Archive for May 20th, 2011


A few facts about marathons…

The long distance race got it’s name from a story of a Greek soldier named, Pheidippides, who was messenger. Legend has it that he ran the entire distance from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 BC simply to proclaim, “WE WON!”

He then collasped and died!

Needless to say, there is much debate about the accuracy of this account, but it does make a good story.

Another fact…

The marathon was an original Olympic event way back in 1896.

The race distance of 26 miles and 385 yards became standardized in 1921 by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. (The key word being STANDARDIZED!)

The popularity of marathon racing has exploded in the past twenty years and there are currently more than 500 marathons worldwide each year.

Courses vary, but they all have one thing in common, they are all 26.2 miles long.

All except one!

I knew when I left my house last Saturday morning to begin the four and half hour drive to Green Bay, Wisconsin to run in my second Cellcom Green Bay Marathon that this wasn’t going to be a typical spring marathon.

The main reason, it was COLD!

Cold, rain and wind greeted me when I arrived in “Title Town”! I guess you could call it, “Packer weather”! Okay, it wasn’t as cold as the famous “Ice Bowl” title game between the Packers and Cowboys, but I did get a pretty good idea of what it would be like to attend a game at Lambeau Field late in the season!

I checked into my hotel, picked up a friend at the airport and following a search of local discount stores for warmer clothes, we headed to the race expo and pasta dinner at Lambeau Field.

Did I mention it was cold?

One benefit of having the pasta dinner Saturday night in the cold and windy concourses of Lambeau was that everyone ate quickly and got out!

We ate, we looked, we took a picture and we were gone!

Back at my hotel I watched the forecast for the following morning.

It called for a race time temp of 42 degrees okay, I like that. Dry, I really like that! Winds of 25 miles per hour with gusts to 40 from the north, uh oh!

Race morning arrived and for the first time in my memory the weather forecast was spot on!

Cool temps, partly sunny skies and a north wind that made flags look like they were made from cardboard greeted the 8,000 runners for the full and half marathons!

The race proved to be very challenging due to the winds that made miles 15 thru 21 difficult since we were running into a headwind at that point. Proper hydration was a challenge as well. I was taking fluids at every stop, but with the winds, it didn’t seem like it was enough.

I “hit the wall” at mile 21 but, I managed to finish in four hours and twelve minutes.

Everyone agreed that they were blown away by the high winds. But the wind wasn’t the only thing that blew us away!

The following day, runners received an e-mail from race officials that explained that due to an error in the measurement of the course, everyone in both races had ran an extra 800 feet!

An EXTRA 800 feet!

As George Costanza of Seinfeld might say, “I knew it!”

Seems some runners with GPS watches begin to question the accuracy of the course following the race and officials discovered the error. I wasn’t wearing a GPS, but did notice that mile markings on the pavement weren’t lined up with the position of the mile marker flags. Of course, more than a few of those were blown over, so I didn’t think much about it!

So I began to wonder, how did the course measurement get messed up?


Was it measured the day after the Packer’s Super Bowl win and the measurer was fighting a “Title Town” sized hangover?

“Okay, okay, I’ll measure the stupid course just as soon as I have another bottle of Tylenol! GO PACK!”

Or did officials procrastinate just a little and order another round of “Title Town 26.2″ brew (yes, that’s a real beer served in Green Bay) before heading out to measure the course?

“Okay, just one or two more pitchers and we’ve got to get that dang course measured before the sun comes up! BELCH!!”

I kid the good folks of Green Bay, but one thing you notice when you run there, in addition to football, they really seem to enjoy their beer and brats! In fact, included on my race bib were coupons for a brat and a beer following the race!

Not exactly what I crave after I just ran 26.35 miles!

So I kept the weekend’s events in perspective…

The bad news, I ran 800 feet farther than necessary in very windy conditions, but it was a record distance for me.

The good news, my time is now four hours and ELEVEN minutes!

I’ll have to get one those 26.35 stickers.

Maybe they’ll sell them at next year’s Green Bay Marathon!

Here are a few shots from my weekend in “Title Town”…

A raw day at the "Tundra"!

Saturday at the race expo..."Everyone say, GO VIKES!"

Freezing at Lambeau!

Ready to run!

26.35 miles later!