I ran the Oz Marathon this morning in Olathe, KS. This was my first time ever to serve as a co-pace group leader at a marathon. We were assigned the 3:50 team and we brought it home. My watch said 3:49:18 when I crossed the finish line. Only about 40 seconds too fast! It really was a blast getting to serve as a pacer. Encouraging others to meet their goals was very fulfilling and pretty exciting. We had a pretty big group in behind us the first 10 miles or so and then they just started to fade (not without prodding and encouragement though) although some actually went on ahead of us, which was great. We helped a woman qualify for Boston for the first time by just a few seconds and coached several first timers into their excellent marathon finish. I actually had to carry a two foot light-weighted stick with a 3:50 banner on top the whole way. It was way easier to do that than I thought it would be.
It was a cold and windy start with temps at like 37 and winds out of the north at least 20mph or more. A couple hours later it did warm up a bit and the wind did back off a bit but it was still really cool for mid-April and a very welcome chance to wear long sleeve shirt and gloves through the whole marathon. And that's after three races in the last month that were so, so hot - even up to 90!
I had run Olathe once before in 2008 and I really loved the course this year so much more than the old course. It really was pretty fun with a mixture of just about everything from suburbia, to residential neighborhoods, to a paved trail for the last half of the race.
My co-pacer was Marla from Topeka, a veteran marathoner and very accomplished runner. We had a really fun time getting acquainted.
Sarah ran the half marathon in Olathe as well. It was called the Wickedly Fast Half Marathon. She finished in 2 hours and 22 minutes. She was really excited to run the entire distance without walking a step and was very pleased with her finish time. She thinks this Kansas weather is crazy, though.