We stayed in the Red House on Great Cranberry Island, which made race morning super convenient. The island is so small that houses are known by their family’s names and colors, and there were no numbers! This made finding our house in the dark somewhat challenging the night before. I woke up feeling rested and ready to tackle the day.
The race director made laminated signs with every runner’s name and tacked them up on telephone poles all along the race course. What a nice personal touch! We were allowed to keep them afterwards. Benny and I had fun trying to find all the names we knew.
We headed to the start line and took tons of photos. We had a group shot of the Marathon Maniacs, our house ladies (above), and Maniacs with Gary Allen the race director and head of Crow Athletics. CAW!
After the rendition of the national anthem, we were off! There were 100 of us, plus lots of volunteers and good folks that live on the island and set up their own water stations for us! The scenery was pretty, but we passed it LOTS of times. We started with a 5K out-and-back, then did another 7 circuits of the island (4 mile loops on a 2-mile long road). It was sunny but not TOO hot, although a shortage of shade didn’t help.
I enjoyed seeing my friends out on the course many times. I remembered being thankful for Coca Cola and boiled potatoes served at the aid stations. I was struggling a bit, having already raced an ultra the week before. I just tried to enjoy the experience. I ran with my Oakley sunglasses, which were mostly comfortable but they fogged up at times due to the heat.
I was so afraid of losing count of my laps! Luckily, there was someone sitting at the finish line who told me when I had three laps left, so my addled brain at least let me know when I was almost finished. There was also a marathon split, USATF certified so people could use it as a BQ! (I didn’t, but our housemate Dave Holmen did!) My last thoughts before I reached the finish were–“Ouch, this hurts,” and “Why is that camera following me as I’m grimacing?” The official photog, Kevin Morris (who was excellent–he photographed the Olympic T&F Trials), took a good photo of my pained face in the final stretch while riding a golf cart. I didn’t post it here, but you can find it on his website.
So the sweet, sweet reward of finishing was an awesome lobster claw belt buckle/medal, and a pink granite rock from Great Cranberry Island. It’s pretty! I waited at the finish for a bit and saw Amanda Lewis (our housemate) and other Maniacs cross the line. I also ate about four slices of the best watermelon ever to help me cool down.
Then, it was back “home” to shower and then head out to the famous lobster boil and post-race party in a grassy field by the finish. Every finisher got a whole boiled lobster, corn on the cob, and beer. In case you can’t tell from the photo, it was one of the best dinners of my life.
We sat on logs, enjoyed each other’s company, enjoyed s’mores that Becky brought (thanks Becky!), and watched the sun set. I had to leave before the fireworks because I was being eaten by mosquitoes, but yes, there were fireworks! What a perfect end to the day.
The next morning, we packed up and headed to the dock to play around in the water. Instant ice bath for our feet! I also took a Dave Mari-inspired photo of my lobster medal. He took a great shot of his last year.
If you ever get the chance to run this very special race, do it! Thanks to Jackie and my fellow Maniacs for being part of an excellent weekend!