ORN: 26.2 miles, 5:41:05, 13:02/mile; 25th of 32 overall
You've heard the old saying about that great vacation you had: "Yeah, you can never go back." It's often not the same the second time. Such was the Sandhills Marathon on June 5, 2021. I first ran this race in 2018 and, as I wrote at the time, it was a phenomenal experience, indeed in the top 5 of my lifetime marathons. Weather and the course changed dramatically this year however and so did the experience. Nevertheless, it was terrific to run in my home state and have much time to be alone.
Gory (and hot) details:
The 2021 edition of the Sandhills Marathon became an anchor point of the first post-Covid, post-retirement road trip for my wife and me. We drove 2,800 miles in nine days making a giant counter-clockwise loop from Indiana to Minneapolis through South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, southern Illinois and back home. It was a fabulous trip and the two of us totally enjoyed the time together and all the scenery in the west.
We spent two days at Badlands National Park near the Black Hills of South Dakota. Amazing and beautiful. We did a good bit of hiking. How about this landscape?
Meanwhile, Gretchen checked us out of the hotel and drove to the start/finish line at a reasonable time. There was about a one-mile straight stretch leading to the finish line and with about a half mile to go, I could see her standing there, peering down the lonely road. My fluorescent yellow shirt let her see me before I saw her. And what a great sight to see her there. We walked the final 150m or so together and then I ran it in. It was good to be done.