Your Silly Road Race 8:18.11

August 18th, 2011 in Articles by 0 Comments

The Monster Marathon and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday September 4, and only the ambitious and the brave should face the challenge of the hardest marathon course in the East. Those up for the task will climb a total of 5,560 feet, through trails including the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Finger Lakes Trail at the “Gatherings” near Virgil, NY.

Runners should not come into this race unprepared, or slacking in their training. The Monster Marathon is a race for intense runners who like to push their bodies to the limit. Runners must sign a pre-race waiver recognizing they understand the race may be dangerous, and they are pre-warned regarding heat exhaustion, sprained ankles, yellow jacket stings, animal bites, lacerations, or encounters with forest monsters.

So why should you run this silly road race? One of the reasons it is called the “Monster Marathon” is because of the forest monster.

“There is usually a scary camouflage-dressed ‘forest monster’ with huge white claws that scares and entertains the runners,” said ‘Java’ Joe Dabes, the creator and founder of the Monster Marathon, “although, the forest monster was on strike for higher pay for several years.”

As the tall tale goes, Indian brave “Jost Du-It” was chased by a forest monster out and back along the present-day race course. Jost Du-It finished the 26.2 miles in 3:26:59 and then collapsed. He was never seen again, and was presumed to be eaten by the forest monster.

The story was created to give incentive to the runners to break the course record. The closest time has been Gary Burdick, who recorded a time of 3:27:00

It is a slow race, and the race information recommends that those running the marathon must be trained for an ultra-marathon effort and should add one to two hours to their regular marathon time. Runners will also be cut off and not allowed to continue the race if they do not complete the first out-and-back before 11a.m. Staggered starts begin at 6:30 a.m.

According to race director Karen Grover, the race brings in about 100-120 runners each year. The course is out and back. Half marathoners will run the course once, and those running the marathon will run it twice. “I have only cut a few off at the half in the three years I have been directing, a few DNF’s but not many,” said Grover.

Grover suggested different ways for interested participants to become ready for the race. “Run on trails, and incorporate hill training in your schedules to prepare your quads for both the up and down hills in the race,” she said.

Entry fee is $20 for the half and $25 for the full marathon, but after August 27, race fees are bumped up $10. Students 18 and younger pay only half of the race fee.

Participants are urged to carry their own drinks, but there will be aid stations every three to four miles. Half-marathoners will pass three aid stations, and marathoners will pass through seven aid stations. Each station will offer drinks and food, including water, Gatorade, soda, cookies, M&M’s, Pringles, bananas and more.

Another reason for the “Monster Marathon” name is the monster hill that is about one mile into the race that is about a 1,000 foot climb. “Marathoners must do this hill twice,” said Dabes.

“The most difficult part of the race depends on the person,” said Gover. “I have a tough time on the downhill portion on the return (about 9 miles) while others might dislike that same hill at the beginning (about 2-3 miles from start since it’s an out and back course).”

Although the race is very difficult, there are some easy parts to make up for the grueling climbs the runners will put their bodies through.

“I feel the easiest part of the race is a slight downhill section through green ferns, which I particularly like,” Gover said.

The race is a staggered start, and runners start at different times depending on their age, sex, and race distance. “Age/sex handicaps with staggered start times are part of the fun of the race,” said Dabes.

“The start is based on a handicap time using age and gender, so some runners get a head start to even up the field,” said Grover.  “Because it’s also an out and back, they will see all of their competitors.”

The Monster Marathon is a non-profit event and the race fees go toward trail maintenance, food for the runners,

and crafted awards. It is sponsored by the Finger Lakes Running Club. Runners can look forward to small hand crafted awards that Grover makes herself. “We do have hats for sale this year, and occasionally we order t-shirts,” she added. Runners will receive coffee and breakfast foods before the race, and lunch that will be served at the finish. “There is good food for all,” said Grover.

No awards are given to top finishers. “Just bragging rights,” said Grover. Finishing the race is an award enough, especially regarding how difficult the course is. This is an intimidating race that runners should look into if they like to fight off monsters: whether the monster is a 1,000 foot hill, or a fictitious forest monster.

Paige McAtee, the Faster Than Forty “Your Silly Road Race” columnist,  is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University. She competes in cross country and distance events. Have a suggestion for the “Your Silly Road Race” column? Drop us a note here.

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Author: FasterThanForty

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