Marathons: Paul #68, Leah #58 : Casper Marathon 2015
7th June 2015, Casper, Wyoming, USA
Finish Time = 3:54:22
Leah: 3rd Place Female
Wyoming is a tough State to get a sub 4 time in. It has a high elevation, is often hilly, the summers are hot and dry and it is also known for strong, unforgiving wind.
We had run Wyoming in August of 2014 at Run With The Horses and even though Leah won the women’s marathon, our finishing time of 4:19 wasn’t a sub 4. There aren’t many options for Wyoming but Casper is considered one of the least hilly of the choices. It also worked well in our schedule and was only a 4 hour drive from Denver. Not having to fly for a marathon is a huge bonus!
We were able to take a relaxed approach to packing on Saturday morning, we set off just after lunch and we were in Casper by early evening in time to pick up our packets. In the morning we drove to the Ramada Plaza hotel where the shuttle bus was taking runners over to the start area. An FYI to anyone wondering, although the website says the shuttle leaves at 5am, it does so on a loop/continuous basis not just once, and the journey is only about 10 minutes.
Once we got to the start area we had just enough time to use the restrooms and then line up at the start line. One day we’ll get there a bit earlier and actually make the Maniacs group photo and get to talk with some people before the race!
We saw our friends Gary and Cade lined up at the front, Gary was going for his 4th win at the Casper Marathon. There were quite a lot of Maniacs there considering it wasn’t the biggest of marathons, and around 200 people in total. The military guys had been loading up a canon to use for the start and after a countdown and loud blast, we were off. We instantly saw Gary speed off up ahead with no-one else even being able to challenge him for the lead.
The course began at 5,300 ft elevation and provided some fantastic views with the city of Casper in front of a backdrop of mountains. We kept up a good pace at the beginning, over some rolling hills and settled into a rhythm. After 5 miles there were 2 guys that had been running with us at the same pace and struck up some conversation. We traded stories of races and States, one of the guys was going for a new PR that day and so far was definitely on course for it. Later on we came across a fellow 50<4 member who we had met at a previous event. I think we spent 10 minutes trying to work out which one it had been at. He was struggling from the altitude but determined to get his sub 4 in Wyoming. We ended up running in each other’s vicinity for quite a way.
I hadn’t travelled for work the week leading up to the marathon and had the benefit of being a bit more acclimated to the altitude from being in Denver. Leah had been at sea level all week though and had had a tough time of it work-wise. This was translating into a tough marathon for her and a steep hill before the turnaround point had us walking. We also noticed however from the runners coming back from the turnaround that there were only 2 females in front of her, with a few others hot on our heels.
The second half was tough for Leah, the sun was hotter than had been predicted. We had brought small handheld water bottles to run with, which we were glad of. There were a good number of aid stations, but at altitude in the summer we’ve always found it’s better to get able to have small sips of water whenever you want them, rather than waiting for the next aid station.
We caught back up with one of the guys we had been talking to near the beginning of the run, unfortunately he had tripped on one of the wooden bridges and taken a heavy fall, sustaining a bad scrape to his knee. He had been on course to beat his record with ease but now was just looking to be able to finish. A definite reminder that nothing in a race is guaranteed and you never know what can happen.
I dragged Leah through the last 10 miles and we were both relieved to see the finish line and to cross in 3:54, achieving our sub 4 in Wyoming.
Leah had maintained her place and finished as the 3rd female, winning a cap and travel bag.
She also got a mention in MarathonGuide’s news:
Elevation Graph from my running watch:
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