I decided on repeating my 2017 trip to Huntington so I could close out the 3rd round of the states. Marshall University Marathon is not an especially exciting race, if I’m being frank with you. It’s flat, by West Virginia standards, with only about 240 ft. of gain, but most of the course isn’t all that scenic, and it’s a double loop. So if you thought it was boring the first time, wait until you get to see it again. The most exciting parts of the race are going past the memorial fountain and laying your flower, and the finish in the stadium, but the whole of the course consists 3/4 of park mileage, some of which have small rocks that can get in your shoes, a bit of old Huntington where there are a variety of antique and quilt shops, and back to the campus.
This year I had a busy weekend scheduled with a rather needy customer, that I knew would monopolize much of my weekend. It did, and then some. I started working Saturday at midnight, shortly after my flight landed in Columbus, Ohio, and didn’t stop until about 8 or 9pm that night when we received word that they were ready to continue. I did squeeze in just enough “me time” for dinner with Andy and Todd, and the drive to Huntington.
Most of the weekend was a game of scavenger hunt. Get this document, print it, sign it, initial it, date it, cross reference it, sign it again but on the pages with the pictures, scan it, find a USB drive to scan to, email, meet with client, etc.
By the evening I was anxious that I would get a call in the midst of my race. I just new I would get a call at mile 4 with some emergency. I went to bed, and enjoyed the extra hour that the Daylight Saving Time change gave me, and hoped for the best.
Race morning it was COLD. 32 degrees and I didn’t bring gloves because I live in Florida and do not generally thing about such things. Idiot. I covered my hands in socks and went to the start. We did our anthem thing without a flag (aside: it’s a personal annoyance of mine that people want to have the national anthem, but they do not have a flag. The whole point of that song, if you are familiar with the lyrics is that the flag withstands all these things “that our flag was still there…” So not having a flag, when you’re singing an anthem is like some sort of absurdist theater).
Off we went. First loop I entertained myself by chatting up two ladies in the first few miles until “ring, ring” (Not Avon calling.) Amusingly this was a different customer and work emergency at mile 3. I talked to our customer care rep while running and got the details of this problems and began texting away to find a solution to this problem. By mile 9 that issue was dispensed with, but another text from a Project Manager for the customer that I had feared.
Another blur of texts and a phone call carried me through the next 4 miles to start the second loop before that problem was also solved so I could do the second loop in peace. I met a first-timer who had a bicycle entourage. Two buddies on bike following him the whole way. He said at 14 this was the furthest he’d ever run so I was a bit concerned about how he’d be doing in the later miles. Then through the park I met a fellow with a South American accent. It was Sergio, a friend of Andy’s from Houston, and we chatted a bit as we jockeyed back and forth in the final miles, and he would ultimately finish right on my tail.
Fun fact: Huntington, WV was the second city in the nation to adopt electric streetcars (after San Francisco, CA).