I signed up for the Mother Road Marathon just a few days after the registration was opened earlier this year, since they said it is their inagural race, I made no second thoughts about running this race. Still cant believe it was already here.
The Mother Road Marathon is located in Joplin, MO, I did a few researches and found out the best and cheaper way to get to Joplin was to fly to Kansas City, Mo and drive around 200 miles down to Joplin. I didnt mind the drive so I decided that will be my plan.
Thursday and Friday - 10/7 - 10/8/10
After catching a red eye flight from LAX to Minneapolis to Kansas City, I was in KC early morning, the first thing I wanted to do was drive over to this place in downtown KC call College Basketball Experience, it's a place where they have everything about college basketball history from the begining to present, signed basketball, trophies were displayed in the lobby, plus they have a full court basketball upstair so people can play some pickup games. You could shoot free throws, 3-pointers, dunking a basketball on a lowered basketball. It was a basketball heaven for any basketball fan. I was there for almost 4 hrs playing basketball and make sure I play all the games there. Since it was an early weekday, I was pretty much the only one there so I felt like I got this basketball heaven all by myself.
I also went a few museums there and took some pics while I was there
Saturday - 10/9/10
I got up early and drove 3 1/2 hrs down to Joplin, MO to the packet pick up inside the Joplin Musuem, it was a nice smooth drive with no traffic on a 2 lanes highway, saw a lot of roadkills though.
The expo was really small, it was just inside a small room with only 2 vendors, I was out within 15mins, I bought a poster and 3 ROUTE 66 pins, each represent the state of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, since it runs thru 8 states, I need to collect 5 more to collect. =-)
So after I was done with the expo, I decided to drive to Wichita, KS, cuz I heard they have another marathon expo also happen on the same weekend. So I drove ANOTHER 3 1/2 hours east of Joplin and arrived at the expo just a little over an hour before it closes at 5pm. The reason I wanted to drive to this expo was because I heard Dane Rauschenberg will be there at the pasta dinner, he also was the guy running 52 marathons in a year a few years back. So I got his book signed and he was kind enough to give me a few poster of him. I was able to listen to his speech at the pasta dinner at the Hyatt Hotel right across the parking lots from the expo, the speech alone was well worth the long hour drive, he was very entertaining talking about how he got into running and the ups and downs on his journey of his 52 marathons in a year.
I drove 3 1/2 hrs just to meet him again, he is an awesome runner.
You can follow Dane at http://danerunsalot.blogspot.com/
After the pasta dinner, I decided to drive BACK to Joplin to rest up for rest day, yup, that's ANOTHER 3 1/2 hours drive.
Race Day - 10/10/10
I actually slept in my rental car in the parking lot where the finish area was, which was a few blocks from the Joplin Museum at the Sports Complex, they told us we could park there and take the shuttle to the start. I was there early so when I got there, I realized there wasnt much cars there, I thought I was at a wrong spot, but later on the cars started to arrived. After a quick change and got everything ready, I was headed to the shuttle bus, since I parked at the finish line, I didnt have to bring any bag to be checked.
Around 6am I boarded the bus to the start, they actually have 2 buses, one for the full and one for the half. About half an hour into the drive, the driver actually got lost and couldnt find the way to the start, then one of the runner on the bus was offering some directions cuz he said he drove around the area a lot, that seems to helped a little, but they finally had to ask one of the officers on the street to guided us to the start. What a joy ride!! We got there about 45 mins till the 8am starts, so many of us were either sitting on the sidewalks killing time or sitting on the bleechers socializing or just taking pictures. The start was at Commerce, OK on Route 66 and run thru Kansas and ended in Joplin, MO
Before the start, they had a girl from local high school singing the national anthem, she can really sing, then with less than a few mins before the race starts, I was lining up at the front of the start with all those fast runners, because I knew the course infront of me was pretty wide open so I dont think people behind me would have trouble passing me, plus I just wanted to get into the pics at the front. =-)
Early in the race while we were still in Commerce, OK, I found out we were running on Highway 69, how perfect would that be?? This is my 69th marathon and I get to run on Highway 69!! Could not have been any better.
Here are my splits for the first 9 miles before I felt a little discomfort to my right hip, I was pretty much struggling the rest of the way, but with stretching every once in awhile, I was able to run for a few mins before I had to stop and walk and stretch and run again.
Mile 1 - 7:44 - gone out way too fast!!
Mile 2 - 8:19
Mile 3 - 8:30
Mile 4 - 8:23
Mile 5 - 9:10
Mile 6 - 9:07
Mile 7 - 9:29
Mile 8 - 9:42
Mile 9 - 11:20 - I started to having some problem with my right hip, never felt this kind of sore before.
The volunteer and the crowds were awesome, plus the police were pretty helpful also, when we entering the start of Kansas, there was one officer standing on the side and welcome every runners "Welcome to Kansas", I think that was really cool. The race was very well organized, the mile markers were very visible since they were really high up, you can see it from the distance. The aid stations were every 2 miles so I didnt really need to carry my water bottle, I felt like I run better without my bottle with me.
At about Mile 13, we actually had make a right turn and run around the school parking lot, then ran back out on the Route 66 just to add some distances. We actually got to run on the OLD Route 66 for a few miles around Mile 20, that was a long stretch of boring course with few spectators, plus the warm temperature was helping me getting faster. Once we got back on the regular Route 66, they actually had a huge fan blowing cool air on the side, I stopped by there and just cool myself down a little before I moved on, that was a huge relief.
So after Mile 24, I have half an hour left if I wanted to finish under 5 hours, I wasnt really thinking about my time because I was kind of tired and sore, I just wanted to finish without further injury. So I kind of took it easy and just take it one step at a time. Then when I got to the home stretch to make a left turn to the finish, I saw a Maniac who I met earlier during the race greeting me on the side, she finished around 3:48 and I saw her medal around her neck, which was very nice. Then I could see the finish line ahead of me, luckily my hip felt better so I was able to run the final stretch without stopping and was able to pass by 3 other runners right before the finish, and I BARELY finished under 5 hours at 4:58.05
After I finished, I rested for about an hour and a half before I drove ANOTHER 3 + hours BACK to Kansas City to get back to my room and rest.
Overall I really like this marathon, great support from everywhere, if I live in Kansas, I would run this one again, too bad I dont.
Next Race.................................Rock n Roll Denver - 10-17-2010