The Woodlands, Texas, March 3, 2012
While still experiencing a state of euphoria/lapse in judgment following my completion of the Houston Marathon a week ago, I impulsively signed up for The My Fit Foods Woodlands Marathon occurring just seven short weeks later on March 3 in the The Woodlands, Texas (near Houston). I wasn’t familiar with this race until a few weeks prior when a friend mentioned that she was considering running it as her first marathon. So, I decided to do a bit of research and came to the conclusion that this wasn’t a race that I wanted to miss.
Per the race website, this race was last held in 1993 and is being reinstated this year after a nearly 20-year hiatus. The marathon course will consist of two 13.1 mile loops and is reportedly flat and fast. The price is reasonable at $115 until January 31. After that the entry fee increases to $130, and then again to $150 at the expo (note: there is no registration between February 19th and March 1st) . If I had planned ahead and entered prior to October 31, I could have gotten in for a mere $95. Next year, maybe.
Per the race website “The Halls Steps Foundation will be the primary national beneficiary and Interfaith of The Woodlands will be the primary local beneficiary”. OK, sounds good. Most races benefit a good cause, so while this is nice to know, it didn’t exactly contribute to my decision to enter this race in particular. But hey, it’s always nice to feel like you aren’t just some sucker paying $100+ to run 26.2 miles on public roads (something you can do for free anytime you want), but that you are also contributing to a good cause.
If you are an elite or semi-elite, this might be a nice event for you to visit in hopes of picking up a little paycheck. They are giving a decent little prize purse with $2500 for the marathon champion and $1500 for the half marathon champion. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top five open marathon and half marathon finishers, as well as the top three masters in each race for a total possible prize purse of around $20,000.
As I mentioned, The My Fit Foods Woodlands Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, March 3. Aside from the flat course, this was probably the biggest reason I ultimately decided to enter this race. I much prefer a Saturday race versus a Sunday race. I am never at the top of my game the Monday following a Sunday race and would really appreciate an extra day to recover before making my grand appearance at the office Monday morning. I really hate having to hobble around my non-running colleagues. They already look at me like I am a few cards short of a full deck when I mention that I am running a marathon. When they see me staggering stiffly around following my weekend adventures, they always have this “you poor dumb girl” look on their faces. If it’s all the same, I would just rather avoid this entire encounter and bounce into work on Monday refreshed and ready to go.
Logistically, I expect this race to be pretty straight forward. There is a Hilton Garden Inn located just 0.2 miles from the race start, so there will be no need to worry about transportation and parking on race morning. Per the event’s Facebook page, the current total number of registrants for all races (Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5k) is already up to 5000. This is an impressive number for what is essentially the race’s first year and speaks volumes of The Woodland’s strong and well developed running community. This up-and-coming event is still small enough to be a breath of fresh air after running some of the overwhelmingly large major marathons (for comparison, the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon had 24,000 runners). So, if you are looking for an alternative to the overly crowded mega-marathons and would enjoy a nice flat fast PR worthy course, this might be your race. If you don’t make it to the race this year, look for my race write-up following the event with my own personal race experience and a detailed review of all aspects from registration to the after party.
Visit the race website for more information, or to register. If you are considering registering, I wouldn’t waste any time. According to Facebook, as of January 18th, there were only 130 spots remaining in the full marathon.