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"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back."
- Steve Prefontaine

RACE REPORT: Durango Marathon 10/08/06
DateRaceDistancePaceTotal TimeWeather
10/08/06 Durango Marathon
(Durango, CO)
Photo Album
26.2 mi 11:03/mi 04:49:29 40°F - 60°F, overcast
Wind ?

This was my first marathon and I picked it because I love the outdoors. Durango, Colorado is absolutely stunning! I recently purchased an ultra compact camera that would attach to my waist pack so I could take photos during the run.

Since I normally run here in Dallas (about 500 feet above sea level), I was wondering how the altitude (6800+ above sea level) would affect me in Colorado. It was really only a problem the first night (Friday) that we drove up there. I started getting severe stomach cramps while in the car when the altitude got to around 5000 feet. At first I thought I had eaten something that disagreed with me, but my husband explained that it was the altitude. Apparently, at higher altitudes there is less pressure. Consequently, things at sea level (e.g. the gases/fluids in your body) will start expanding at higher altitudes because there is less pressure on them. So, the stomach cramps were caused by my stomach contents expanding due to less pressure. This also explained why my sunscreen and lotion kept coming out of their tubes when I first opened them at the higher altitude. Anyway, that first night I had a headache, stomach cramps, and my eyes were so bloodshot it looked like I had been on a drinking binge. But by the next morning (Saturday), everything was fine. When we had flown into Colorado to go skiing one year, I wasn't affected by the altitude, so I'm not sure what the difference was there.

Saturday I picked up my race packet at the Durango Community Recreation Center. The packet contained a nice technical running shirt, the timing chip, bib, and lots of free samples. There were lots of vendors there too, so of course I had to spend money. I purchased some short sleeve technical shirts, runnings caps, running socks, and an interesting tube of pain relief ointment (I figured I was going to need this), and an enlarged laminated course map.

Our hotel was right on the Animas river and the views were beautiful. Lots of kayakers and river rafts were taking advantage of the fast moving river which was swollen from recent rains. The hotel accepted pets and there were many people there with their dogs. It is truly an animal friendly town.

Anyway, back to the race. The morning of the race (Sunday), I got up early and went to the bus pickup point at 6AM. The buses were going to take us to the starting point. The bus pickup point was right across the street from our hotel, so I decided to walk. As I rounded the corner of the hotel, I startled 6 deer (four adults and two babies) which were feeding on the hotel's front lawn. By the time I pulled my camera out of my pouch, they ran off. When I arrived at the parking lot for the bus pickup, the race director was there and said that they had to have a last minute course change due to safety equipment not arriving. He said to meet back there at 7:30 AM. I walked back to the hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of the deer, but they were already gone.

At 7:30, I returned to the pickup point and the race director let everyone know about the changes via loudspeaker. Since the safety equipment hadn't arrived, we would not be running the original scenic USATF certified route along Interstate 550, but would instead be running up and down the Animas riverwalk. This didn't seem so bad until I found out that in order to do 26.2 miles, the 5 mile riverwalk would have to be repeated 5 times plus another 1.2 miles.

It was a beautiful view, but it would have been even better on the original course. In addition,this new route was not blocked off, so while running, we had to dodge bicyclists, walkers, sightseers, dogs, and kayakers. I didn't mind so much because I'm running Vegas in December, so I looked at this like a training run.

But the runners that were there to try to qualify for Boston were not too happy. Since the route change was last minute, the race officials did not have time to get the new route USA Track and Field certified. Consequently, the race couldn't be used as a Boston qualifier. Another last minute change was that the walkers, half marathoners, and marathoners would be starting at the same time and using the same course.

However, the race officials and volunteers had stayed up all night just to make sure the race would happen at all. And the volunteers and aid stations were wonderful. I applaud all of them for their enthusiasm and commitment to making sure the race happened.

I have a friend that's a race director and it is not an easy job. I would not want to take on that responsibility. I know that things happen beyond our control. I've have vendors promise me things would arrive by a certain time (in order to meet a firm deadline), and the computer hardware/software never arrived. When you're depending on other people/factors, there is always the possibiliy that something will go wrong.

That's why I think it's great that the officials had a backup plan so that the race could still occur. I had driven up to Durango with my family from Texas and I would have been really disappointed if I found out after getting there that there would not be a race.

Unfortunately, this race was cancelled after 2006 due to no one wantiing to take over the helm as race director. The race has not occurred since. Here is a link to more information on the last time the race was held.

Hopefully, in a future year they will bring the marathon and original course back. We drove along the original course on the way to Durango and the views were spectacular!