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Showing posts from May, 2015

The Starved Rock Country Marathon or How to Live Up to Your Braggadocio

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Washington Square, near the starting line Have you ever talked a big game and then found yourself having to back it up? It's not a particularly exciting position to be in. And at mile 21 of the Starved Rock Country Marathon this morning, that's exactly where I found myself. Just last weekend I was talking to a dude at a bar ( The Grafton Pub , to be specific - cool place if you're in Lincoln Square) and he was describing watching runners getting pulled from this year's Illinois Marathon due to rain last month . He asked me what I would do if that (being told to quit a canceled race) ever happened to me. "I'd just ignore them and keep going," I said. "But what if they're like, 'The course is closed - you HAVE to stop running!'?" he asked. "I'd just run around them." So... it sounded pretty straightforward to me at the time. But this morning as I was halfway through the course

Starved Rock Country Marathon Q&A with Race Director Matt Skelly

At the end of last month I ran the Big Sur International Marathon . And I'm not going to lie. It was hard. It was so hard that it didn't just hurt my legs. It hurt my feelings. And as I was sitting at home thinking about my hurt feelings I saw another upcoming marathon that looks picturesque and unique: the Starved Rock Country Marathon . So, I did the appropriate thing and signed up for another marathon - why let all that hill training from last month go to waste!? The race starts Saturday morning (May 16th) at 7am in Ottawa, Illinois. Previous to Big Sur I had only done large marathons (Chicago, New York, Athens ) and after getting a taste for what a smaller marathon can be like, I'm excited to go even smaller (right now there are around 230 people registered for Saturday's marathon). This is only the second year for the Starved Rock Country Marathon, but judging from the course (part of the course goes through Starved Rock State Park !) and the feedback to las

The Big Sur International Marathon or What's With All the Hills???

A busload of runners Five days ago I woke up in Carmel at 2:30 in the morning so that I could head to a local middle school and wait in line for a school bus that would arrive at 3:30 and take me 26.2 miles away to Big Sur, just so that I could wait two hours in the dark and then run back along a windy, hilly stretch of highway. Taken on its own, that sounds like madness. And while I'm not one to dispute that appraisal, I should perhaps add that there were several thousand people taking this journey with me. That many people can't be crazy right? Debatable. This early morning odyssey - followed by the arduous return journey - is the Big Sur International Marathon , a race that in its three decades of existence (last Sunday's race was the 30th running) has developed mythical status in the minds of most runners of a certain distance. I know I've had my eye on it for several years now. Unlike other well-known races, this one doesn't take place in a major metro

Universal Sole Four Mile Classic Is Back (Discount Code Included)

Last year the Universal Sole Four Mile Classic took place on an incredibly windy day in Dusable Harbor . A day so windy that one of the covered tents from the basecamp got blown straight into the lake. It may have been windy but it was still a great race with an even better post-race party (seriously, all-you-can-drink 312). Well, that race is coming back for another go-round, but this time it's moving farther north to Montrose Harbor - where the first official Burgers and Beer 5K was hosted (also by Universal Sole). The press release says that runners can expect " the usual USOLE perks (swag, beer, prizes and a great party)" along with a "flat, fast 4 mile run along the northern stretch of the Lakefront Path." And they also have an post-race party planned. This one will be on the roof top of Lakeshore Sport & Fitness in Lincoln Park where they'll host a "killer raffle" with Goose Island beer and food. I can't miss the promise