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Friday, December 17, 2010

Death Valley Trail Marathon Recap

This is my 17th and final marathon of the year,  and my 73th marathon overall

Well, I have out done myself this year by completing more marathons than last year, in 2009 I have done 13 marathons,  it seems like I wanted to pushed myself a little further every year. So lets see if I could do more marathon in the year 2011.

The Death Valley Trail Marathon usually held on the first Saturday of Feb, but after 21 years, they had decided to switch with the Death Valley Borax Marathon, which held on the first Sat of December. The reason for the switch was because of the weather condition is using better for the trail in December than in February. So this year they actually had 2 Death Valley Trail Marathons in the same year, one is Feb and one in Dec, but next year they will back to normal with Death Valley Road Marathon in Feb and Death Valley Trail Marathon in Dec.

I got off work Friday night at 10pm, met at my parents house midnight and we were heading to Death Valley aroudn 1am. About 6:15am, we arrived at the Furnance Creek Ranch, where we would pick up our bib at this bar called Corkscrew Saloon, it's a tiny little bar with the restaurant right next door. While I was waiting in line to get my bib, I bumped into my Maniac buddy Kino from NY, he was doing this marathon AND RNR Vegas the next day. What a hardcore Maniac!

Before we take the shuttle bus to the start, the race director gathered us runners infront of the ranch for a little briefing, he talked about how the race started and how he used to be a sub 3 marathon runner, but now since he has titanium knee, he isnt the same as before anymore, but this guy is funny and he has the voice you can hear from miles away. So after all the info had been addressed, we all headed to the shuttle buses for about half an hour ride to the start.

The Race

The race started like around 9am instead of 8:30am. I was running comfortable the first 3 miles, but because of the elevation at 3500 feet, I started to slow down a bit, when I got to the first aid station at around Mile 5, the elevation jumped to 4000ft, they have aid stations every 5 miles so we all needed to carry our own bottles. The next few miles were rough since it went from 4000ft to 5000 ft elevation, I did a lot of walking and running.

Then I was relief when I saw 2 school buses on top of hills around Mile 9 cuz I knew that's our  next aid station, I filled up my bottle and was on my way. After that it was a little downhill, then about a mile uphill running thru this scenic trails and after that it was pretty much all downhill from there, as you can see the elevation chart below.

Running downhill can be fun but challenging on your quads, plus you have to watch where your foot lands so you wont trip yourself.

Running down this beautiful trail was breath taking.

 At Mile 15ish Leadfield, ele approx 4000ft.

At Mile 15 aid station

I heard this truck was behind me and I barely have room to get out of their way. Scary!

At Mile 20 aid station, 10k to go!!
At Mile 23 aid station, 5k to go!!!

Look back the around Mile 23.

With 5K to go, I was able to run my comfortable marathon pace since the elevation was down to less than 900ft. I crossed the finish at 4:45.13.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1 -9:26,                             
Mile 2 -9:34,                   
Mile 3 -9:40,                       
Mile 4 -9:59,                     
Mile 5 -11:34                      
Mile 6-12:03,
Mile 7-12:22
Mile 8-14:23
Mile 9-13:44
Mile 10-12:40 
Mile 11-10:34,
Mile 12-15:36,(it was a long way climb to this point)
Mile 13-11:26,
Mile 14-8:58 ( my lungs felt a lot as I was decending)
Mile 15-9:20
Mile 16-17:41 ( I was taking picture at Mile 15 aid station, so that's why it took me so long )

Mile 17-10:10,
Mile 18-9:42, 
Mile 19-8:59
Mile 20-9:10
Mile 21-9:32,
Mile 22-8:33, 
Mile 23-9:25, 
Mile 24-10:07,(was hanging around by the mile 23 aid station before I started to run again)

Mile 25-8:30,
Mile 26-8:40

After the race, we drove to Vegas to meet up with my Maniacs friends for dinner, they were doing the RNR Las Vegas Marathon the next day, I didnt run it but I was on the course cheering for them. Fun times!!!

At the Finish Line

Overall I really like this trail marathon, I think it's very challenging but only the first 9 miles or so, after that it's mostly downhill than uphill, very scenic course, I would recommend everyone to run this at least once.

Next Race....................New Year's Day Marathon, Kingwood, TX, 1-1-2011


  1. Wow, what an amazing course!!! Thanks so much for coming to Vegas and cheering us on! It was wonderful that you could be there with us and a part of the race.

    Are you going to do this again next year? These are some great pictures and a great recap. Thanks for sharing this with us Mitch.

  2. Thanks for cheering us on at LV RNR! Diana was looking out for you as we crossed Mile 1. Sure enough you were there near the Mile 2 marker. Thanks for taking awesome pictures of us.

  3. The pictures are very cool! thanks for sharing! Great splits by the way.

  4. Congratulations! Awesome report, Mitch. You took some cool photos as always to showcase the event well. I really want to do this one someday. I went back and forth on doing LV RNR or this one and as you know I went with LV. One of these times, I'll do DV.

    It was great seeing you on the LV RNR course cheering. You are one of my favorite people and I think you are so inspiring!