By Alicia Green Gennaro, FHR Monday Night Run Leader and Marathon Enthusiast
Early morning last Saturday Pete, Nissa, Thom, and I piled into our cars and drove the 90 minutes up to New Market, NH. Pete and I have been tossing around the idea of signing up for the race and decided to go out to the course a take a look around.
The LOCO Marathon is a small (capped at aprox. 400 runners) local race. It was started 3 years ago, and typically takes place a week or so after Baystate. This is ideal for those of us running the BAA Half who want to fit in another fall race. Also, it's super low key, and full of the friendliest New England runners!
The course starts at the Rockingham Ballroom, and consists of 1 or 2 13.1 mile loops (for the half and full, respectively). The course is mostly flat, with a few rolling hills and finishes on 3 miles of rail trail.
After spraying ourselves down with bug spray, we parked next to the Ballroom and ventured out together, water bottles in hand. Although it was a good 5 degrees cooler than in Boston temperatures were still in the mid-80s at 8:00, and we were thankful for the shade on the sides of the road afforded by the tree lined streets.
The first 3 miles were straight on Ash Swamp Road, and allowed us to ease into the run and find a rhythm. We then took a few easy turns through New Hampshire neighborhoods, appreciating the shade, farms, and spread out houses we passed. Pete had brilliantly printed out the distances and turns and kept them in plastic in his water bottle for easy access, and we navigated our way through the first 10 miles without problem (Thom did not fare so well...but that's another post!).
The last 3 miles of the loop are the race's trademark, and are just lovely to run. We cut from the roads onto the rail trail, a dry, runnable, packed dirt and gravel trail. The first mile and a half of the trail is slightly uphill, but I didn't even notice- the trees and trail and excellent conversation were more than enough to distract me from the fact that this was the furthest I'd run in months. The last mile and a half of the loop are slightly downhill. We ‘decided’ to run it in hard and see if we felt the trail slow us down at all; based on Pete's last mile, any fears about the rail trail slowing us down were allayed.
While I still haven't officially registered for the race, after our preview run it's highly likely I will. This course is flat, fast, and a great option for a fall race!
The Loco Marathon is Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 8am. According to the race website 32% of the field earns a Boston Qualifying time. Plus, there is a feast at the end with Smuttynose Beer :)