On Saturday, Sept. 20, I participated in the 2014 Bismarck Marathon corporate cup relay race. I have never done a running event like this so I was excited to see how things worked. There were 5 legs of the relay from 4.2 miles to 6.6 miles each.
After my leg of the relay. Happy to be done and proud of my medal!
Our group of 5 employees agreed to meet at 6:20am at the Kirkwood Mall parking lot as we were coming from all over – Hazen, Center, Washburn and the Bismarck-Mandan area. The race was set to start at 7:30am. We went to Cottonwood Park where the race began and ended and dropped off our first runner. It was still dark but the parking and traffic was well organized. We weren’t allowed to stick around for the start so we traveled to the first exchange station. We easily arrived at the first exchange station which was over by The Pier restaurant / Riverwood Golf Course area. This was about 4 miles into the race. It was really fun to spectate here as it was getting light and warming up a bit. We were able to see all the runners doing the relay, full and half races. I knew my girlfriend was running the half and I was lucky enough to spot her and wave hello! Shortly after she whizzed by our teammate came in looking strong and handed over to our #2 runner. Our #2 had a 6 mile leg to complete and once he got going we headed over to the next exchange station.
This is where I have to say I really realized I love this race. First off, the company where I work was generous enough to sponsor our team to race. So no entry fee, but we still got the entry goodies. I loved the bag and tech long sleeve t-shirt we were provided. I also realized I loved having my teammates drive me around, know where we were going and getting us there safely. I don’t really enjoy driving and I don’t know my way around Bismarck-Mandan Parks all that well, so this was perfect. I could sit back and not stress about any of those small details. Our driver took us to Mandan next where we waited at the exchange located by Dacotah Centennial Park. Our runner came in looking strong and our #3 took off speed walking as he was recovering from an injury. He had to cover 4.2 miles. Our next exchange (where I would start running!) was in Mandan by the Raging Rivers Waterpark.
Above is the participation shirt we received. I love it!
My #4 leg was 6.6 miles and I was happy the sun was coming out. I knew I would get warmer as I ran, but I was freezing cold waiting. I’m not used to waiting around to run, so I was getting a little anxious. We saw our speed walker approaching from the distance and he gave me a high five and I was off. I really don’t know much about running or how to pace myself. I am quite the newbie. I just trucked along at what felt good to me. I tried to focus on the person immediately in front of me and catch up to him/her and then pass him/her. I ran over the Memorial Bridge, down through Sertoma Park along the river (River Road) and back. I don’t really know all the names of the parks but it was a beautiful run to see all the fall leaves and the weather was warming up. My route was 6.6 miles. I ran with my phone in my hand and these were my final stats:
6.65 miles in 56 minutes and 34 seconds. I was very happy with that pace. It is faster than I usually run on my own and I think I can attribute that to the weather, atmosphere of the race and trying to catch up to other runners I really pushed more than I normally would have.
I snapped this while running. What a gorgeous trail!
Exchange #4 was our final exchange and it took place in the Kiwanis Park. I saw my team waiting for me as I came up the path. I gave Josh knuckles and he took off for the final 5.2 miles. We met him back at Cottonwood Park for the finish. We crossed the finish line together and got our photo taken. I don’t want to publish it here without their permission but we were all standing and in good spirits!
Afterwards, we went downtown to JL Beers to have a few brews and a burger to celebrate. I continued on to Minot to celebrate a friends’ wedding which was great as I stayed on my feet dancing.
Don’t worry – in addition to those beers I had a lot of water as well. I loved the Bismarck Marathon. The course was well marked with a lot of water stations and people cheering. I liked running on the paths and not worrying about any traffic. The weather was great! I like that it isn’t as big as Fargo as that many people can be intimidating. Our team thought we might give this a try again in 2015. We will see! Thanks to those that organized the Bismarck Marathon!