Eastern States 20 MilerThe Eastern States 20 Miler and half marathon was today. Temperatures were in the low to mid 40s with a slight but negligible headwind. Casey Carroll outsprinted Kibrom Temeslo over the last few miles to win in 1:54:51. Megah Doshi of the Greater Boston Track Club posted an impressive 12 minutes over 2nd place to win the women’s division. Casey Moulton, who holds the 20 mile course record, won the half marathon in 1:07:57. Leslie Dillon won her first half-marathon in 1:26:48. There were 507 finishers in the 20 miler and 184 half-marathon finishers.

I really enjoyed this race. They do a lot of things right, despite a few difficulties here and there. The course has a few small hills early on and one late in the course, but it is basically flat the entire way. There are a few trestle bridges over the first few miles that are difficult to run across, and late in the race traffic is very close when crossing another bridge. Quite a bit of the course has a steep camber, but a few places have a bit of a shoulder that you can run on instead of the road.

The race has some amazing views along the way. A lot of the race goes through some neighborhoods, but there are plenty of ocean views as you get along. The entire race is along the coastline, the closer to Massachussetts that you get, the more ocean that you can see as you are running.

There is a lot of police support at intersections, and a good amount of volunteer support. There are a half dozen water stops or so. Everybody that I met was exceedingly nice, from the race directors to the volunteers to the other runners. Even the traffic (which is at your back for the vast majority of the race) seemed courteous.

Unfortunately, the mile splits were difficult to find and easy to miss. In many cases, they were very obviously innacurate, which leads me to believe that they were off in quite a few places. I think that they really need to make an effort in the future to make them more prominent and better measured.

The addition of the half-marathon worked out really well, because there was always somebody to chase. There was 5 minutes between myself and the guy in front of me, but I had plenty of people to chase down once I caught up to the tail-end of the half marathon. In fact, for whatever reason, it took me about 20 minutes to remember that there was a half-marathon; I had been marvelling at the large number of recreational runners.

The race does make for a very long day. The shuttles and the baggage buses are very well run and efficient, but the shuttles stop running to the start line at 9:00 (supposedly). This means that you need to wait around for a few hours until the start of the race. The race started a few minutes late, and not surprisingly the awards were a few minutes late as well. Not as late as some races that I have been to, however. The spread on the finish line was excellent. The post race celebration was at the Ashworth Hotel, and there was plenty of soup, bananas, pizza and rolls to munch on.

I am glad that I made the time to run this year, as it has not fit into my training schedule for the last few years. Hopefully at some point in the next few years I will find a late Spring or early Summer marathon to run, so that I can try to concentrate on this race and go for a win. I had a lot of fun, which is one of the more important aspects of racing.

(Marathon ResultsHalf-Marathon ResultsPortsmouth Herald write-up)