The 2018 Morgantown Marathon will take place on September 16. The race is in its fourth year and it is a Boston qualifier. Although, qualifying is easier said than done. After 26.2 “almost heavenly” miles and nearly 1600 feet of elevation gain, the body takes a beating on the asphalt. Add to that the fact that race-day temps are typically in the 80s.
Since 2015, the inaugural year, there has been a steady decline in the number of finishers; 301 finishers the first year down to 171 finishers last year. Many blame the decline in participants on the difficulty of the course. The race director however, and past finishers take pride in the difficulty.
I am a 2-time finisher and I plan to make it a third. I agree, the race is hard and beats up the body. In 2016, I ran my slowest marathon ever, 4:15. I cramped so bad at mile 23 that I collapsed and couldn’t run any more. It took me 45 mins to finish the last 3 miles. I didn’t know then what I know now about electrolytes, nutrition, and hydration.
I came back in 2017, determined to get my revenge on the course. I crushed it. Ran a 3:27, my fastest marathon ever and came in 12th overall. What an amazing feeling it was to run the race of my life.
Going into the race this year I am nervous. I want to repeat my stellar performance last year but I don’t feel ready. Last year I was cross-training in preparation for Ironman Florida. This year I’ve only been running and ultra training, and while I have put a ton more miles in this year on my legs, I still feel slower than last year. Hopefully with all of my new electrolyte and nutrition knowledge that I have gained I will be able to come out on top.
The finisher’s medals this year are really great too. They have the elevation profile engraved in them. I’ve never seen a medal quite like it and I cannot wait to wear this one proudly at the finish line. Bounce back for my full race report next weekend!