Wickham Park Marathon Race Report

by Jason Maki, maki@cfl.rr.com

Everyone that has ever taken up this foolish pastime of running has probably had someone come up to him or her that wanted to explain how crazy an idea running when no one is chasing you is. Even grown tired of hearing it. How should I justify my sanity when doing something as ludicrous as running 26.2 miles through Wickham Park in the summer time, in 90-degree heat, with no hope of prizes, glory, or corporate sponsorship? If you do it alongside those crazy fools that will do it for 50 miles, and even 100 over the course of two days, it leaves you feeling a little more stable.

I had a great time this year after missing last year. Over the course of the first lap we had a group of a few that wanted to outpace Matt through his course, but it seemed at every corner we came too, we needed to turn around and yell back to him, “Which way do we go?” I felt that following last years record setting marathoner, Chris Seinkner, would be the best thing to do, but I soon found out that his constant wrong turns, and backtracking was nothing more than an attempt to keep his record time from last year intact.

After successfully navigating the course through the first 3.75 miles, Chris and I paced out a good four laps together, and after the heat of the first two laps, I have to credit him with saving me at least two wrong turns. “Four laps complete,” I though, “only three more to go.” Not so bad. “Glad I’m not one of those ‘crazy’ people running the ultra-marathon.” Justification.

The dream of demolishing last years record went out the window after lap five, as did my theory that I wouldn’t need to walk at all this marathon. The last two laps blurred into an attempt to keep the body cool, an attempt to calculate lap and split times, and arguing with myself about the need for splits when I didn’t give a G*Ddamn if I broke any record. The though of Chris sitting on the couch drinking cheap beer and laughing at me was enough for my to work my stumble into a decent pace for the last open portion starting behind the horse stables. I figured if you’re a record setting marathon runner, you had better not come crawling across the finish line. And there it was. No ribbon, no screaming fans. A crazy ultra-marathoner here and there wondering why I was sprinting when I still had another 23.75 miles to go. Cars pulling out in front of me. All I could visualize was running head-on into a car pulling out 30 yards from the finish line. I don’t think I would have finished.

I was done. And I wasn’t crazy. Crazy people don’t do marathons, crazy is running 50 or 100 miles…