Herald of Victory Marathon

When planning out a racing season I look at many things.  I look at race history, cost, course layout and elevation, swag, ease of logistics, etc..  I pick local races a lot, and why?  Those races are typically, in the end, cheaper all around because they don’t involve travel costs or lodging.  Sometimes though, I just have to look at races that do involve travel because it often times lends to a change in scenery, a new race, a chance at a mini vacation, and so on.

This coming May, I chose a race that involves a very long drive.  Yes, of course I could fly, but that would add more expense.  I originally heard about this race last Fall, and jumped on early pricing.  This race happens to be an inaugural race.  Now, I’m not always keen on brand new races, as most often waiting a year or two for the race to work the kinks out can be a very good idea.  This time around I chose to give it a chance because of the location.  It’s a brand new marathon, where I grew up!  I couldn’t pass up the chance to run a marathon there.

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So, the Herald of Victory Marathon, in Binghamton, NY will essentially close out my long distance events before the Summer.  The course will take me all over the greater Binghamton area, and has a fair share of elevation change, but looking at the course profile, nothing too difficult.  My Father lives in Binghamton still, so it will be a great chance to once again visit, and have him attend one of my races.  A win win!

Not sure originally that I would be able to break away from work on a holiday weekend, I am going to make it happen.  I am full on planning this trip now.  The race is on Sunday before Memorial Day, so I will make the 10 hour drive on Friday before, and either head back home on Memorial Day or the day after.  Accommodations are booked just in case it ends up being more than just me who make the drive up for the weekend.  If it’s just me, I’ll stay with my Dad.

Believe it or not, I have run two races in Binghamton in the past.  Actually it was the same race, run two different years.  It was a 5k, too.  The Kelly LeBare 5k run during the yearly Spiedie Fest in August.  I wasn’t in running shape for either of those races, in fact I really wasn’t a runner at all back then.  I ran those races back in 2003 and 2004, so it’s been well over a decade since I last raced in Binghamton.  Should be a ton of fun!  So, even though this is a brand new event quite a ways away from home, I have plenty of reasons to give it a shot.  Hoping the Herald of Victory will be an amazing race capping off an amazing trip to see my Dad.

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New York Road Trip

Travel day is here.  Normally I would not find a nine hour car ride a lot of fun, but today is going to be even more challenging.  The weather!  Tons of wind and rain to travel through today, but my 80 year old Father will be waiting my arrival once I cross the state line into NY.  That will get me through it!

I worked extremely early in the morning the last few days, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  Last night I went to bed fairly early, to try to catch up before my journey begins in a few hours.  What’s left?  All of my packing.  Not just race packing, but vacation packing.  Packing for being gone nearly a week.  My plan is to be out the door in about two hours.  Yep, waiting for rush hour to be over before heading out on my way north.

Regardless of my long drive today, I am very excited.  This trip, this race, has been a long time in the making.  I still can’t believe that I am actually running the New York City Marathon this Sunday.  An epic race, represented by runners from 139 countries around the world.  Should a 45 year old man be this giddy about running a race?  Eh, I don’t care if it seems odd, but I am truly excited abut it.

I really owe a lot of thanks to my charity partner, the James Blake Foundation, as they are the real reason I am running this race.  They accepted me onto their charity team back in February, and I have been fundraising for them ever since.  Quite a long journey, and an unfamiliar one at that.  I have never been on a charity team before, or even raised money for anything other than selling cookies or booster stickers for little league when I was 8 or 9 years old.  This has truly been a unique experience.  Challenging, and unique.  I’ve have learned that it’s not easy convincing people to part with their hard earned money.  I guess it’s about being relentless in driving a cause that you feel passionate about.  But, I am passionate about this charity, and running.

Setting a goal of $3,000 to fundraise over the course of several months was my top priority.  As of the moment of this post, I have raised $2,311.  Yes, I am just $689 away from my goal, with the help of these amazing folks!

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That’s the back of my charity team race shirt that I will be wearing this Sunday during the race.  *hint, hint, there’s still tons of room for more names.  I haven’t even started putting names on my sleeves yet!

So, now that I have exactly two hours before leaving home, one more shout out and push for donations. Don’t worry, just because I am leaving home, you still have time to donate.  Plus, I am taking my markers with me, so that I can put your name on my shirt even at the last minute before heading to the start line on Sunday.  Here is the link to donate.  100% of donations go directly to the James Blake Foundation supporting cancer research.

Thanks everybody, and see y in New York!