Lewis, Clark & Ike

By Lance Cull

The Lewis and Clark Marathon/ Half Marathon are held on Sunday, September 14th and are run through St. Charles County. The race starts at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and finishes up in Frontier Park, the site of the Lewis and Clark Statue. Both the Marathon and Half marathon run the same course for the first 13.1 miles and then the Marathon continues with an out-and-back along the Katy Trail. The course is pretty flat with only 1 major incline (I think) that hits between miles 7 and 8. There was supposed to be in upwards of 5,500+ attending the race.

We had to pick up our packets from the expo on Saturday. The expo was quite small. I think there were 4 or 5 tables and an area for Fleet Feet. I think we spent a total of 15 minutes at the expo (went around twice to make sure we didn’t miss anything). The shirt is pretty nice. It is a moisture-wicking, long sleeve red shirt with logo on front and sponsors on back. I also picked up a souvenir sweatshirt with a logo for the upcoming cooler weather.

I woke at 0400 to the sound of thunder which was not a good sign. After fixing breakfast and coffee, I turned on TWC to get the forecast. The forecast called for temps in the mid 60’s, heavy rains, and winds gusting at 20-30 mph (might have been an understatement but I’m no meteorologist). At this point, I wasn’t looking forward to running but I proceeded to get ready and out the door we left at 0535. The pre-race flyer asked that we arrive at 0545 so 10 minutes would have been plenty of time since we stayed at a hotel in Westport Plaza…NOT!!! We turned onto I-70 and we were immediately halted by 3 lanes of traffic backed up about a mile from the exit. We still needed to go about another mile from the exit. At this point I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the starting line for a 0645 start.

I FINALLY made it to the start line at about 0730 and the rain/wind still hadn’t let up. There wasn’t anyone at the start line so I asked if the race had been cancelled. I was told that there were about 4,000+ already out on the course. I removed the plastic bags from my shoes and body, relieved myself, did some light stretching, said adios to my dad and I was off.

At this point, I think the rain was coming down harder or maybe it was the fact that I was running into it. It felt like I was being stuck with little pins with each rain drop. I remember grimacing at one point as it was hitting my legs. I remembered my hat and sun glasses to make sure my head and eyes were protected. Out of the ten miles we ran, I would guess at least half were against the wind.

Because of the weather, I had decided that I was going to run it as I would a long run just at a slightly faster pace. I knew that with these conditions, there was no way I was going to run what I wanted to run. I was busy looking at the surroundings, reading peoples shirts, and dodging in and out of the walkers. I remember reading one kids shirt that said “Beating cancer one mile at a time” and couldn’t help to think if he was the one who was trying to beat it. I gave him a high five and a “Good Job” as I went by.

I was feeling pretty good around mile 8 as we exited 370 heading into downtown St. Charles. I remember thinking to myself that I thought we missed a turn. At the 9 mile mark, I saw Gary W. (a local runner who was trying to qualify for Boston). He informed me that the race was only going to go 10 miles for everyone due to flooding between miles 8-11 (we did miss a turn) and the Katy Trail. I pushed the last 1 mile and finished with a Garmin time of 1:20 (clock time of 1:45).

The post race was full of food, water and BEER. I grabbed an Ultra Amber, some snacks, and grabbed a shuttle to take me back to the start area and the car. There was supposed to be a band but due to the weather…

I don’t think I will soon forget this racing experience. There are times in our running careers when we have a defining moment. For me, that was this race experience. I learned that runners are a different breed…a “Hardy Breed” in fact. How many other people would have ventured out in these conditions? I am definitely going to run this course next year. Under any other conditions, this would have been a good time.

And to the other 5,000+ insanely awesome “Hardy Breed” runners at the Lewis and Clark, I say “Job well done!!!!”

A special thanks goes out to ALL the volunteers. These were horrendous conditions but you all stuck with us. Hats off to all of you!

– Lance

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