Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lost Dutchman Marathon (Arizona) Race Report and Video - February 2017

Here is Holly's report from the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Apache Junction, AZ.   As usual Dave's comments and video will follow.

I heard a race report about this race on a podcast and it sounded like a fun, unique, small race.  It was also appealing that it was in Arizona in February, a good time to get out of Illinois.   As luck would have it we left sunny and unseasonably warm Illinois for rainy and unseasonably cold Arizona.   I conned Stan and Michael into joining me for the marathon and we had a great group of brave cheerers as well: Lee, Laura, Pam and Dave of course.  

The race starts at the top of a mountain and you need to get a shuttle bus to the top of this mountain very early.   Michael, Stan and myself left the hotel at 4:30.    Michael drove us to the shuttle parking area and it was chilly and pouring rain.   Luckily they had the system down and we did not wait for a bus.  We walked right on and as soon it was full we started the long drive up to the start.   It was dark, very dark and I don’t think our bus driver had ever driven this route before.   We finally make it to the top and she exclaims, we made it, boy that was scary!    Yikes.  They want you there early to be sure they have enough time to get everyone up the mountain.   There are fires and stretching mats and food available while you wait.   Obviously with the rain none of that was available.  However they did let you stay on the buses until right before the start, which is of course what we did.   We momentarily lost Michael at the port o potties, but luckily found him right before the start.  The sun was up now but it was still raining and quite chilly.  

The first 6 miles was mostly downhill with a few uphills thrown in on a dirt/mud trail.   With the rain our feet were muddy and soaked within the first mile.  This was going to be a long uncomfortable day.   We tried dodging the puddles, but it was pretty impossible.   We were laughing and having fun though.  It would have been a beautiful run if the sun was shining over the desert landscape.   We got off the trail and now had road for the rest of the race.   We saw our spectators and they were all soaked.   They were real troopers.   They did go and procure some umbrellas.    I was freezing as I wore my running skirt thinking I would be fine, but the rain made it extra cold.   I remembered I had some throw away pants in our luggage.  They were from a race expo and they were Tyvek material and huge.   I managed to get them on but they wouldn’t stay up while I was running.   We all called them my sexy pants.   They eventually got a hole in them and I had to ditch them, but I think they helped me for a few miles.

The course itself was nice with just some rolling hills.  The fire department had a water stop with lots of goodies, including, WARM and crispy bacon.  Delicious.   We were soaked, we were miserable but we kept going and kept laughing at the ridiculousness of doing this.  

Our group did a great job of following us and getting us supplies when needed.  We can’t thank them enough for standing out there in the cold and rain.   The sun finally came out and the rain stopped at mile 25.5.    We finished and were very glad to be done.   The medal is great and the organization of this race is top notch.    They also offered showers at the local state park, and we took them up on the offer.   I was so cold and so thankful for a hot shower.    I would like to go back and try this one again when the sun is shining, although there is no shade on the course so I could see that being an issue as well.  

Dave's Comments

This was pretty awful.   Not my worst experience, but just yucky (as evidenced by lack of photos).  The good news was the spectators could not go anywhere near the start so we got to sleep in.  We left the hotel around 7, got breakfast at Basha's Grocery, and ended up hanging out around mile 6.5 with the local neighborhood cheering squad.   They were nice and offered us coffee.  The rain started coming down a bit harder at this point and we were not prepared for it.   Mile 8 was by a Walgreens - umbrellas were procured.   The course was open to cars so we had an easy time spectating and we had a good handle on timing of how long we could stay in the car before they showed up.   Although it was cloudy we did get to see some nicely landscaped homes with cacti and other desert things.

Snacking options were available at a few locations.  Basha's Grocery had great donuts at a very reasonable price plus most of them had Starbucks inside.

At Mile 24 we were across from the rodeo grounds.  Per the officer we could have cut into the finish area by going that way.   Not really.  Only shuttle buses could cut through.   We decided to try to beat the clock and go the long way around.  I failed.   As we were walking toward the finish I saw our runners in the distance approaching the line.   Nuts.   We got the runners to the State Park for showers while the rest of us took in the only 20 minutes of sunlight that day.  We got Subway sandwiches for lunch then proceeded to drive 4 hours towards the Grand Canyon.

Here's the video:

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