34TH marathon of the year for David Redor in Hurley, Wisconsin! Paavo Nurmi Marathon, a beautiful run on the north woods backroads and lake shore.
Welcome to Hurley, a small town in northern Wisconsin located on the Montreal River, a few miles away from Lake Superior.
After a rather short night as I had a hard time falling asleep, I woke up at 5 o’clock feeling tired. I took three small packets of Immun’Âge® as always before a race, ate my breakfast and got ready. I went to the center of Hurley to catch the shuttle bus to the start area. Once there, I greeted and chatted with a few runners whom I had already met during previous marathons this year.
It took us twenty minutes to reach the start area. A thick fog blanketed the area and the humidity was heavy. The fog was so dense that I had to take shelter so as to not get my clothes wet.
The race started at 7:30. We marathoners started together with the relay marathon runners. There were more than a hundred of us. The fog made it hard to see and we ended up soaked in less than a mile.
I started with a slow pace. I wanted to take it easy that day to save my forces for the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado next week. I passed km 5 in 30 minutes. The course was hilly but nice to run as we ran through woods and on lake shore with no one on the roads. I reached km 10 in 1:03 and km 15 in 1:38 without getting tired. The fog slowly lifted letting us somewhat enjoy the beautiful scenery even though the ceiling remained very low. I passed km 20 in 2:14 and the half marathon in 2:21.
The race was not that easy as there were a few steep hills, but it was manageable. The ambiance was especially cheerful in the small villages we crossed where the townspeople were quite welcoming. I stopped to take a few pictures of this extremely beautiful landscape. Continuing with a slow pace, I reached km 25 in 2:52. At km 28 it started raining. The townspeople had chosen this stop to offer fresh beer that I drank with great pleasure, and I got to km 30 in 3:34.
Despite a rather fickle weather and an impressive humidity level, the course was very rural and very nice to run, but from km 34 on we had to run on highways until the finish with cars facing us and only cones separating us from them. It was for me the less interesting part of the course, and also the most dangerous. I reached km 35 in 4:18. The rain has stopped, but I had to focus on the cars coming right in front of us, and it really made me uncomfortable.
The finish line was not far… I reached km 40 in 5 hours sharp. I saw that the two runners who had passed me a few kilometers ago were now in trouble and I felt that I had the opportunity to get back the places that I had lost before. I decided to speed up. In the last uphill before the finish line, I passed them. They could not do anything as I finished speeding up and crossed the line in 5:19.
I got my medal and my finisher T-shirt, and then got something to eat. I talked for a while with townspeople while drinking a cold beer, but did not linger there too long. I had to leave the same night, driving four hours to Minneapolis in order to take a plane the next morning to Denver at 5 o’clock, as I want to be in Colorado as soon as possible to get accustomed to the altitude.
I will run the Pikes Peak Marathon next week. With this race I will reach the peak of my 2016 challenge! Indeed this race is the world reference for uphill (and downhill) marathons with 15,748 feet of positive and negative elevation change, 800 selected runners and 10 hours cut-off time. It won’t be easy, but I am confidant after my third place for the two marathons I ran in one July week-end in Montana.
Let’s meet next Sunday for a race to the top! Have a nice week!