At the end of last year, it was announced that the premier race in Fort Wayne, Fort4Fitness, was adding a marathon.
The decision came after two successful years of a Triple Crown option, which allowed participants to run the fall festival's three events – a 4-miler, 10K and half-marathon – and eight years of running the streets.
To say the running community was excited would be an understatement. Fort Wayne has not had a marathon in decades and the closest 26.2-mile race was in South Bend, a two-hour drive.
For me, though, the announcement was bittersweet. I was already (mentally) committed to running the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and the course for the new distance was less than stellar. Participants, in a nutshell, run a small bonus loop, then the 10K course, then the half marathon course and then the 4-mile course. Read: I'd run past my in-laws' house FOUR times. I would literally have the chance to lay down in the grass and quit four times. As many times as I had selected "yes, I would run a marathon at Fort4Fitness" in the participant survey, I just couldn't wrap my head or credit card around it.
But here's the thing: Many of my friends are running the marathon, if only to support and encourage the growth of the race; two of my favorites are pacing the 4:40 group; and I have 18-20 miles on the schedule that weekend. With my running buddies all participating in F4F, I'd have to do that long run on my own.
So after talking with one of those pacers during a pre-dawn run, I found myself registering for the Fort4Fitness marathon on Oct. 1.
Yikes. Two marathons in, like, six weeks.
Now, let's be clear: This race will be a glorified training run. If I stick with the 4:40 group, the average pace will be 1:30 slower per mile than my goal for Monumental and I will earn a personal worst. I've also given myself the OK to run/walk the last loop if need be.
The Fort4Fitness marathon is just the latest in a series of races to make my schedule in the last month.
• The Inaugural 3RRC 15K on Aug. 6. Apparently, I like to spend money to do training runs. I've never run a 15K, though, and I'd love to add another PR to the list this year. HA!
• Running Between The Vines half marathon on Aug. 13. My BRF is injured. I-N-J-U-R-ED. My life is basically ruined because she can't run with me. Forget that she has to deal with the fact that she's not able to run. Anyway, she was registered for this race in Jackson, Michigan, and offered me her spot. It's like a consolation prize. Plus, Mark and I are using the race as a chance to getaway for the weekend.
• Ragnar Trail Cascades on Sept. 16-17.
This race deserves a moment of silence for its awesomeness.
I'll be running with Nuun for this one, and I couldn't be more excited for the opportunity. I've never done a Ragnar-branded race much less a trail one, and it's hard to beat the experience that Nuun offers its ambassadors when they are selected. I also will get to reunite with some of my favorite hydration peeps.
What's on your schedule?