Marathon 10 in 50 of the #50in50: Arizona (Mesa-Arizona Marathon)

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10 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon
  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon
  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

I did some media the day before the marathon at Fox 10 in Phoenix. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about Gweneviere and the foundation. 

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I woke up on race day at my Phoenix hotel really early at 4am.

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When I got out to the where runners were staged to jump onto buses to head to the start line, I waited in line for one for about 15 minutes. We then drove out for about 40 minutes up mountain.

When we got to the start line it was at a much higher elevation, cold and still dark outside. I was struck by the size of the cacti! They were also everywhere, just like in cartoons.

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The area was super quiet, too. The race had set up heating lamps and fire pits, and they also had a lot of Porto Potties. I was going to meet up with one of the local donors to run with me at a 4:00hr pace, but ge texted me to tell me that his car wouldn’t start so he wasn’t going to make it.

About a week before the race I had started to mentally get ready to break 4:00hr for the first time. I was excited about this race because it has a 1000 ft net elevation drop over the course. It’s incredibly fast with 26.8% of the field BQing.

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I decided to run with my Nike Vaporflys (instead of my Zoomflys). I also decide to run with only my Apple Watch (with cellular signal) and not my phone. I usually run with a small waist pack with my ID, insurance card, a credit card, a $20 bill, nutrition, and sometimes my phone. I actually forgot my waist pack, but it turned out to be a good thing. A couple marathons ago I realized that I preferred tucking my nutrition under my ball cap because when my hands get really cold I’m not able to open my waist pack zipper to get to them. One time a year ago at the 2018 Hyannis Marathon, I had to ask a volunteer to help me open my waist pack.

It was going to be a cold morning (34°F). I decided to wear my short sleeve #50in50 shirt, arm warmers and #50in50 cap.

I looked for the 4:00 hr pace group and found only 4:05 and 3:55. The race had decided cut 5 minutes off each pace group due to new BQ times. I went with 3:55 because of the characteristics of this really fast course. My PR before Mesa-Phoenix was 4:04 (NYC 2018). I had never, up until that point, run with a sub 4 pace group. The race started promptly at 6:30am with fireworks.

This was one of the rare races that I had run alone. I was a little emotional, because I knew I was going to run a sub 4 for the first time. I thought about Gweneviere and talked to her for a little bit. I wanted her to know at that moment that I was going to go to run that race for her.

It was a super fast start. Most people seeded themselves properly so there wasn’t a lot of dodging around slower runners. The start us a big descent. The view of the city below was pretty amazing. We were surrounded by desert mountains and big cacti. The start is pretty remote, with no spectators for the first couple of miles, so it was very quiet and peaceful. All I could hear were the pitter patters of thousands of feet. The first few miles flew by quickly. Our pacer, Farrah of East Valley Runners, kept us on track. Her pacing was perfect. My heart rate stayed in a range I was comfortable with, occasionally slightly higher on small inclines. The race had GU at miles 7, 13 and 19, so I brought a couple along with me under my cap.

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I have been taking nutrition every 4 miles, but I’m going to take more now. I feel like I need them every 4 miles until mile 20 (caffeine free), then at mile 21 and 23 (with or without caffeine depending on how I feel). I felt comfortable with that amount during the race. I don’t like taking caffeine generally because it sends my heart rate up higher than I like it during a race.

At the halfway point, Farrah handed pacing off to Gene, another member of East Valley Runners. Gene and I talked a bit about nutrition and Instant Pot recipes. I told her about how I make 2 gallons of almond yogurt in the Instant Pot with a recipe I developed after months of experimenting. She shared some of her recipes. At about the 17 mile mark, my watch started to give me a low battery (10%) warning. I was surprised, because I had kept my watch off until 5am (1.5hours before the start). For the next race, I will turn it on 10 minutes or so before the start. If it fails again, I will have to get it replaced because it’s only 4 months old and shouldn’t crash that early into a race. I told Gene about Gweneviere and why I’m running 50 marathons in 50 states in 1 year. She also shared some stories about friends and family.

About the 21 mile mark, I decided to take a 1 minute walking break. I needed it. I felt mostly ok, but my heart rate needed to come down. I took some nutrition and drank some extra fluids.

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I started up again and had to feel out my pace because I was flying blind without my watch. A couple of times (mile 23 and 24) I asked volunteers what the time was so that I could gauge my pace to see if I would make it under 4 hours, and it seemed like I was. I kept a steady pace and followed a few people that seemed to be at a 9min/mile pace. I ended up crossing the finish in 3:57:06, a new PR.

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After the race I thanked Farrah and Gene and visited their running group’s tent. Gene gave me a big hug.

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I said thank you to one of the sponsors of the race, Offerpad, and to Wendy Jacobson, Director of Operations for the marathon.

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The finish festival was amazing. Sprouts, the title sponsor, brought tons and tons of food. There was French Toast, fruit, chips, Creamies and more. They really took care of the runners. In terms of food, this finisher festival rivals the Louisiana Marathon festival in Baton Rouge. I was really thankful for all the delicious treats at the end of both of races.

I highly recommend the Mesa-Phoenix if you are looking for a super fast downhill course in the West, early in the year. You will likely PR and have a great time. They also have a nice finisher medal. Check them out for next year. 

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Next marathons on the schedule:

  • TX (Austin) 2/17
  • MA (Hyannis) 2/24
  • SC (Myrtle Beach) 3/2
  • AR (Little Rock) 3/3
  • NC (Wilmington) 3/9

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

 

 

Marathon 9 in 50 of the #50in50: Mississippi (Mississippi Blues Marathon)

9 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  1. NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  2. NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  3. PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  4. WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  5. TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  6. ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  7. FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
  8. LOUISIANA 1/20/19:  @thelamarathon
  9. MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon

Today I woke up early in Jackson, MS for the Mississippi Blues Marathon (#9 of 50) to drive about 15 minutes to the start. I met Vicki Dufner downtown Jackson, where she was about 2 blocks away front he start.

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We had a quick bit then walked over to the start. We met up with Will Pearson, his wife Georgia, and their friend Sarah (her college roommate who now lives in Jackson). Will was running the half and Georgia and Sarah were running the 5K. Sarah’s husband Michael stayed at home with the kids.

We all decided to stick with the 4 hour pace group. It was a pretty cool day and we felt good, so we went for it. I had a foil sheet and gloves, so I was ready. It was a slightly hectic start since all the race lengths started at the same time. Several of the runners didn’t seed themselves properly, so we had to dodge a lot of slow runners and some walkers during the first mile or so.

I stuck with the pacer. About 5 miles in or so, Vicki fell behind a bit. I was surprised by the lack of water stations. I’m used to water being at almost every mile or two. This race had water every 4-5 miles. That caused me to become slightly dehydrated by mile 19. I know when I’m becoming dehydrated when I start to feel nauseous. I had to fall back a little take a few minutes of break time to rehydrate and recover. I took a honey stinger early. I usually have a honey stinger every 4 miles, up until mile 20, then depending on how I feel I might have one more at mile 23 or one at mile 22 and another at mile 24. So I do 6-7 honey stingers during a race. I always use caffeine-free. Caffeine spikes my heart rate too high and doesn’t work for me. I prefer Maurten or Honey Stingers.

I was on my own at that point. The course is fairly hilly in some parts. There’s an especially long hill around mile 20. Several of the runners I spoke with agreed the course was long, about .3-.4 miles long per their GPS watches. My watch (Apple Watch 4) registered even longer at .75 miles, but some of that is probably my own doing. I do have a Garmin 910xt, but I don’t use it for running, only for triathlon and bike riding.

I’m going to start posting my splits here from now on. Here are my splits from this race:

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Will finished his half in about 1:58. He went back to Sarah and Mike’s place to shower then met me back at the finish line to watch me finish. That was really nice of him. The medal is pretty cool, in the shape of a guitar.

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I picked up my race shirt from the art museum by the finish line and a couple of waters. Will walked me back to my car, which was in front of Vicki’s hotel. I waited in my car for Vicki to finish and got a pic.

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She’s ran another marathon in Alabama the next day. Overall, this was a good race. Looking forward to running Mesa-Phoenix Marathon tomorrow (#10!).

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • AZ (Mesa Phoenix) 2/9
  • TX (Austin) 2/17
  • MA (Hyannis) 2/24
  • SC (Myrtle Beach) 3/2
  • AR (Little Rock) 3/3

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Please download Gweneviere’s song

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

Marathon 8 in 50 of the #50in50: Louisiana (Baton Rouge, LA)

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8 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  1. NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  2. NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  3. PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  4. WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  5. TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  6. ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  7. FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
  8. LOUISIANA 1/20/19:  @thelamarathon
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I woke up super early (3am) in New Orleans and drove to Baton Rouge for the marathon. It was super cold! In the 30s. I met with the race director and founder and gave them copies of the Jan/Feb Men’s Health issue that includes the article on page 12 about the 50 marathons in 50 States that I’m running for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, in memory of Gweneviere.

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I wasn’t prepared for the weather. I wasn’t expecting it to be as cold as it was. I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or gloves. I kept my uniqlo jacket on for the first 3 miles. I decided to run 4:15 pace because of the conditions and because I still needed to ease back into my running schedule after a 5 week break during December and early January. It was a good decision to choose that pace.

My pace group was very friendly and talkative. They carried a bunch of Honey Stingers.

Baton Rouge is a relaxed place with nice architecture and nature trials. I love how I am getting to tour some of the most interesting cities of each state in the US on foot. I think it’s a great way to explore the country and people.

After the race, I hit up the finisher festival. They had local Louisiana foods for finishers. Each finisher got 6 tickets to use at booths: Stew to Go, vegan gumbo, vegetarian chili, jambalaya, alligator stew, cookies, and drinks. It was the tastiest finisher festival that I’ve been to so far! Louisiana cuisine is delicious.

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I broke away in last bit, half mile, and finished in 4:13. I think I could have run a 4:09 or even faster, but i was satisfied with my time. 4:04 is still my PR (NYC 2018).

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The medal is really big and colorful, and doubles as a bottle opener. So cool.

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I changed into clean clothes into the car, and headed back to New Orleans, arriving just as the Saints vs Rams game was starting. I was staying at a hotel right on Canal Street, bear the Super Dome. The traffic wasn’t bad at all, since it seemed everyone was already seated at the game or about to watch at home.

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I saw someone with their dreads hanging out the car window. Loved it!

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I watched part of the game in the hotel. The Saints were up, so I went to go eat at a vegan place called Seed, just as the 3rd quarter was ending. No one was on the road, all empty. I had a vegan po boy and vegan Mac n Cheese. Yum! By the time we left the restaurant, the Saints has lost in overtime 26-23. It was a bad call.

Overall the Louisiana Marathon was a great race. Be prepared for a cold morning. They have several race distances, including the full, half and kids races. Des Linden competed at the half and won it. Overall I recommend this race as it’s a fairly fast and flat course, and has a tasty finisher festival! Check them out and sign up for next year’s race when they open up!

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 1/26
  • AZ (Phoenix) 2/9
  • TX (Austin) 2/17

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Please download Gweneviere’s song

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

Marathon 7 in 50 of the #50in50: Disney World (Orlando, FL)

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7 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  1. NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  2. NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  3. PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  4. WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  5. TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  6. ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  7. FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
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I woke up at 2:30am to get ready for the Disney Marathon. I ran with my friend Ferdinand (who will be running 12 total marathons with me in the #50in50), Vicki, and her friend Brian. I met Vicki at the St Jude Memphis marathon (#5). She’s running 30 marathons in 30 states. I will have seen her at a total of 4 marathons by the time I’m she’s done next month.

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We started at 5:30am. We all ran together for a bit and then Vicki and Brian fell back. The heat (70+) and humidity was pretty high, and I haven’t run in 5 weeks. We still finished decently in 4:30ish, not bad considering the conditions.

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Ferd kept me going. We saw Ferd’s wife Lydia and their daughter Anya a few times along the way through the Disney park.

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Running through the park reminded me of the yearly trips to Gweneviere and I would take to Six Flags. I loved riding rollercoasters with her. We were such good screaming rollercoaster partners!

After the race, we met up with my non-profit coaches Peter, Travis (he gave me a big hug and I got his shirt super wet! Lol!) and his wife Liz of the CF-focused non-profit Piper’s Angels and Travis’s adorable daughter Piper, who the non-profit is named after.

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I went back to the hotel, showered and changed then met them all for lunch and discussed plans for the next few months. I will be doing Piper’s Angels’ Crossing for the Cure race in June. It’s an 80 mile stand up paddleboard race that starts in the Bahamas and ends in Florida. The top competitors finish it in about 10 hours.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • LA (Baton Rouge) 1/20
  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 1/26
  • AZ (Phoenix) 2/9
  • TX (Austin) 2/17

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Please download Gweneviere’s song

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

Marathon 6 in 50 of the #50in50: Rocket City (Huntsville, AL)

On 12/8, I completed marathon #6 in my #50in50 goal (50 marathons, 50 states, 50 weeks) at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. We are gaining more awareness for our foundation and its mission.

I arrived early on 12/7 into Huntsville and headed over to the Huntsville Museum of Arts to pick up my packet.

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It was a small expo with a relaxed atmosphere and small town feel

I got my race bib, 1776, which I thought was kind of cool.

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The next morning I arrived at the race start, prepared to in cold and rainy conditions. I had an unused rain poncho from the Seattle Marathon from a couple of marathons ago. It came in handy this marathon.

Many of the runners waited inside the Von Braun Center, where the marathon starts and finishes, to stay out of the cold and rain.

Finally, at 7:00am on the dot, the race started. I thought about running a 4:04-4:05 marathon, but decided to run with the 4:15 group instead because of the weather. I didn’t want to wear myself out early and wanted to play it safe.

The course was pretty nice with some small rolling hills. The course winded by the US Space and Rocket Center where runners got to see several rockets and space vehicles. The biggest challenge was the weather. It was rainy and cold the entire time. It reminded me a bit of the Hyannis Marathon that I’ve run for the past 2 years. It takes place in Cape Cod, MA. It’s been cold and rainy for the 2 years that I’ve run it. I finished the race in 4:15 thanks to my pacer Katie.

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The post race food was great. They had bagel, PB&J, and soup.

The medals are really cool.

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I got my obligatory pic with the race’s signage.

After the race, I showered up then drove down to Birmingham to see my old co-workers/friends from my Mental Floss magazine days with Will, Cary and Winslow.

Will’s family took me to see Birmingham’s famous Vulcan statue.

We got a couple of pics with the statue.

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Here’s the view of Birmingham from the observation deck.

And a view from inside the informational exhibit next to statue.

Overall, I enjoyed the Rocket City Marathon and recommend if you are looking for a southern marathon in the December. It’s a nice small town marathon with easy, rolling hills.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • AL (Rocket City in Huntsville) 1/13

  • FL (Walt Disney in Orlando) 1/20

  • LA (Baton Rouge) 1/26

  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 2/9

  • TX (Austin) 2/17

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

Remembering Gweneviere

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Today I’m missing and remembering Gweneviere as I do every day. Today is a little harder because of the season. I feel a big void without her.

Last year (2017) Gweneviere and I spent Christmas Eve by seeing the new Star Wars at the IMAX in Manhattan. We loved seeing movies at what she called our ‘lay down theaters’ with cushy, reclining seats. We used to bring throw blankets, take off our shoes and change into comfy socks and hold hands throughout the movie (unless we were digging into popcorn or drinking seltzer). I miss her.

I have a break until marathon #7 of 50 in a couple of weeks at #disneyworldmarathon on Sunday, 1/13 (see full schedule and learn how to join us on the #50in50 to fund early detection of lung cancer and brain tumors at gwenmann.org/50in50)

The Gweneviere Mann Foundation thanks you all for all of your continued support. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you in the New Year!

 -Yasir

Marathon 4 and 5 in 50 of the #50in50: Seattle 11/25 and Memphis 12/1


Marathon 4: Seattle, WA 11/25

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Marathon 4 of the #50in50 was the Seattle Marathon. 

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I randomly saw my Instagram friend Warren (@kingpiggy), a fellow triathlete and runner from NYC, at the start line and ended up running the whole race with him. I knew he would be at the race, but I hadn’t asked him if he wanted to do the race together. Warren’s brother is Wayne Algenio, a YouTube personality.

Warren had just finished an Ironman 2 weeks earlier and was in Seattle for the Thanksgiving weekend, and he signed up for the marathon on a whim. 

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His PR was Philadelphia Marathon in 2016 4:09:30. So I suggested we run with the 4:10 pace group. He had never run with pace group, but he was open to doing it. It saved us a ton of effort.

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We finished together at 4:07 and he PRed.

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And while I was I Seattle, the weather was incredible and I also got to see my good friends and competitive eating duo Juan ‘More Bite’ Rodriguez and Sarah Reineke  

Marathon 5: Memphis, TN 12/1

Memphis is a nice town. The people are super friendly. 

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I arrived into town on Friday night and quickly ran over to the Expo to pick up my bib before they closed down. The race was the following day on Saturday.

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Because of rain in the forecast they pushed the start back by 1 hour.

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I was staying in a hotel right next to the starting line so it was very convenient.

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The weather was relatively hot for running and humid (65 degrees and 90%). I took it daily easy on the run.

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During the run I met a very interesting character named Vicki who loved the donuts a family along the route was giving out. Turns out Vicki is a recent widow as well and she’s running 30 marathons in 30 states and she had just run Seattle as I did. It was surreal to meet her of all people.

We ran about 14 miles together until the finish line. I’ll see her again at several other marathons next year.

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Great marathon, great cause and a really huge medal. 

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And I got to meet Elvis! I saw several Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas’s Rock n Roll marathon. 

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Another medal to add to the series!  

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • AL (Rocket City in Huntsville) 12/8

  • FL (Walt Disney in Orlando) 1/13

  • LA (Baton Rouge) 1/20

  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 1/26

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Please download Gweneviere’s song

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

 

Marathon 3 in 50 of the #50in50

‪Marathon 3 in 50 (@aacr @philly_marathon) in my #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation done! My buddy Ferdinand ran it with me. He ran NYC with me and will run a total of 12 of the 50 marathons. The next one Ferd will do with me is the Disney Marathon (Florida) in January.

This was the 2nd time that I’ve run this race. The first time was years ago and I didn’t remember the route. It’s a fairly even course, except for around mile 8-11 as the elevation map shows.

I saw the great Bill Rodgers and mayor of running Bart Yasso.

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 And Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

And running legend Meb.

 I attended the Philadelphia Marathon press conference, saw Mitch Stoller of the American Association of Cancer Research speak and met him afterwards.

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I did several media interviews about the foundation and why I’m doing this project, including this wonderful one in Runner’s World: Why This Man Wants to Run 50 Marathons in 50 States in 50 Weeks

Ferdinand and I finished in about 4:17.

The Philadelphia medal incorporates a replica of the Liberty Bell that actually dings!

3 states down, 47 more to go. Seattle Marathon tomorrow!‬ ‪

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for all of your friendship and love. This time last year, Gweneviere & I were at my friends Marina and Murat’s place (pic from then).

Today I’m back here, and with our cats Hunky and Miwee, thinking about the good times with Gweneviere. Today also marks 4 months since she passed. Tomorrow I fly out to Seattle to run the Seattle Marathon on 11/25, which also happens to be the 10th anniversary of Gweneviere’s craniotomy, or Craniversary as she called it, to remove a brain tumor. After that, she lived nearly 10 great years full of thriving, love and fulfillment and I’m lucky to have been her soulmate during that wonderful time in her life. She touched so many people, she lived so fully, and loved so deeply. I’m thankful for the life I had with her.

I ❤️ you so much Gweneviere

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Download Gweneviere’s song

Gwen was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

Marathon 2 in 50 of the #50in50

‪Marathon 2 in 50 (@runrocknroll Vegas) in my #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation done! This was a great course that starts at 4:30pm on the Las Vegas Strip, and ends on the strip. It was a 26.2 mile dance party with live music, lasers, vegas lights and A LOT of cheering Elvis impersonators.

I ❤️ you Gwen. ‬ 48 more states to go. Philadelphia Marathon tomorrow!‬ ‪

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • PA (Philadelphia) 11/18

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

***Please download Gweneviere’s song***

She was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.


Marathon 1 of 50 in the #50in50

Marathon 1 of 50 complete: New York City!

We are now on the road to 50 marathons in 50 states in 1 year.

This race was all for my love Gweneviere and to honor her memory through the Gweneviere Mann Foundation (gwenmann.org).

This year's run was a deeply emotional and meaningful experience. If you don't know the story, back in 2008 Gweneviere survived a brain tumor/had a craniotomy. The procedure caused her to have anterograde amnesia, but she was a fighter and continued to thrive through her music, writing, and running. After her surgery, we set a goal to run the 2010 NYC Marathon, and had run it every year (except for 2012 when it was canceled; we ran Harrisburg that year instead). She went onto graduate with honors from New York University writing program, attended The Juilliard School, and was due to start her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University this Fall. With every amazing accomplishment, Gweneviere inspired me to set new goals for myself whether it was serious (like learning how to swim so that I can complete 4 Ironmans) or not so serious (like winning championships in the Tour de Donut bicycle races).

I am humbled that the Gweneviere Mann Foundation received incredible press coverage on ESPN, CBS New York, ABC7NY, StoryCorps, Committed Podcast.

I met and was inspired by fellow NYC Marathon runners Nev Schulman, Tiki Barber, Teri Hatcher who were all running for great causes themselves.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • NV (Las Vegas) 11/11

  • PA (Philadelphia) 11/18

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved: http://gwenmann.org/50in50

***Please download Gweneviere’s song***

She was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here: https://www.gwenmann.org/music/

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

Monthly marathon race report: Naked Prussian Marathon

I really love running small marathons where race directors maintain a personal touch on every aspect of their race. I enjoy gathering in a small circle of a few dozen runners before the start to listen to a race director go over the course. My March, 2018 marathon (30th overall) was one of those races - the Naked Prussian trail marathon in Leesport, PA. The race was on March 31st, barely getting it in before the month’s end!

I told myself I wasn’t going to do a trail marathon this year, but I had to skip the marathon I was planning to do on March 24th due to a small sprain. This trail marathon was my backup. 

The welcome party is a guy playing the accordion. How great is that?!

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The race took place on the Blue Marsh trail system. It’s really well-maintained. 

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The start/finish was right on the shore of the lake and next to the parking with plenty of parking. 

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There were 2 race lengths going on concurrently, a marathon and a 50 miler. Most of the course was covered trails, but occasionally went through open fields and along a couple of roads.

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The weather that couldn’t have been better and I just loved the view along the lake. 

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More trees. They’re everywhere! As I was running, I thought about an article I once read on Dr Jack Schultz, Professor at the University of Missouri, who said that’s plants are just ‘slow moving animals’ that see, hear, smell and respond. Fascinating. 

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I finished the race in the middle of the pack, which was ok by me since I was still a little sore from my injury a week earlier. 

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Award winners received these fun growlers. 

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They had a ton of warm, delicious savory food for finishers!

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I got this nice finisher’s mug 

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Overall I would recommend this race if you live in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey or even NYC and are looking for a trail marathon you can drive to and get back home the same day. It’s a beautiful time of the year to be out in that part of Pennsylvania. Check them out and sign up for next year’s race! 

Monthly marathon race report: Hyannis marathon 2018

In 2018, I'm continuing to run 1 marathon every month like I did in 2017. All except 2 of the marathons I'm running this year are completely new to me. The ones I'm repeating this year are Hyannis, which I ran last week, and NYC, which I've run since 2010. 

Many of the same things I reported on last year are the same: 

  • It is one of the most picturesque races I've ever done
  • The marathon course is 2 loops and passes by the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod
  • Hyannis is an awesome little race & town in the Cape Cod area
  • Very scenic, mostly flat course along the beach
  • You get a nice medal!
  • You can find chowder and cod everywhere 
  • Everyone we met in Cape Cod was nice 
  • Both the marathon and half marathon courses are USATF certified

Here's my video race report from the 2017 race:

One thing was a bit different from last year—it was very wet. It rained the entire race. It was also pretty cold, but I didn't mind that part as much because I've gotten used to cold runs living in NYC. I noticed the weather forecast for the race before we drove to Hyannis and I was hoping it would clear up before race day, so I didn't pack rain gear. 

The day of the race, it was clear that the rain was going to happen for sure so I got a big trash bag from the hotel staff, poked holes for my head and arms in it, and planned to run with the first few miles of the race. 

I arrived at the race an hour before the 10:00am start and stayed warm at Race Expo inside the Hyannis Resort & Conference Center, which was right next to the starting line. I met the great Bill Rodgers, while wearing my garbage bag, and he gave me some great advice: "keep it steady and stay warm". He seemed to get a kick out of the bag.

3 miles into the race, the rain and wind weren't letting up, so I kept the bag on. I also kept on some cheap cloth gloves I bought at the expo I counted at least 2 dozen others with bags on, so I felt a sense of camaraderie with them. 14 miles into the race it started raining a little harder and the wind was blowing much harder, so I decided at that point I wanted to wear the bag for the rest of the race just for the fun of wearing a bag for an entire marathon. I was also happy being dry and warm underneath it. I had to wring the water out the gloves at this point. 

Up until the 23 mile mark, I was having a decent run considering the conditions, but then I felt a throbbing pain in my right knee joint. It got to the point that I had to walk the last 2 miles. It has since cleared up and not lingered. I hope it was because of the cold and the rain, and not something more serious. Several years ago before I got into running, I tore my right ACL (and got a patella tendon repair) and I haven't had any trouble with it. I've been lucky.I also had to take the insert out of my right shoe because it kept bunching up and making walking uncomfortable.

I was happy to finish the race. It wasn't pretty, but it's finish nonetheless—with the bag still on on my shoe insert in hand.

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My wife picked me up after the race. It was still so windy, that our big golf umbrella broke into pieces when it caught the wind.

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I love the finisher medals they give at this race.

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Think about putting this race on your calendar for next year! http://hyannismarathon.com

Monthly marathon race report: Icebreaker International Marathon

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I ran my 1st monthly marathon of 2018 on January 28 - the Icebreaker International Marathon & Half Marathon in East Meadow, NY on Long Island. This was a new marathon for me. In fact, 9 of the 12 marathons I’m running this year are new to me. There are so many marathons every weekend (and some weekdays!) and they all offer a different experience. Notably, I don’t have any indoor or trail marathons on my list this year. I ran two of each of those last year. 

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This race was a short 40 min drive for me from Manhattan, and inside Eisenhower Park. There were about 100 runners, most of them were running the half, and about 40 us were running the full.

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The half was 4 loops of the park and the full was 8 loops. 

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One interesting tidbit about this race - it was selected by Marathon Adventures to be the North American venue for its “Triple 7 Quest,” involving seven marathons or 7 halfs on 7 continents in seven days. The course was well-marked, staffed with plenty of volunteers, and they and a lot of race food/drinks as well as a lot of post-race food.

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There was 1 race food/drink tent set up near the end of the loop. They had the usual Gatorade, water, and also Pepsi. They had bananas, pretzels, orange slices, and my favorite during this race-peanut butter and banana sandwiches cut into quarters.

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I ran a pretty good race. We got fairly lucky with the weather, which was hovering around 48 degrees with some light rain during the first hour. I spent all of January cross-training, lifting, and doing a lot of intervals. I think that helped me quite a bit on this race. I tried to take it easy because I had a 24 hour bike race (the Sebring 24 RAAM qualifier) in Florida 2 weeks after this race, where I did 410 miles, won my age group, and qualified for the 3,000 Race Across America bicycle race1

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Overall, I recommend this race if you live nearby in NYC or Long Island and really want to run a marathon in January. 

Oh and the finisher medal are really fun. Try this race out next year! 

My full 2018 schedule:

  • Jan 28 Icebreaker (NY)
  • Feb 25 Hyannis (MA)
  • Mar 24 Savin Rock (CT)
  • Apr 14 Garden Spot Village (PA)
  • May 6 Queens (NYC)
  • Jun 30 NE Series (NY)
  • Jul 8 Mad (VT)
  • Aug 5 Drake Well (PA)
  • Sept 29 Hamptons (NY)
  • Oct 20 Brooklyn
  • Nov 4 #TCSNYCMarathon
  • Dec 9 Roxbury (CT)

Check out these great stories from Culture Trip

I was recently honored to be featured in 2 stories by Michael LoRé of Culture Trip. 

The first story is about a profile piece and includes a fun video of our interview. 

 

And the other piece Competitive eating success stems from innovation, intelligence and technique is a chat about how competitive eating has evolved over the years and what the playing field is like these days.

Race report: Tour de Donut Austin 2017

A couple of weeks ago on Nov 12, 2017, for the 2nd year in a row I won the Tour de Donut of Austin bicycle race, a 24.8 mile ride w/3 donut stops where competitors eat donuts for time credits. 

In this race, each donut eaten gives you 3 minutes credit at the first stop, 6 min at the 2nd stop, and 7 min at the 3rd stop. I ate 37, for a 'donut adjusted time' of -1 hour and 45 minutes. Both new course records. 

Here's a video of the my race from last year. 

Monthly marathon report: NYC marathon

Just a couple of weeks ago, I ran my 7th NYC marathon. This race holds a very special place for my wife and me. NYC Marathon 2010 was the first marathon we both ever ran. To learn a bit more about we ran ran that race, watch this great StoryCorps video about my wife's story—my inspiration for doing all these marathons, triathlons, as well as wacky races and competitions. 

One of my favorite parts of the NYC marathon is actually volunteering at the Expo the day before race—handing out bibs to runners. Speaking off bibs, I had a special bib this year with my name on it!

There was a bit of hype this year with some of the runners and I was lucky and honored to be included in a Runner's World piece and TV promotions for the race.

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And this this fun piece on AM New York

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The race went really well. The temperature was just right and the rain held up. The crowds and bands in every borough were great as always. I ran my fastest NYC marathon yet (4:41) and came in just 2 minutes behind Prince Royce and 3 minutes behind Tiki Barber

Runner's World did this great follow up on their pre-marathon article:

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And there were a few other great articles on the NYC Marathon that I was also honored to be featured in: 

 

The medals were nice, as always.

 

And my wife and I celebrated another successful NYC marathon together. We plan to run this marathon as long as we're able to!

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There is no run quite like the NYC marathon. If you ever have the chance to run it, do it! It is my favorite run and is a special race for my wife and me. And if you every have a chance to hear the stories of any of the other 50,000+ runners that finish it every year, you'll see that it's a special race for them, too.

Monthly marathon race report: Rockaway Marathon

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October's run was the Rockaway Marathon in Far Rockaway, NYC on October 7.

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I ran my 2nd fastest ever. The run was on the boardwalk. The course was 4 loops of 6.55 miles.

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There was also a half marathon race (2 loops). There were about 50 runners total.

It took me about 1.5 hours to take the subway from lower Manhattan to the start (at the end of the A line).

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Each loop began on the boardwalk at 102nd street, headed toward 57th street (where there was a water station, the other water station was at 102nd st), then down to 30th street, where we turns around and headed back up to 102nd street.

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Overall the course was very fast and the course was easy to follow.

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On my last loop, the water stations ran out of water, so I drank out the water fountains.

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The beach scenery was really great. I sometimes forget how NYC has some amazing beaches out there.

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There were also lots of surfers out.

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I took the new super fast NYC ferry back to Manhattan (only 1 hr!) and and was back home in time for a big lunch.

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Consider this marathon if you live close to NYC and you're looking for an easy, scenic beach marathon in October.

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Monthly marathon race report: Chasing the Unicorn marathon

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On September 10th, I ran the Chasing the Unicorn marathon in Washington Crossing, PA.

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I just the day before, I ran the Charles River marathon in Boston, MA. I wasn't planning to do 2 marathons in September (or 1 weekend!), but my October plans were up in the air, so I had to fit in another one in September just in case, to make sure I fulfill my goal of running 12 marathons this year.

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Chasing the Unicorn is a fast course. The race takes place in Washington Crossing Historic Park, and consists of two loops of a path along the Delaware River.

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There were about 150 or so runners.

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It was a nice day, mostly clear with some clouds, and about 65 degrees.

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There were a good amount of aid stations with sports drinks and water.

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On one side of the path there was the Delaware River.

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On the other side, there was typically either farm fields or quiet neighborhoods.

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The path conditions were perfect, I like running on firm dirt paths.

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I liked these walking/bike path bridges that crossed the river.

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Although I was taking it easy since I ran a marathon just the day before, my time was actually faster for the second marathon of the weekend. The finisher medals are bold, colorful and heavy.

Overall, I loved this course and I recommend it if you are in the Northeast and looking for a fast, scenic September race. See http://www.runbucks.com/runbucks-races for more information on the race. 

Monthly marathon race report: Charles River marathon

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On Saturday, September 9, I ran the inaugural Charles River marathon in Boston, MA. What a great race with a partnership between RACE Cancer Foundation and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The race started at 7:00am and there were around 300 runners. 

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The marathon course is a flat 2.62 mile loop on park paths around Boston's scenic Charles River, starting and finishing at the Herter Park in Boston, MA. 

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The course was mostly on walking trails along the Charles river. 

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Occasionally, there were portions of the course on bike paths. There weren’t a lot of bikes out, probably because it was pretty early.

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There were plenty of volunteers manning the 2 aid stations on the course. One aid station was near the start/finish with had water, sport drink, and a variety of food (pretzels, swedish fish, bananas). The other aid station was around the 1.5 mile mark and had water and sport drink. 

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The weather was great, just cool enough. I ran my second fastest marathon ever that day - until I ran my October marathon (Rockaway Marathon in NYC). 

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The finisher medals were really nice. Overall, I enjoyed this run. I recommend it for next year if you’re in the Northeast and are looking for a September marathon that’s super flat, scenic in a great city. Check out the race site for more info:  https://racecancer.org/runfest