--- but most of the ID marathons are the same way. You could fly into a fairly close airport and pay a LOT or you could fly into Jackson, WY and pay a little less. We flew into Jackson, which I would recommend, because there is a LOT more to do in Wyoming than Idaho. We actually ended up canceling our hotel res in ID and stayed the night after the marathon in Jackson. It's a really cute town with a lot more to do. WARNING: Driving from Jackson you'll need to go over the Tetan's which is not easy! They give you suggestions on how to drive the rental car! The website was very informative, but even they say there are not many places to stay in the race area. This race is just in the middle of nowhere! 

A few great points however- 1) you have to wake up early for the bus to drive you to the start. Since it's so early they have a FULL breakfast available at the meeting point-- we're talking cereal, bagels, fruit, muffins, donuts, oatmeal... I could go on forever! 2) When you finish, they give you a ticket to get a free huckleberry milkshake from a place down the street. A-MAZ-ING! I didn't know what a huckleberry was, but now I'm sold! 3) Post-race there is a big raffle that the pull while you're running, so you'll know if you won anything as soon a you finish. 

(Pic Left: a "Don't touch my milkshake" face)

Our Goody Bags were
Potato sacks!!
Race Organization: 4.9/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Varied
Where the event organization lacked, they definitely made up in the race organization! So many things, we may have to number...
1) Breakfast! I'll include that partially in here since it's kind of like a first aid station. Full breakfast provided where the bus picks us up to bring us to the start. There is also a dinner if you get there.
2) Aid stations: They were stocked like it was an ultra with gel, fruit, cereal bars, etc. I've never seen that in a normal (non trail) marathon.
3) Port-a-john- plenty available throughout and a few camping areas with real bathrooms as well. 
4) Relaxed Director! When we got to the start they realized there were 4 runners stuck in traffic so we waited and extra 10 min for them. In the meantime we all lined up for port-a-johns. The director was kind enough to wait until the line was pretty much gone to start the race! 
5) The race announcer made sure to try and get EVERY single marathoners name and hometown as they crossed. Very energetic and fun to listen to if you're waiting
6) LONG post-race massages available! 

Gel Type/Flavors/Availability: Gatorade AND powerade with Multiple options! EVERY 2 miles!
~Post Race Food: .They had 80 different types of pizza available (a local place supplied) as well as fruits, cookies, etc. I was a little disappointed that the pizza did not last THAT long... I was able to get some, but about 20 min later it was gone. Too many halfies, I guess! -.1

Course: 4.8/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating...

Garmin Distance: 26.30
Type: Point to Point
~ Elevation Gain/Loss

~ This is definitely the type of course is a little harder than it appears on paper-- esp if you're not used to altitude!!!. I kept expecting to be running downhill and it never really felt to downhill-ish (yes, that's a technical term). Don't get me wrong-- it's still a fast course! I was feeling horrible and tired and felt like I was hardly putting any effort in and I still ended up with a half decent time. 

This point to point course is mostly run half on pavement, and the rest mostly on packed gravel roads with 2.8 on a flat-downhill trail. It's very scenic as you're running through the mountain and there is an overpass you hit around mile 11 that 1) may give you vertigo and 2) gives you a great view down into a canyon with waterfalls! 

Spectators: 3.7/5.0
~ This is definitely a quieter race as the bus needs to bring you out to the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere to run, but the aid station folks were fantastic and the best part... if you can get there fast enough, the half-marathoners (halfies) start 2 hours after us. If you get there before they take off then there is a HUGE cheering section there at your 13.1 mile mark! They go crazy and you're on the biggest decline of the race so you're flying-- it's quite exciting! There were trucks, vans, and cars driving up and down cheering which was great.... and they were the only cars on the road so you didn't have to worry about getting hit while running the tangents

 Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ NA

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ No Corrals. The runners were VERY nice. Actually I had very little sleep the 2 night before due to work and traveling and was quite grumpy. A few of them approached MB and I because they remembered us from other marathons-- I may have gotten snippy. So I get a 1.0 on this and the runners get a 4.0 :)

Expo: NA/5.0
~ NA

Swag: 3.7/5.0
~T-Shirts: These T-shirts were actually Polo's! They definitely get points for something unique, but they weren't exactly fitted for women or something I would choose to wear. 3.3
~Medals: The medals were also very different with a wooden medallion instead of a metal. The symbol was burned into the wood with the date and location. 4.0
~ Goodie Bag: The bag itself was actually a potato sack!!! Hello Idaho! There wasn't much else in the bag to note. 

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:45:35
Place: Overall- 27/214, Gender- 5/101, A/G (F25-29)- 2/15

1 comment:

  1. Good race post, it is detailed and entertaining. I want to read a race post like this. Good job!!!