All American Marathon Ambassador & Winter ’15 Spring ’16 Race Schedule

It is so awesome to have been selected as a 2016 Ambassador for the All American Marathon! If you haven’t checked it out you need too! Registration will open soon and over the next few months I’ll be sharing more details of this great race!

So on to my Winter ’15 and Spring ’16 Race Schedule!

It has taken me a few weeks to put this together. So many different schedules at home with the kids and their soccer. Also, the cost is obviously a factor. I’ve had to remind myself that all of this is much, much less expensive than my previous habits!

I’m not sure how people get their 50 states. I’m trying to get nearby states that I can drive over a 3 day weekend. So between these are the races I was interested in and that had weekends I could make!

NOVEMBER 1, 2015 **CITY OF OAKS MARATHON** I’m thinking its time I ran my hometown marathon. This one is somewhat questionable as it depends on the schedule staying open!

NOVEMBER 22, 2015 **PHILADELPHIA MARATHON**. A couple of my run friends have done this marathon in the past! It provides a great location and easy 1 day drive before and after.

JANUARY 3, 2016 **JACKSONVILLE MARATHON** Sounds like a great opportunity! Just after the holidays in sunny Florida!

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 **MERCEDES-BENZ MARATHON** Checking off another state this is suppose to be a good run. I’ve got some ambassador friends I’d like to run with!

June 2016 **HATFIELD & MCCOY MARATHON** This race has been on my list for a year! I’m hoping the minions schedules will let me get it this summer.

All American Marathon 2015

Don’t tell the staff at the All American Marathon that anything is impossible! Why? Because they just followed up the flawless inaugural All American Marathon with an even better marathon in 2015! They raised the bar on perfect yet again!

After running the inaugural marathon in 2014 I was eager and excited to invite my running friends in 2015! It turns out the we had a group of more than 10 runners competing across all the races. I’ve heard nothing but compliments! That’s simply incredible! I challenge anyone to take a dozen of their friends to ANY race and I promise you someone is going to find something to complain about. Congratulations to the All American Marathon staff and volunteers.

So on to the race details. I thought the first year having an expo at packet pick-up was a hands down success. Great participation from sponsors! The space was perfect and well staffed with volunteers. I can’t wait to see this expo grow in the coming years! I especially liked the shirt exchange table. 

 

The pre-race dinner was well thought out. The food was good and the setting was well thought out. Having Maj. Ivan Castro as the guest speaker was spectacular. He is leading America’s new Greatest Generation from the front. His talk was personal and heartfelt. For those of you not familiar with his story take a moment to read an article on him. On a personal note I’m going to put out a personal invitation for him to run the Grandfather Mountain marathon with me this July. Of course that might be a little self serving though as I’m sure it would be him dragging me up the mountain!

The race start was well put together again this year. Everything was in line and easy to see. Music was good and rocking loud and early! I didn’t notice if there was an MC but maybe a little more pumping up of the runners could be done. Great job with the presenting of the colors!  The singers for the National Anthem were off the charts! Extremely well done. The cannon for the start was great…maybe bring a 155 next year? Thanks to the City of Fayetteville for their brief talk. Glad to hear a couple of the city council were even running the race.

 

 The start was uneventful and off we went onto the course. It appears with the numbers growth this year the pacers got somewhat crowded together. Next year might be time to spread out more and then condense before the start. Also, it sure would be nice to get the public restrooms open near the first water stop.

The course out of Fayetteville was very nice and it’s great to see the residents coming out to cheer the runners on.  The rolling hills of Morganton Road keep you honest. Great to see the  British paratroopers running along the way. 

 

The turn north on the All American Freeway was uneventful and is a great time for me to mention the water stops. The stops are perfectly spaced and well stocked with water & Generation Ucan energy formula. At several points on the marathon you can see from one water point to the next! 

The volunteers are very knowledgeable and well trained. Great to see the ROTC programs from State, Duke and UNC running one stop. I’d have to give the award to the folks from Campbell University ROTC. They also had a couple of cadets running. Next year I hope to see the ECU Pirate Battalion leading them all! 

The Blue Mile and Cannon Welcome to Ft Bragg were well situated. Each year I remember those I served with who made the ultimate sacrifice particularly SSGT Jack Smith.  The young Navy cadets saluting were great and I tried to thank each of those who spent their time to help us remember our nation’s heroes. 

The run through the post and the 82nd Airborne Division area was great. We enjoyed the music from the Humvees and the soldiers acting as road guards were engaged and encouraging! So happy to see that this year. Hats off to the soldier from one of the 82nd units standing and cheering each runner along. I regret not remembering his unit. 

 

We gutted the out and back portion of the course through Pope and returned to Bragg. Great fun meeting some great friends at the turn here!  Unfortunately in an effort to keep up with my running partner #ThanksAnj I consumed too many supplements and had severe runner stomach. Regardless it was quite humbling to have friends cheer me on! #Thanks  

 

The final five or six miles changed from last year. I was all prepared for the hill at mile 24 last year. Honestly I can remember where the change was from last years course but this year the hill was gone! It was replaced with a nicer section and some rolling terrain. I really enjoyed the families who came out of their homes to cheer us along! Well done!

  

 I enjoyed the removal of the mileage at the Iron Mike statue from the previous route. What a great finish as I thoroughly enjoyed running alongside some friends here! What great pictures.

 

I’ll let the finish photos speak for themselves. I enjoy rounding the last turn to see the finish line laid out in front. It’s flat, the crowd is cheering, music is playing and the announcer is calling out names and home towns. I’d run it twice just for that experience! 

  

So marathon #9 completed with some GREAT friends. Getting to share the inaugural race with friends over the past year was awesome and sharing an even better second year was especially fun. In the past year, along with others, I’ve run the Marine Corp Marathon, the Air Force Marathon and the Richmond Marathon but the All American is MY favorite MARATHON. I’m excited to have been a part of it and am convinced that soon it WILL be one of America’s legacy races! See you in 2016! #RunAllAmerican 

 

Catamount Half – Brattleboro VT

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Well this was the typical small town race that I enjoy so much. Simple, friendly and a new place to run. The start of an epic vacation day, the family and I loaded in the car at 5 am. The race was located in Brattleboro, Vermont which was about 3 hours from our small vacation rental in Barnstable, Ma. The drive across central Massachusetts with scenic and uneventful with the kids sleeping a good bit of the way. The kids normally would have fought such an early wake-up and long car ride but I promised them an afternoon at a New Hampshire waterpark and a big vacation seafood dinner in Kittery, Maine.

Although very excited to get a half and jump start my fall marathon training I was concerned about where I was physically. Between the trip up to Cape Cod, several meals out and spending the day before doing a walking tour of Boston I wasn’t sure I would have any legs for the run. Turns out that I was just fine on the run and pretty strong although the course was almost completely flat. The big surprise of my Vermont run was…..THE HEAT! It was hot and humid from the very start which was exacerbated by the long open road shoulder for most of the course.

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The race was a simple affair held to benefit some type of youth program. The organizers had race day bib and shirt pick-up at the starting area along with water/food and porta-johns. A small race with just a couple hundred runners for the half it was easy to get around and although they were concerned with parking that was no problem. Arriving with the family about 30 minutes prior to start I had just enough time to pin my bib, down some water and chat for a few minutes with other runners.

I had considered this race for several weeks while we worked the details out for our vacation. I’ve got to thank Mike at Raleigh Running Outfitters who really recommended the area and the town of Brattleboro as a great race location. The location was perfect although personally I think the Town is missing a great opportunity by having the race on Sunday! Passing through with the family it seemed there wasn’t a single place open in the downtown. I think the family spent the time at some obscure place in a distant shopping center.

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The race was generally an out and back on Vermont Hwy 30 which follows the West River along the border with New Hampshire. Although the breakdown lane we ran in was very wide it was a shame to have such a decent number of cars whizzing by. Also, the sun was just bearing down for most of the time spent on this road which was probably 8 or 9 miles. The bright side was the great scenery to enjoy along the route. Immediately there was a great view to the east across a lake with the hills of New Hampshire for a backdrop. At about 2 miles we ran under an interesting and extremely elevated bridge, which turns out is the I-91 bridge over the West River.

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With the heat I’ve got to unfortunately say that I thought the water stops were not properly spaced nor were there enough of them. However, I must give the volunteers credit for giving the race that caring small town feel. At about mile 5 we crossed an old iron river bridge and turned north running on a dirt road along the west side of the river. Here the course ducked into the woods and had some gently rolling terrain.

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Just short of mile 8 we crossed back across the West River via the Dummerston 1872 Wood Covered Bridge. Definitely a simple but nice highlight to the race. Very interesting to see the craftsmanship used to building the bridge and how well it looks 100+ years later. Immediately after exiting the bridge the course turned back south toward Brattleboro using the highway brake down lane.

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The rest of the course was just heading back to the start/finish. Not the most exciting but the scenery was good…minus the cars. Some nice views but here is where the heat and humidity cranked up. Fortunately being used to the heat was a real plus for me. I was able to make up some spots from the slow first few miles when I was more concerned with being able to finish.

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Other than the heat the last miles were uneventful. I did get a great surprise with the family driving by cheering. The kids were hanging out the windows cheering loudly. I wonder where they get that from? Finished the race in 2:08 which was quite surprising as I really hadn’t pushed myself that hard. Great fun to get a picture with the family at the finish. Then head off to an afternoon at the waterpark and seafood dinner!

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Until next time. Please have a fun and safe July 4th and remember…See you at the 2015 All-American Marathon!

The Military Marathon Triple Crown – My 2014 Schedule

Well, it’s almost here. Time to finalize races for the fall and to start marathon training. I’ve been struggling for a couple of months to find a plan that reaches the same level of excitement as last winter and this spring. After much thought I think I’ve got a great plan! I’m calling it the 2014 MILITARY MARATHON TRIPLE CROWN !

It has me following up last month’s Inaugural Army All-American Marathon with the Air Force Marathon on September 20th followed by the Marine Corp Marathon on October 26th! Of course there really isn’t an organized Military Triple Crown but maybe I’ll accidentally start something here.

So if you’re looking for some fun and different races take a look at doing these. If you plan it right you can do them 1, 2, 3! Hope to see you out there on the training runs! Remember #DLTRA!