May 16, 2010
There are a few reasons why I chose this marathon:
1) It's cheap - $65 + $5.64 (Active.com processing fee). The $70.64 is cheaper than the New York City Half Marathon ($79 + $5 processing fee) and the Rutgers Half Marathon. Why anyone would pay more for a half marathon than a marathon is beyond me.
2) It's close to home - The Poconos are less than 2 hours from my house in NJ.
3) I have an offer for weekend hospitality from a friend who will remain nameless.
4) I can cross Pennsylvania off from the list of states I've run marathons in.
5) Proceeds from the race benefit the Monroe County Chapter of the American red Cross and will go directly to help the disaster relief program.
This is going to be a much different marathon experience. Last year's race had 411 finishers. My previous 3 marathons were much larger (NYC 2007, Marine Corps 2008, NJ 2009). Chances are I will be running large chunks of the Pocono Marathon alone. I'm not too concerned since I do most of my training alone. However, the energy that comes along with larger races will be missed.
Lastly, the Pocono Marathon has a reputation of being a "downhill" race. As indicated by the elevation profile, there is a net decline in elevation
but, based on what I've heard from people who have run the race and from the reviews on Marathonguide, there are rolling hills in the second half of the race that can beat you up if your are not prepared for them.
So there you have it. Training officially begins on January 24, which happens to be the day I will be running the Manhattan Half Marathon. What better way to kick off my training than than with a winter half marathon in the hills Central Park.