Marion Rotary For Shoes Marathon & Hot Weather Running Tips

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Marathon #21 was in the great state of Iowa, in Marion, just north of Cedar Rapids.  It was the Marion Rotary For Shoes Marathon.  And it was hot.  And hilly.  But I had a great group of friends who made the trip with me.  From left, meet Lindsay (Glitter Girl on the Run), Judy F, Amanda W (Get to Goal), Derek, Julie M & myself.

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We also met Kim from Running on the Fly and her friend, Barb (not pictured). 

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The 2015 Marathon for Shoes was held in June for the first time.  The first two years were held the third week in April and apparently the weather both years was crazy cold with either snow or wind/rain/sleet.  So the 2015 edition was pushed out til June and cold it was not.  In fact it was hot.  So hot that most of us would have done a choreographed rain dance had we thought it would produce a cloud or drop of rain from that beautiful blue but steamy sky.  But alas, no rain.

Packet pickup was at a local school gymnasium and there were a handful of vendors.  Nice, friendly people.  Easy packet pick up.  Free parking.  Nike tech shirt as the SWAG.  You could have been in and out with your shirt & number in less than 10 minutes.  But you had to get your packet the night before the race or there was a late pickup fee the morning of the race.

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The race started in front of a local high school at 7am.  Easy, free parking.  A handful of port-o-potties.  Chip timing.  Beautiful blue skies.  The race started on time without much of a production.  We were across the timing mat in less than 30 seconds, along with the half marathoners and a handful of relay runners.  Not a huge race, less than 500 people at the start. 

Then came the hills.  One right after another.  Then a few more. And the never really stopped.  The temps that were in the mid 70s at the start climbed to mid 80s by the finish.  The course was mainly on country roads with some neighborhoods.   There were a couple sections where we ran along busy highways separated from the zooming cars by orange cones.  Highlights were an old cemetery and a small park.   The coolest thing we saw was a piece of art in the form of corn stalks just before mile 7.

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Around mile 7, the half marathoners turned off and it got pretty lonely.  I’ll be honest, I was so thankful to have friends running this race!  We mostly stuck together and just dealt with the hills heat as it came.  Very slowly.  With lots of walking.  Aid stations were every 1.5 miles or so apart.  They offered warm water & watermelon AdvoCare Rehydrate (tasty and way better than traditional sugar laden sport drinks for your body!).  There were lots of people on bikes offering bike support, asking us if we were okay, calling SAG for those who needed a ride and calling 911 for those who dropped.   There were a handful of spectators scattered throughout the 26.2 miles.  The best spectator award goes to a nice couple who put out their sprinkler as we ran thru one of the last neighborhoods.  We were super thankful for that sprinkler and ran thru it like a bunch of 5 year olds.  I think I even squealed with delight!  Winking smile 

Running in high heat and 100% humidity is pretty dangerous.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  However, weather for pre-registered events is an absolute unknown.  There is no way to predict what the day will bring but only what we can do to make our chances to survive the elements a bit better.

Tips for running in the heat:

  • Wear a hat or visor
  • Wear sunscreen to keep your skin from frying
  • Dump water on your head and body to keep yourself as cool as possible
  • Wear light colored clothing
  • Use ice or cold water to increase the rate of cooling
  • Run thru sprinklers or open hydrants, if available
  • Use sponges or cooling towels if the event offers these things
  • Take your time, decrease your pace, and WALK to keep your body temp as even as possible
  • Replace lost salt with salt tablets, electrolyte drinks/gels or by eating salty foods

Bottom line, even if you do all of the above, your rate of success will depend on how your body can ultimately deal with the heat.  Some people handle it much better than others.  Some people can’t handle it at all.  One of my friends still has a headache from the heat and dehydration suffered on Sunday.  Another friend had no idea why we struggled so much because she “loves running in the heat”.   It’s all about your body and how it can adapt to the conditions and that is super hard to predict.

Ultimately, everyone in my group finished, most of us with bragging rights over our new “personal worst” time.  But we finished under our own power because we did what was necessary for us and that meant slowing WAY down to endure the weather.  Here is Judy and I running around the track toward the finish line.  We were two happy campers to have finished another marathon in yet another new state. 

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Being safe always trumps running fast.  It’s certainly not fun but something we all learn over time.  If you ran in Marion on Sunday and are feeling bad about your race, know that only 124 people FINISHED the full, only 243 FINISHED the half and there were only 9 relay teams that crossed that finish line.  Finishing really was winning in Marion IA on Sunday.  Be proud.

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes (IA) – FIVE (5) Free Entries & 30% Off Discount Code

As we are staring down the end of 2014, many of us are putting together our race calendar for 2015. I know I am!  I particularly like a few spring/summer races set up going into a nasty winter because it forces me to keep moving, when I’d rather be hibernating.  So, I’ve been looking at the calendar and one of the races I’ve been watching for the last 3 years has moved to early June.  The Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes, Half & Marathon Relay is on June 14, 2015 in Marion, Iowa. 

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Who still needs the state of Iowa?  I do! I’ve registered for the 2015 Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes and will soon be coloring in Iowa!

Marion, IA is located just north of I-80 about 4 hours from Chicago and is centrally located for Wisconsin residents too!  This is the 3rd year for this race, the first two years focused on creating the perfect race, year three is focused on growth.  So let’s help Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes  GROW!  They have a great charity component and the number of runners directly effects the number of kids they can help each year.  More on the charity below:

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The Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes is a charitable marathon designed to raise support for Shoes for Kids, a program of the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club, as well as other rotary supported initiatives.

​More than 10,000 children in Cedar Rapids Metro Area schools qualify for free or reduced lunch. Many of these students have other unmet needs, as basic as shoes. Shoes for Kids provides health administrators in the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area with “shoe cards,” valued at $20 each to Payless Shoe Source. Cards are distributed to students with inadequate footwear.

​Many times, with parental permission, the school nurses or counselors actually take the kids shopping for shoes. We often hear of this being the first time these students have bought their own new pair of shoes. The program began in 2003 and has provided more than $45,000 in shoes to needy children. Each year the need outweighs the financial resources.

​The Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes will allow us to grow this program across our community and region.

So as I’ve said, I’m all in to try to help get the word out about this race and also help the kids of the Cedar Rapids area.  Bonus, I get to run PLUS color in another state on my map.  Smile

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Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes has generously offered FIVE (5) free entries to be given away.  The free entries may be used for either the full ($60 value) or the half marathon ($30 value).  They want YOU and ALL YOUR FRIENDS to come see what Iowa and the City of Marion have to offer.  In order to be entered in the drawing you can do one, or all of the items listed below.  Just let me know in the comments what you did so that I can give you the appropriate number of entries!  Maximum possible entries per person =  6. 

  1. 1 entry – comment below and tell us how you pick your races.  Location?  Timing?  Charity component?  Or do you just go where your friends go?
  2. 1 entry – Like Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes on Facebook HERE.
  3. 1 entry – Follow Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes on Twitter HERE.
  4. 3 entries – Share this giveaway with your friends via your favorite social media channel.  Tag me so that I can see it!  Otherwise, I’ll ask for the link if you win via a social media share.  It’s super easy to just retweet my link, or share my facebook post.  Or you can go to the bottom of this post and share it that way. 

Good luck!  I’ll select the 5 winners on Tuesday, December 2nd at 9am. 

If you want to register now, go HERE and you can use the 30% off discount code:  MARION201515.  This code brings the marathon entry down to $42, can’t beat that deal!!  Or the code will bring the half marathon down to $21.  Now that’s a deal too! 

See you in Marion for the 2015 Marion Rotary Marathon For Shoes!

Amanda – TooTallFritz