Four days before the race, the Mississippi Blues Marathon organization had sent an official mail warning runners about a thunderstorm and a possible cancellation of the race!
On that Saturday morning, the temperature rose to 53 degrees, but unfortunately, it was raining! This did not make the run easy! The organization’s weather report had gotten David quite worried. The cancellation of his second marathon would seriously compromise his challenge – 52 marathons within a year! However, the marathon took place, to his greatest satisfaction, and ours. Of course!
At 7 am David started to run the 26 miles from the Mississippi Museum of Art with his usual good mood and all his potential. But for more thrill on this event, let David tell us about his second marathon!
“A tough day in the life of a marathon runner” by David Redor
I wake up at 4:50 am one hour before my alarm clock goes off. Once more I’m anxious about missing the start. And above all, I do not trust blindly the electronic devices that are supposed to wake me up. I have slept five hours but I am not tired. I get up and look through the window: bad news! It is raining cats and dogs! I rush to the net to check the forecast; the rain is supposed to stop at 7 am and start again at 10:30 am.
I choose my outfit and shoes with great care. It is not cold, so I only take a running shirt and a windbreaker. I decide to take the same shoes as the ones I wore for the first marathon. I have breakfast and take my ImmunÂge® supplement as I do everyday. I check every five minutes whether the rain has stopped, but no, it continues.
I get dressed thinking how pleasant it will be to walk 20 minutes under the pouring rain to get to the starting line!
In the hotel lobby, I meet by chance two couples from Georgia who came to run the marathon. I ask them if they would mind taking me along and they are happy to do so. They save my life as starting a marathon completely soaked is not tiptop.
On our way, we talk. They ask which marathons I intend to run this year. I tell them about my project and they use a word that I keep hearing since I arrived in the US: “AWESOME”! We get along well. They ask me for my website in order to follow my challenge and share it with others.
Near the starting line, we wish each other good luck and then separate. It’s 6:45 am and as forecast, the rain stops. I warm up a bit and it’s time to line up at the start.
7 am. The race starts. It does not rain anymore. (The US weather service is really precise; the French weather service could learn something!)
The course is flat for about two miles but afterwards features many never-ending leg-breaking ups and downs. It will be like this all along, and in addition there will be never-ending straight lines. It’s not easy but I’m in good spirits and very motivated. I manage difficulties by keeping a steady pace of ten minutes per mile.
From mile 9 on, I walk all the steep hills fast as I don’t want to tire my body anymore than necessary. My average pace goes down and I reach the first half of the marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes. From now on, I know part of the big job is already done and I have a nice cushion to finish with ease.
At mile 14, a runner passes me shouting: “Hey Crazy Dave, I saw you last Sunday in Herb Parsons”. Yes, this guy was in Memphis, where I ran my first 2016 marathon.
At mile 17, I hear French spoken behind me: there are three women runners from Cahors representing the association “Hôpital sourire” which supports sick children. We stop, take a few pictures and a selfie before starting again while chatting. They too want to get my site to follow my challenge and share it with others in our good old France. They go ahead. I’ll eventually catch up with them at the end of the event.
The marathon continues with as many ups, downs and straight lines as before. The landscape crosses fancy residential areas and is beautiful, but the course prevents speed. Throughout the world, marathons are usually designed to be run as fast as possible. It is not true for that one! In any case, as the famous French singer Alain Souchon would say: “Don’t reflect nor think, just move forward.” So let’s go
At mile 19, the rain is back, and it is now pouring. Our fate is sealed. We’ll finish the last seven miles in a downpour, and as my dear cousin – who is a real optimist – would say: “That’s the real fun part!.” The rain gets so bad that I can no longer see the runners some 50 yards ahead of me. Someone at a pit stop offers me a nice beer that I drink with great pleasure and it gives me a little boost!
Mile 23. The storm is rumbling above us, and suddenly a horrible thought comes to my mind: What if they were to stop the marathon? I have seen it done before, as runners’ safety is no joke here. The huge storm is constantly rumbling, and is drenching us. My shoes weigh 100 pounds (each). I’d like to pick up the speed to finish as fast of possible, but it feels as if I am pulling a trailer! I’m doing my best when all of a sudden the rain stops, the sun starts shining and the sky turns blue again. I do speed up a bit for the two last miles and I finish in 5 hours 13 minutes 13 seconds. This time qualifies me to run the Pikes Peak marathon on August 21.
To summarize, this marathon was not a pleasant run because it was too hard on the legs. To tell the truth, the course frustrated me much more than the rain. The organization of the marathon was great, but in my mind, the kindness of the people and organizers will not make up for how I suffered.
One of the French women runners was running her first marathon. I told her that after such a difficult marathon run in such difficult conditions, she should not be intimidated by any other marathon!
In short, I managed the long run as always, with no injury and my feet remain pain free. I’ll be heading to the Bahamas next week where I hope to find the sun again. I think that the Nassau marathon should be less of a problem.
I would like to especially thank Pierre and Florent. They know why for sure.