Two years ago after the Top of Utah Marathon, I put together a little after party at Squatter's Pub for anyone that wanted to have some dinner and celebrate. Steven Yee (MM #1) and Chris Warren (MM #2) attended.
Earlier that year a bunch of us Utah Maniacs attended the Marathon Maniacs reunion at the Tacoma City Marathon and had a blast. So with the two of the three founding Maniacs at our table, we started asking about the location of the next reunion. Steven and Chris said a location had not been decided yet (as there are certain criteria that a race must meet to be considered). That's when we started the plug for the Utah Valley Marathon. Franz even took them over to his office to show them the perks of doing a reunion in Utah.
I had my first interaction with Hyrum Oaks (Race Director of the Utah Valley Marathon) when I volunteered at the race in 2009. He was so nice and I got the sense that he really cared about the runners. He also helped get me bibs for my Galloway group when the half marathon sold out before our training got started. He is just a cool guy, so when our Galloway booth was across from theirs at the St. George Expo in 2010 (a month after our dinner with #1 & #2), I ran the idea by Hyrum and he was into it! After two years of haunting the "Big 3", Tony (MM #3) saw Hyrum at the Las Vegas Rock & Roll expo and the deal was done! The Utah Valley Marathon would be home to the 2012 Marathon Maniacs Reunion!!
Since I pushed so hard for this, I really wanted to make sure that this was going to be a reunion that people would love. I had heard from some folks that had attended the 2010 reunion and were disappointed. I wanted to make sure that did not happen in Utah. With the "Big 3" living in Washington, I offered to organize what needed to be organized here and worked with Hyrum to secure the perks fitting for the Marathon Maniacs!
Our reunion started on Friday with a Marathon Maniacs meeting hosted by Steven, Tony and Chris, which consisted of Maniac introductions, door prizes and a slide show of photos of Maniacs from races all over! The meeting was then followed by a Marathon Maniac pasta party!
The Marathon Show's Joe Taricani with Chris Warren (#2), Me, Tony Phillippi (#3), and the Prez, Steven Yee (#1) at the expo.
Eric Beck and I checking in Maniacs!
I got some cool presents from the Maniacs!
After the dinner everyone went straight to bed. One of the perks the Race Director gave us was our own buses to the start. When negotiating bus times we decided on a 3:45am loading. The "regular" buses loaded from 3:00am-4:15am, so I went middle of the road to accommodate folks that want to get up to the start a little earlier.
Loading our own Maniac Buses!
Maniacs on one of the Buses!
Once we got to the start we also had our own porta-potties!!
Sorry suckas! These are RESERVED!!
I will say these were a HUGE hit! At one point I think Maniacs were just gathering near them to catch non-Maniacs trying to use them!
Waiting to capture a vrey important moment...
...The Prez "breaking in" the MM Potty! Yes folks, #1 goes #2! Hee Hee!
Utah Maniacs with the "Big Three" at the start.
Our AMAZING pre-race group photo!
The weather at the start was much warmer than in year's past which made it really nice. It was so much fun to see so many Maniacs out there running. It was a sea of yellow!
Having a blast already!
Utah girls-Teresa, Trina and I!
Eric Beck, Teresa Baker and I!
I was so busy Friday running around planning all the last minute details, that I did not fuel well (no breakfast or lunch and very little to drink). Rookie mistake! I paid for it during the race. My legs felt tired, heavy and strained the entire race. If it were not for all the fun people on the course, I would not have made it.
The course is really beautiful with some pretty good climbs the first half and some nice downhill the second half (with the exception of that doosey hill at mile 16). I usually run pretty well here, but I struggled the entire race. The wind didn't help. Nothing felt good. I started to question if running the Casper Marathon 6 days before was a good idea. I kept going hoping I could at least break 5 hours.
Is that the finish?!
I thought that hope was gone until mile 26 when I looked at my watch (there came a point in the race when I just stopped looking at it). My race had not gone well and I wanted something to feel good so I picked up my pace for that last .2 miles and hit the timing mat at 4:59:55! I barely broke 5 hours! That may sound slow so some reading this, but the way I was feeling, it was a victory for me. NOW I was happy.
Another perk the UVM gave us Maniacs, was our own tent at the finish! This was so nice to have a shaded place to meet up and relax after the race. This is where we also received our coveted Marathon Maniac reunion medal! Huge thanks to Lisa and Melissa (wives of Ryan Launder and Jeff Bollman for helping in the tent!
So glad to be done!
Me, Teota and Marsha!
Franz and I at the Finish!
My Fellow NYC/NJ Peeps!
Allie Levy, Jackie Gulino, Hideki Kinshita, Paul Arroyo and Steven Thunder Lee
There was another Maniac that I thought needed to be included in this post. His name is Jamie Knight. He was scheduled to run with us at the UVM, but due to some personal issues, he had to cancel his trip only days before the race. I am sure he was pretty disappointed about missing the reunion, but instead of moping, he loaded the UVM elevation charts into his treadmill and at exactly 6:00am MT, Jamie ran the race with us!
When I mentioned this to the race director days after the race, he insisted I send Jamie a finisher's medal!
Jamie Knight on his treadmill sporting his UMV finisher's medal he earned via sattelite!
This reunion was so much fun! While it was a lot of work organizing, I would have not been able to do any of it without a Race Director that shared our vision and made it possible to spoil all of us. Thank you Hyrum Oaks and all the staff and Volunteers at the Utah Valley Marathon!