Tupelo Marathon; Tupelo, MS; September 5, 2016
Lifetime Marathon #34, Mississippi Marathon #3
Finish Time – 5:31:54
This year I am privileged enough to be a member of the Blue Crew, the social media ambassadors for the Mississippi Blues Marathon. In 2017 I will be running the in Blues weekend for the 5th time (3rd time for the full marathon) & I have always told people that it is hands down the best marathon in the state of Mississippi. However, I realize that I had only run 1 other marathon in the magnolia state leaving 3 other established races that I had not experienced and a 4th inaugural race being added this December along the Gulf Coast. So I am making the effort at running 3 of those 4 marathons this year. The Tupelo Marathon is held annually on Labor Day weekend, the Magnolia Marathon in Meridian, MS will be held on November 19 (just 3 days before my wedding date), and the Inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon will take place on December 11.
After driving up to Tupelo on Saturday afternoon Brooklyn & I went out into Tupelo and visited the birthplace of Elvis Presley. As a music teacher I loved getting to walk the grounds of his home and visit the small museum there. Afterwards we met up with running buddy Brian and one of his friends for dinner a tiny Italian to go place in town.
Running in Mississippi in early September is always going to be on the warm side. There is no way of avoiding it. The marathon’s tag line “Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead” is more than a catch phrase, it is a literal description of the type of people that make the choice to tackle this 6 hour time limit course. To help combat the 90+ degree heat that was to come later in the morning the race begins promptly at 5 AM. Granted it was already above 80 & a full 100% humidity. I met with social media friend Jessica pre-race and ran with her for the bulk of the first half of the marathon, catching up and talking about future race plans. Training in the Mississippi summer is also a task that can be quite challenging. I was aware that I had not worked my way up properly to marathon fitness level so I was planning to take the day nice and easy and enjoy the run. I finished the first loop at around 2:15 on the clock, right where I thought I would be.
The sun had come out and the temperature was rising so I ditched the shirt for the 2nd loop. The course was nice and quiet. There were few spectators along the roads. Only the water stations seemed to be populated. I had ran into Brian along the way and he was having a rough morning on the road so I stuck around with him for most of the second loop. I found a few drinks and made a few friends as I went along. I walked the majority of the last 5-6 miles, as was planned. I was really looking for a 19-20 long run and then pick up the last few miles as a bonus for a marathon finish.
I came to the finish line with my slowest finish time to date (Disney World Marathon included) and took part in the food and drink at the finish line area. After a race with temperatures that soared into the mid to upper 90s the finish line is located inside of an air conditioned arena with showers available to runners. A truly spectacular way to celebrate the race end.
Overall the race was simple. Start early, try to avoid the inevitable of the sun coming up, finish and get a fantastic medal. I have really enjoyed their medal designs the last few years and was excited to get one of my own. This is not an event I would tackle year after year, however fitting it into the 3 day labor weekend every couple years is a possibility. It’s affordable and well organized. It lacks the presence and the pizzaz of the Mississippi Blues, but is a great option if you’re looking for a end of summer marathon to jump start your fall training.