WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Boone, North Carolina and Macon, Georgia
Saturday, July 13
Grandfather Mountain Marathon and Make It By Midnight Marathon
NO REALLY, WHY?
The Year of Stupid marches on with this little endeavor. Some months ago I started looking for ways to cross off more states on my long, long road to running a marathon or ultra in all 50. The easiest way to do this is with a Saturday marathon in one state and a Sunday one in a neighboring state, but why go easy? I'll run Grandfather Mountain in the morning, hit the road for the 6-or-so-hour drive to Georgia -- pretty much another marathon in itself -- and run Make It By Midnight in the evening.
WHO ELSE IS GOING?
Grandfather Mountain hit an announced sellout of 500 runners (though the website only lists 471 names). Make It By Midnight also sold out with 175 total entrants, 84 in the marathon and 91 in the half. Two other Marathon Maniacs beside myself are running both.
WHAT'S THE FORECAST?
The morning race should be quite pleasant, relatively speaking: 60-70 degrees with a mix of sun and clouds, but humid. Obviously not perfect but for a July race, this Texan will be chilly when the gun goes off. The night race is closer to what I've run in a time or two recently: temps in the 80s with choking humidity that will make it feel 10 degrees warmer.
HOW DO WE WIN?
We win by finishing, no question. If I were only doing Grandfather Mountain, it would be a tough day. That race starts at about 3300 feet and ends nearly 1000 feet higher, with plenty of ups and a few downs in between. I expect it will be the second hardest marathon I've done behind Blue Ridge, and so I won't be surprised at all if I'm pushing 4:30 to finish (obviously I won't be going all-out, either). The moment I finish, I'll be in a panic trying to catch the shuttle back to the start so I can get on the road to Macon. The race there starts whenever each runner decides, as the goal as to finish at or just before midnight. It's a hilly 4-loop course through a gated neighborhood. I'd like to start at 7 just to give myself way more time than I ought to need -- and before this, I'd also like to be checked in to the hotel where I'll be spending the night. So there's little room for error. Stupid, indeed.