This race is really two blog posts: one an actual race report/ review, and another about having a big birthday weekend. This one is the race part.
I picked this race based on the date. For about a year I knew I wanted to run a marathon for my 40th birthday when I realized it fell on a weekend. There were a lot to choose from, but Route 66 in Tulsa was a short flight, looked interesting and seemed to have some personality, and it had great reviews. I also managed to get two of my best friends to join me, Steve and Stephanie, but there will be more on that in the next post.
Tulsa turned out to be a nice little city. It was incredibly pretty, and I was shocked that there were a ton of large hard wood trees with full fall colors. We drove around a lot, and while there are a lot of abandoned buildings and warehouses in parts, overall, I felt it was a nice little weekend getaway town.
The race expo was small but well done. This race gets an A ++++ for organization. There was never any questions that came up about anything; they seemed to anticipate every need a runner could have. The shirts were kinda meh, but I’m picky and Stephanie informed me the shirts were fine and I was being silly, so I gave her mine.
Race morning had plenty of parking available, and perfect weather. It was super easy to get to the start, and we did one porta potty trip and it was time to line up.
This was a minor complaint, but the corrals made no sense. They asked on the application for your most recent marathon time and your predicted finish time, and it had me in the ‘B’ corral which is probably correct. Stephanie was in A, and Steve was in D! Funny part is we all put more or less the same times down. We also wanted to run together, so we resolved ourselves to corral D which was the last one. Not a big deal, but I think we were estimating to finish about 2 hours ahead of most of the D corral. Stephanie snuck us into the A corral at the last minute, so all was good. The opening pace felt exactly like it should have, so she made a good call.
The first half of the course is super pretty. Lots of fall color, beautiful homes, a trip through a private school campus that looked just like Hogwarts, and some pretty parks. Then a long stretch along the river, which would have been nicer had there not been so much drought, but still nice. There were well done water stops, and I even saw GU being offered fairly regularly. We said good bye to Stephanie at mile 12, and headed onward.
Here’s where it got hard. Immediately there was a really neat old Route 66 bridge we went under and then the headwind and hills started. This part of the course was true old Route 66, complete with a lot of old, abandoned warehouses. Although not as pretty as the first half of the course, it still felt very historic and still seemed interesting. At mile 17 there is an optional out and back add on to go see the Center of the Universe. Once there, you get a bonus Center of the Universe medallion. It’s a neat little gimmick I’ve never done in another race, and was a fun way to throw in yet another hill against a headwind.
By now, I was thinking about the finish. The next big section of the course was running through the university. It would be the only part of the course I would change. It was the dullest campus ever. Lots of the same beige buildings over and over with no real character to them.
This was a hard one those last few miles. The hills and headwind really took their toll. I kinda like a challenging course, and this is not an easy one. I was happy to finish and get my medal. Route 66 prides itself on being voted the best marathon medal, and it really is. Very cool art deco design, and very well made. It’s a keeper for sure. The finish line food was kinda meh. Not that I need much, but they did such a good job with the rest of the race, I expected a little more.
This is one I would do again. I doubt I will ever convince a friend to go to Tulsa with me again in my lifetime, so I will probably be solo if I ever do it again. My final time with the Center of the Universe add on, was 4:05. This was good enough for 15th in my new age group, so I think that speaks to how tough the course is. But don’t let that scare you. It’s fun to run on a historical landmark, enjoy the fall colors, and get the best medal you will ever get, so I would encourage anyone to give this one a try.
# 27 is in the books!