Marathon a rewarding experience

 

By Dana Stetson

 

Tallahassee has the best marathon in the world (in my opinion). In the last five years this race has moved back into town and eventually to its northeast location. When Peg and Gary Griffin took over as race directors, it gained needed stability and is now a premier race.

January 20th will be the 28th running of the event. The course for both the half and full marathon are fairly challenging with many hills and curves. One fact to remember is that on any out and back course, every uphill equals an equivalent downhill so that the course can still be run fast.

If you are not up to running in either of these two races, you can still participate. There is a two mile fun run set to start at 8:30, a half hour after the huddled masses of the other two events get started. Come watch the fear on the faces of these runners. The two milers get all the rights and privileges of the other races, including a drawing for four sport watches from Lords & Barons and (this is the best part), the shirts for the two mile run are identical in all ways to both the marathoners and half-marathoners.

The trick is to get this shirt and sit on it for about six months. After that period of time, no one will be able to remember what race you did and you can join the rarified ranks of the marathoner. If you feel the two miler is not something that you want to do, there are other options available. Volunteers are absolutely necessary for this race to work, it usually has the highest number of volunteers needed for any running event in the area. The goal is to have every intersection staffed. The spectacles that a volunteer views are unbelievable. You will see fear, cowardice, and dignity in quantities that you have probably never seen. No one who pays attention goes home untouched, or at least grossed out by, this race. Volunteers need not have experience or apprehension over their assumed duties. All who volunteer seem to rise to the occasion. Their duty is appreciated by the runners and is rewarded once again by an identical shirt as is given to the runners.

For those who can’t run or don’t want to volunteer, there is the final option of simply coming out to watch and support our athletes. The course winds through Killearn after a stretch along Hermitage Blvd. and Lonnbladh Road. A detailed course description is available at http://www.gulfwinds.org/marathon/index.htm.