This race came only a week after the Caumsett Park 50K, but how could I pass up the opportunity to run a local marathon in honor of St. Patrick! This was the latest in the Holiday Marathon series, started by Mikes Arnstein and Oliva, the first being The Thanksgiving Marathon last fall. For me, it was my second marathon in the series, having also done The Thanksgiving Marathon, as well as The Valentine's Day Half Marathon a month ago.
The course is an excellent and enjoyable 6.55-mile loop, run four times for the marathon, twice for the half and once for the 5K+. On Valentine's Day the trails were all covered with snow and ice and made for treacherous running, but all signs of winter were gone now. But there were a number of muddy stretches, and one area where the trail was a stream for runoff. Nothing like getting a little dirty!
I met up with some friends before the race, as expected, including Mat Gerowitz, who ran to the start from his upper west side home, Andrei Aroneanu from New Jersey, who was my ride to Caumsett, and Dennis Ball, a very fast runner who I've run a couple of ultras with last year. With the national anthem again being sung beautifully by Vicki Arnstein, and a sound of the gong, we were off.
I ran the first lap and a half with Dennis, hitting the first lap in 50 minutes. I let him go ahead while I made a pit stop - I'd have to let him go ahead of me sooner or later anyway. I got the second lap also in 50 minutes, the third and fourth in 52 and 56 for a gong time of 3:28:29, better than my Thanksgiving time! Mike Oliva, who whupped me at Caumsett, won the race in 3:06, Dennis got third (I think) in 3:15. I finished two or three spots behind him.
It was also good to see Lucimar Araujo helping, handing out bibs (everyone got number 777) and finishers "medals" (a bag of gold coin chocolates), Emmy Stocker helping out as well, and regular pals Frank Colella, Sal Coretta, Ruth Liebowitz (a surprise since she hates running on trails, but these were "very mild"), and the rest.
Mike A. couldn't be there this time, but again a HUGE thanks to Mike and Mike and Vicki and Hiroshi and friends for putting on this fun, free, event!!! Besides the gold coins they also had the most delicious green apples I've ever had, bananas and green caps (not the one I'm wearing in the pics, that's my own).
Pics: 1. Mike O., me, and Dennis B. after the race; 2. My gong moment; 3. Mike's gong moment; 4. Lucimar handing out chocolate money with a smile