I’m not going to spend a whole of time talking about my running in Humpy’s Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, Sunday. I think that would miss the point of it all. But I will write a quick recap and then talk about why I think this one is a must-run.
I came into this race feeling pretty good. I felt about as good as I have physically this year and I was well-rested. I ran well early on and felt comfortable with how I was doing. I felt strong and not tremendously fast, but quicker than I’ve been lately.
I slowed a little bit after the first 10K, but hit the half in 1:35 and change. I started to slow pretty badly by about mile 17 or so. My legs got really stiff and I was running about a minute per mile slower than I had been. At mile 24, I tried my best to give it a good charge and I did fairly well at the end. What looked like a 3:19 day ended up being a 3:17:33. I finished 15th overall, 3rd in my age group. I’m content with how I ran in my 38th marathon of the year.
OK, now that the running part is out of the way, this race is now probably my favorite. It’s a tough toss-up between this and Boston, but Boston’s tradition and talented field give it some bonus points. From a course standpoint, there is no question that this is the best one I’ve ever run. I don’t know that I’ll ever run a nicer course.
It starts in downtown Anchorage, which is a nice little area, and within about two miles, you spend 22 miles running through a trail system that’s pretty well developed. The course has slight rolling hills, but nothing drastic. You can run fast on this course. But you might not want to run fast on the course because the scenery is amazing.
There are wooded areas, there’s a bay, there’s snow-capped mountains off in the distance … just when you think you’ve seen something awesome, there’s something else right around the corner. Runner’s World magazine has a section called “Rave Runs” where they show snapshots of people running in breathtaking areas. This course was one constant rave run. There were creeks, there was fog on top of the bay at times … it was amazing.
As I kept running, I kept thinking, “Wow, if nothing else, for all the work I’m putting in this year, these 26.2 miles are my reward.” At one point, I ran about 10 feet away from a mama moose and her little calf. The course support was great and the folks were enthusiastic.
I really hope that my wife Tiffany gets over the inflammation in her ankle that’s been bothering her for a year. I’d love to bring her here and run every step of the way with her. That’s probably the only way I would enjoy a run more than I enjoyed this one today.
So, that’s my take on Humpy’s Marathon in Anchorage. Take it from me, because I’ve run a lot of courses — this one belongs on your must-do list!
38 down, only 23 to go!