From a runner’s perspective, this was a particularly tough marathon.
It wasn’t the fault of the organizers, but the cruelty of Mother Nature that put things off to a bad start. It was 70 degrees and windy, and the humidity was so bad that the ground was wet, as if it had rained.
Despite what I heard one WFAA broadcaster say, these are not good conditions in which to run a marathon. Most of the runners I talked to said the rainy cold conditions of last year were far preferable to today.
To make things more frustrating for the participants, perfect marathon temps rolled in as the race came to a close.
As for the new course: I enjoyed starting downtown. It felt like a big-city race that you might experience in Chicago, Philadelphia or at the popular Houston marathon.
If you saw an overhead shot of runners crossing the bridge, it was reminiscent of the iconic New York City Marathon crossing of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. From the ground, it was slightly anticlimactic, but it wasn’t as steep or long as the bridges in New York, so that’s good, running-wise.
Much of the full-marathon course was familiar from years past after the Oak Cliff/south Dallas section: Turtle Creek, Highland Park (5-miles of steady uphill here), through some East Dallas neighborhoods (lots of nice people partying in their yards and making the most of a noisy Sunday), down Mockingbird and to White Rock Lake (lots-a downhill here), up the infamous Dolly Parton Hills (ungodly double-hill complete with cheering locals dressed in Dolly Parton drag), down Swiss and back downtown. The course was challenging — perhaps hillier than year’s past — but they’ve done a good job of showcasing our city’s diverse landscape.
I heard some complaints about the half marathon, which far more people ran than the full marathon. The consensus was: too many turnarounds. A sharp turnaround can really interrupt a runner’s flow.
Also, some of the less-fast marathoners say the water stops were inadequately manned (middle and back-of-pack runners generally find more crowded conditions). I will say, probably an atypical amount water was ingested and tossed on heads, due to the warm humidity, so it might have been tough for volunteers to keep up.
I heard some mumblings about the post-race offerings, by way of food. Personally, I was so nauseous it didn’t matter.
Every finisher received a heavy medal, the top hundred in each gender received a hat and the top 64, courtesy of Miller 64, received a second medal.
It seemed that traffic flow surrounding the race was pretty good (correct me in the comments section if you experienced unexpected issues). Cars were still getting through on most of the major thoroughfares occupied by the race. I only spotted one angry driver. In years past, irritated vehicle occupants sit at almost every intersection.
The live music was popular. I heard several folks say the Dallas Marathon bands really rock. People especially loved the gospel singers.
Technology is cool: the race organizers made it possible to register for free race tracking. All you had to do was enter a cell number and your family and friends could see where you were on the course. Also, this graphic results application is pretty radical. You can see where you placed, how many people you passed and how many passed you, among other things. (It’s is based on actual time, not “chip time”, meaning the results are slightly unofficial. For example I placed 6th in my age group, but am listed as 11th.)
The WFAA broadcast made me angry: When I got home I watched the recording of the marathon broadcast. Do the producers realize there is a men’s and a women’s race? It took 1 hour and 40 minutes for the announcers to even mention the professional women. They were entirely focused on the men and the high schoolers (a team of top high school runners challenge male leaders, which is very cool).
The New York City Marathon each year is broadcast live nationally and they do a great job of showing a split screen of the men and women and/or alternating between the two and intermittently showing the field of amateur runners and spectators. Anyone watching the Dallas Marathon broadcast would have ascertained that the women’s race was utterly insignificant. What a shame, I thought.
Also one of the announcers claimed the warm temperatures meant there would be “lots of good times” today. Do they know anything about marathons? The winning times didn’t come close to the records.
A couple notable performances from our area: East Dallasite Craig Miller, last man running, ran a respectable 1:37 half marathon and raised some $20,000 for Scottish Rite.
Lake Highlands resident Marcus Gruenwald is the Dallas Marathon executive director. He worked tirelessly to put on an amazing event. And he really cares about making it better every year. He approached me at the finish line and asked what I thought of the course. This wasn’t just small talk. He really is anxious to get feedback on the race. People complain often and loudly about big events. They are difficult to pull off. Say what you will, this dude puts his whole heart into this marathon.
Lakewood resident Nicole Studer placed in the top ten females with a time of 3:02.
Want to brag or congratulate someone? Wish to offer your opinion from a runner or non-runner point of view? Want to tell me how much you hate the marathon and how it so disrupts your life one day a year (I know you are out there and I welcome you)? Do it in the comments section. Some comments will be published in the January 2013 magazine. Send your marathon photos to email@example.com.
The pics in this post were acquired from Dallas Marathon’s Facebook page.