4 of 12…New River Marathon “Survival of the Fittest”

Well, to those of you that have been worried and anxious, I finally have the time to tell you all about the “Survival of the Fittest Marathon” they call The New River Marathon.

Due to scheduling conflicts this month I decided to try something that I never thought that I would try, much less do… run back to back weekend marathons. So, my plan was to take it easy and enjoy both marathons while focusing on the long term goal of 12 in 12. After theNashvillemarathon of 3:23, I thought that I would slow down and really have a nice run in the town ofTodd N.C.I soon found out that that would be impossible!

The weather was great, although a little chilly to start. The scenery was amazing from start to finish. We ran most of the marathon right next to theNew River, passing many fishermen enjoying a sport that by the end of the day I wished I would have chosen.

Just about 200 of us decided to run instead of fish, and I expect that most would have rather skipped both if they had seen the mountains that lay ahead of us. Yes, I said mountains. I know that (they) called them hills in the description of the race, but calling these hills is like calling theMississippia creek! Our first challenge came right out of the gate at mile 2. Nothing like a good one mile warm up before running 308 feet up for one full mile! The winding road kept bringing more hill at every turn. Did I say that was mile 2!  After a difficult descent we leveled off to some beautiful country that I was able to enjoy. Then came an easier hill at mile 5, only climbing 122 feet in 7/10 of a mile. Oh yeah, nice and easy! We had a nice run until around mile 13 when we were asked to take another challenge that was around 187 feet up. Don’t worry, it gets better!! We all realized that those hills were just a way to warm us up for what lie ahead… mile 16! I had heard people talking about the “hill” on mile 16, but I had no idea. As I approached the mile marker feeling pretty good for just running a marathon 7 days before, I saw the sharp turn to the right. This is where the fireman positioned on that marker decided to “support me” by saying “this is where you find out if you’re a man or not”!  I just ran 4 killer hills and 16 miles, and I’m still not a MAN?!?! Well…up I went. Two 174ft climbs on both mile 16 and 17 at a sometimes 16.1 % grade!!  I think my “stride” was reduced to around 2 inches. This was really going to hurt. Mile 16 went up, crested and eased into a tease of a downhill and went right into mile seventeen’s climb. That’s when the mountain went in for the kill…the descent at just as steep of a grade with no leveling rest. Needless to say my quads were barkin’!!

The last 3-4 miles was flat and beautiful, but our bodies were so beaten up that there was little enjoyment in those flat miles. Reduced to a shuffle by the last two miles it wouldn’t have mattered if a bear was chasing me, I could move no faster. Luckily no one else could either, so it didn’t make me feel too bad. Finally the end was upon me and I crossed the line in 3:36 with a 25 place finish! A better time than I thought I would do, and the satisfaction of finishing one of the hardest races I, and many others, have ever run!!

I would defiantly run this amazing race again. I loved the challenge the hills brought, and it was the prettiest course that I have run. I would expect nothing less from the organizer Ken who is responsible for The Blue Ridge Relay. Great job Ken! And for me, it’s off to the month of June and back toElerbieN.C.for a night marathon!!! WOW!! Happy running all.


About getfitcarolinas

Hello, I'm Tim Junkins, a certified personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), as well as a wellness coach and nutritionist. I am an avid runner, and have completed numerous marathons – qualifying for the Boston Marathon over four times. I am currently attempting to run 12 marathons in 12 months! Check this blog for updates on my progress and for information on the races I'm running. My current personal best finishing time is 3:09 - from the Thunder Road Marathon in December of 2010.
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