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#20 – Surfside Beach Marathon

marathonman Marathon Man - Surfside Beach Marathon

23 February 2013 – 5 hrs 4 min

Following the long drive from Austin, Texas on Friday afternoon it was an early start on Saturday morning to find the start line in Surfside for my very first beach marathon adventure at the Surfside Marathon.

The runners gathered at the Stahlman Park in Surfside Beach to register and prepare indoors prior to heading out into the crisp morning air and make our way down to the beach front for the race start. It was good to meet up with some Marathon Maniacs again and sight the large inflatable black arch that had been set up to mark the Start and Finish line on the beach.

My initial thought was that the sand was well compacted and should be fine to run along over the 42km course. It was very nice of the Race Director Daryl Beatty to make a special mention of me at the start line to the fellow marathon runners prior to the official start seconds later.

marathonman Marathon Man - Surfside Beach MarathonIn the early stages I met up with Lydia who was running her first marathon, having always wanted to do it and with the ambition to run more following this event. She selected the Surfside Marathon for her first event simply due to the fact that she has a real love for the beach and had never run on the beach before. She thought why not – “Go Big or Go Home”! Now this sure is a motto that I can relate to and it was very impressive to see Lydia storm ahead and later be a clear leader for the girls to win the marathon on her very first outing over the distance.

I was to later to meet up with another first time marathoner in Holly who had taken up running two years ago when her husband sustained a knee injury. He encouraged her when she couldn’t even run around the block, and now she was understandably pumped to be actually running her first marathon. Like many people, the journey for Holly started by a goal to lose weight by eating healthy and taking up running, before slowly building it up to run her very first marathon.

marathonman Marathon Man - Surfside Beach MarathonThe majority of the course was hard compact sand with the tide sweeping in sometimes testing just how close you pushed it to the shore line. The start of the marathon course took us around 2 miles out before returning past the start / finish line where the Half Marathon starters were gathering for the start an hour after us. It was then around a further 11 miles out and this was again an opportunity to meet up with other runners along the course.

I was to next meet up with Sam Pramod who lived locally and ran a few marathons a year. Now this guy looked like a marathon runner and was very fit and seemed experienced although he was carrying an injury into the event. It was to develop over the journey that Sam was actually 55 years old although he looked about 20 years younger and had met his wife in his early 40’s while training at the gym. Sam had a real passion for kick boxing and had injured his knee in training. The story he shared of meeting his wife was priceless as it turned out his wife was impressed by his physique while working as an Aerobics Instructor at the Gym and they became friends over a period of time. Then there was the time where they both went out one night to an event where Girls went along with Guy friends and Guys invited Girls that were friends and well when it turned out that they both spent the night talking to each other it was pretty clear that there was something more than friendship there. A few years later and they were walking down the aisle and soon starting a family. This was one quality guy placing family first after previously supporting his sister’s four kids through school. There was no doubt that this UPS driver certainly did deliver both in and out of work hours.

marathonman Marathon Man - Surfside Beach MarathonI later had the chance to share the sand with Andrew Rennie who was originally from Scotland and New Foundland although most recently had spent many years living in Nigeria working in the oil industry. It was only in the last six months that Andrew had moved to Texas with his wife a Nigerian native and two small kids. Now Andrew’s story was that he had visited a Whole Foods store and decided that it was time to lose weight. He started a weight loss campaign that included running, and has dropped a remarkable 40 pounds in a relatively short period.

Later I met up with Richard Carroll a Marathon Maniac who was a devoted Father to his daughter and loved to run marathons when and where possible. It was proving a little challenging to chat in too much detail to Richard over the closing stages although he sure was entertaining as we approached the home stretch.

marathonman Marathon Man - Surfside Beach MarathonThis was a great experience and one that proved to be a very good escape from the standard marathon … The beach surrounding with the waves crashing on the shore and the sound of the ocean in my ears was magic and the opportunity to meet up with some amazing people along the journey from the first time runners to the experienced long term runner was a real highlight. It is so much more than a journey over the 42km/26mile distance as it is about sharing the moment with others and learning of their stories that makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

The final stages of the marathon proved to be the time to hit the ‘Go” button and with the final 3 miles ahead I plugged in to the tunes racing home to finish just outside 5 hours. All together this had been a really enjoyable experience and one that I can thoroughly recommend to include on the US Marathon calendar. It was now time to freshen up and head towards New Orleans for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon early the following morning …

SurfsideBeach Marathon Gallery

2013 Statistics:

Marathons Run – 20
Total Distance Run – 843.9 km / 524.0 miles
US States Completed – AZ, CA, FL, NV, TX, WA
Total Drive Distance – 2,348 km / 1,459 miles
Total Flight Distance – 17,168 km / 10,669 miles

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