Race Date: March 19, 2016
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Weather: Pleasant (about 45 at race start – warmed up to 65 later in the day)
Course: Rolling hills; 1/2 trail, 1/2 pavement
Run Again: Probably not
It sounded like a good idea at the time. A good friend of mine recently moved to Atlanta, so it was a given that we would be running the Atlanta marathon in the spring. But then somehow we got the bright idea to also run this marathon the day before the Atlanta marathon as the two are only located about 2 hours away from one another. Yes, drinks were involved. And I should say upfront that this is probably a great idea for someone who plans to run these two races and trains accordingly.
I did not do this. And I paid the price.
The Raccoon Mountain marathon is not your average road race. It is a fun, quirky event put on by equally fun and quirky runners. Logistically, Chattanooga is a great town with lots of awesome and affordable food and hotel options. The race expo was at held at a local arts schools with a pasta dinner put on by a local youth club.
The race course was gorgeous, set atop Raccoon Mountain with lots of scenery galore and plenty of time on some non-technical trails. This was yet another aspect of the race that I wasn’t really ready for. While the trail running did not require special shoes or technique, it did slow me down. That’s just the nature of jumping over roots and hopping on rocks. It makes for an interesting course, but it also slowed me way down.
Oh and you may have noticed something from the moniker of this race that apparently went right over my head. It is the Raccoon MOUNTAIN marathon. And yes, it goes up and down (and up and down) the side of a freaking mountain.
So on day 1 of my back-to-back marathon running adventure, I was running on trails and hills that I had not properly trained for. I did catch some serious zen about halfway thru while I was running through the forest. And that was awesome. But overall, my lack of preparation made this a less than exceptional race for me.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of preparing well for this race. Because it truly is a phenomenal race in a cool town put together by a team of runners who are seriously dedicated to helping you have an awesome day. So do you homework and put in some time during your training on some hills and some trails.
You will be a much happier camper on race day than I was!