St. Louis Marathon 2014 – Race Report

Marathons: Paul #36, Leah #26, State #21 : St. Louis Marathon 2014
6th April 2014, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Finish Time = 3:55:51

I knew St. Louis was going to be tough. And I don’t mean because we were hitting another of the allegedly most dangerous cities in the US, this time the one in 2nd place. It was partly as it was a hilly course but more than that I’d been getting a pain in my foot since starting the marathons in January and it had just been getting worse with each one. In the hope of fixing it I took a 3 week break from running completely, but unfortunately in those 3 weeks I also did hardly any gym workouts and flew back to the UK for a 4-day stag weekend with a lot of drinking and fast food.

Our view of downtown St. Louis from the hotel

View of downtown St. Louis from the hotel

The famous Gateway Arch

The famous Gateway Arch

We did find this button quite amusing in the elevator / lift in the hotel:


A button dedicated to earthquakes

On the morning of the marathon we had a one and a half mile walk from the hotel to the start area. After that it took us so long to find the bag drop area we ended up running up and down the road to find it and then queue for the toilets. We had definitely covered at least a couple of miles before even starting.


The weather was good, cold and overcast which later broke for some sun to come through. We spoke to World Record holder and club legend Larry Macon as we passed him early on, with his huge grin on his face as always. As we passed him a woman, noticing his Maniacs top, asked him “So how many marathons have you run?”, Larry chuckled and replied “You don’t wanna know”. Leah and I smiled and pushed on ahead, then a few moments later in the distance behind us we heard the woman shout out “OH MY GOD!!!”. Larry has run over 1,300.

Between miles 6 – 8 they had “Holy Hill”, 2 gradual long hills which have a church at the top of the last one. They call it a race within a race, and have timing mats from the start of it to the peak, giving out medals to the fastest people in their age groups within that section. We really went all out during these 2 miles, which wasn’t very sensible, we didn’t have any chance of winning bearing in mind the speeds the leaders were doing, but we couldn’t resist knowing it was a race within a race.

We reached half way in 1:51, so were on course for a sub 4, although I was starting to tire. We started talking with a girl who was running her first marathon and studying medicine at the University in St Louis. She and another guy asked lots of questions about the Maniacs and about our runs, it was great to talk with them and a welcome distraction. By around 18 miles my IT Band on my right leg was killing me. Perhaps my right leg had been over-compensating for the painful left foot. I hadn’t had ITB issues since my very first marathon all those years ago. Luckily (in a way) it had been a problem for Leah in the past and she was carrying her IT strap. We stopped and I fixed it around my leg and we continued on.

The rest of the race was just pain and struggling… for me at least, Leah was dancing around to the music and generally having a good time, and having to wait for me to catch up.

Even at mile 25 with just a mile to go I was still having to fight the mental battle and my mind’s desire and voices telling me to stop. Eventually we saw the finish line up ahead (at the top of a hill, of course) and sprinted on through in 3:55.

So we added Missouri as State number 21 to our completed list, another sub 4 and also totaled up 16 Marathons in 16 States within 12 months, earning us a new level (6 Stars) in Marathon Maniacs.

In the days after St Louis I felt broken. I’ve run marathons where I’ve felt okay the next day and pretty resilient overall. But after this it felt like back when I started doing them. Everything hurt for days, especially my foot and I was exhausted. We still had the London Marathon to run the next weekend!


Very glad to get the sub 4 in Missouri, which can be a tricky one to manage

Elevation Graph from my running watch:


Ignore the sharp spike at around 6 miles, I think that’s an error in the data


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