When I saw this event advertised on Facebook, it said all finishers get a Martian head medal, right then and there I knew I had to do this race! The Martian Marathon, or the more politically correct title “The Martian Invasion of Races” offers both a full and half marathon, the Meteor 10K and 5K as well as a 1.2 mile run for the kids.
This was my first Running Fit race so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I heard that if you ever wanted to volunteer for a race that Running Fit is the way to go so I decided to both run and volunteer afterwards. I left at the normal time, planning to arrive an hour before the race start which normally gives me plenty of extra time to do whatever needs to be done. I could tell as I began to get close to Ford Field that this wasn’t going to be the case.
Traffic was pretty snarled… I wasn’t aware that a portion of the race took place on the main road so there was a lane closure that had traffic backed up. There was a special lot for volunteers to park, however, I couldn’t get anywhere near it but fortunately there is plenty of other parking lots in the area. I had planned on paying a parking lot attendant but wound up at a parking meter instead… without any change. Luckily there was a parking app for smartphones so you could pay online but that required downloading and registering …all little things that were eating away at the clock. It was also several blocks away so it was a bit of a walk. I was totally unprepared for the HUGE crowds of people gathered for this race!
I mean this place was PACKED! I had never seen so many spectators for a race before they were everywhere. As I weaved my way through the crowds I found packet pickup easy enough. I was running solo today, the GF was bedridden from some nasty sickness and couldn’t come but we had paid for the entry. So I got both packets so she could at least get a shirt out of the deal. I checked the time… only 15 mins to race start …do I risk going back to the car to drop all this stuff off? I probably could have made it but I didn’t want to take the chance so I stuffed the shirts and her bib in my pocket. I guess she’s running with me after all.
Both the 5 and 10K started at the same time… just check out this crowd:
I have to say they did a VERY good job keeping things organized and on track. Announcements were loud enough and informative. They did a jazzy rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by trumpet which was a nice change from the norm then it was time to start the race….
There was only one small backup right at the starting line but as soon as I cleared that it opened up relatively quickly. Without the GF there to keep me at a steady pace I shot up to an 10 min/m pace which feels right to me however I cant sustain it for very long… and wouldn’t you know it… I started to feel it within the first half mile. No big deal I just run through it right? I began to get paranoid that my shin splints would come back from the Rock CF race just 2 weeks ago… my legs started aching and I decided to pull back a little.
The 5K split off shortly into the race so things thinned out even more. Around Mile 3 my legs stopped hurting as I had finally dropped my pace down to where I should be …plus I slowed to a walk a few times. I ran into a fellow SEMR (Southeast Michigan Runner) member, “Wheezy”, who was easy to spot as it was printed on the back of her shirt. She gave me some words of encouragement and I kept pace with her for a while …but it was faster then I could maintain so after a little while I had to slow down.
Being alone for this race I naturally forgot all the little essentials that make things more bearable: gum, water, sunglasses, less clothing… so I was hot and I was thirsty. I shed my second shirt but my base layer was long sleeved. I somehow managed to shove that shirt in with the other 2 I was already carrying in my pocket. I had to look funny with a huge flipping bulge in my pants lol.
There were all types in costume, both running and cheering like these interesting people I found on the side of the road. At the second, and final water station I had a cup… and actually turned around and went back for another. I was feeling good again… my spirits were lifted and I had a new found burst of energy. I thought to myself “I should take a selfie” …and so I did lol
I finished the race in average time… no PR but it was still good considering. I pulled the GF’s bib out of my pocket and explained the situation to a girl handing out medals… she happily gave me another to bring home. I figured I would make the GF run a virtual 10K and thus technically earning the medal. Win – win right? After all it wasn’t her fault and we did pay for it.
as always you can track my run with Nike + here.
BUT THATS NOT ALL! I also volunteered for the kids run and got all this great swag + a $30 credit for another Running Fit race!
I have never volunteered before… Running Fit was very organized and I found where to go very easily.
We loaded up on Martian gear and were directed to our spots. I went with the sweet glasses and springy alien dealey-boppers on my head:
I was a course marshal and my job was to guard this little patch of cement… and keep any kids from taking off into the parking lot.
The kids race was just as crowded as the others… and I had probably one of the best views of the whole event:
I must say it was pretty fun. I was offering “free speed boosts” to the kids who ran by. I had a blow up alien head thing and I was yelling “punch it for speed” and these kids would hit it and take off at top speed it was awesome!
The only gripe I had were the disrespectful parents out there. The area is CLEARLY marked with flags and cones yet they felt the need to stand right on the course… or cross right in front of kids in the race. It was unbelievable! These poor kids are running and get cut off by some lady pushing a stroller, or have to go around a big family who decided that was a good place to stop to get situated… I mean once their kid was done they literally didn’t give a crap about anyone else in the place.
But kids are used to such things and made the best of it… at the end I helped clean up then headed home… exhausted!