Race: Boulder Rez Marathon

Runner: Matt Urbanski

Race Date: 8/14/2021

Location: Boulder, CO

Results: 2nd OA, 2:51:23

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5792356178

boulder rez marathon course

3 Bests – What aspects of the Boulder Rez Marathon did you like the most?

  1. Close to home.
  2. Smooth, fast dirt roads.
  3. Easy logistics for a good hard long run.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boulder Rez Marathon didn’t do it for you?

It was hot and sunny with no shade. But it’s August in Boulder at the Rez. I knew this coming in, so I’m not complaining about it. It was just a challenge of this race!

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I backed off my effort soon enough that I didn’t blow up! I was working a good steady effort early on to keep pace with my friends Steve and Andrew, and while many times in my life that effort was fine for a marathon, I’m not there right now and I realized it early enough to keep the race from falling apart.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Boulder Rez Marathon to help the next runner

It’s a 4 loop course, so after loop 1, you know what you’re in for the rest of the day. The first part of the course has a few rollers. They feel like bigger hills on lap 3 and 4! Once you do the turn around just past Monarch Road, you’re done with nearly all hills for the loop, so you can celebrate! There is a bit of trail from when you get off Monarch road until you get to the loop around the Rez – it’s a section of trail that follows the water ditch, and this is normally off limits and not something we get to run on. It’s not technical trail, but if you’re expecting all smooth roads, this part is a bit bumpy.

There is no shade. Be ready for sun, and hot! And with the race not starting until 7:15am, the second half of the race was toasty.

There are four stations along the course, so a total of 16 aid stations (and once or twice coming through the start/finish I think they were handing out water too). This was ample opportunity to drink, and to pour cold water over my head.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

A little more prep for those hills would have helped on the last two laps! Otherwise, just being ready to handle the heat and to pace well for a not super fast course.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s dirt roads outside of Boulder and some trail around the reservoir. It’s not un-pretty, but it’s also not breathtaking!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Compared to the Berlin marathon, this is a slow course! Given the conditions, I’d say it was a challenging marathon.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Yep. Easy to sign up for, easy to get to, nothing weird or difficult about it. The course was easy to follow, well marked, and with plenty of marshalls along the course directing us on where to go.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not usually. And this year from the get go, it was me and my buddy Steve out in front. He wanted his BQ (and he got it), but it was only the two of us under 3 hours.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the Boulder Rez Marathon happen.

Nada. Super easy. Low key marathon, easy to sign up for, and I don’t think it sold out. I don’t think this is a race people would be traveling to, so hotels aren’t likely a thing to be thinking about. But Boulder has plenty of options, though the race was right around the time when CU students were coming back to town, so town may have been busy and booked up for that!

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

They weren’t quite as dialed in as the big city marathons where the volunteers had cups ready for you to grab on the go. I had to stop and go to a table for water most of the time. Not a big deal, and later in the race I welcomed the walk through and drink part of the aid station visits. There were some gels there too, I don’t remember the brand, but I carried my own. Plenty of cold water available, and that was all I wanted!

Weather and typical race conditions

Hot! Sunny!

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I didn’t carry anything with me. I had some gels in my shorts pockets, and that’s it.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

With it being a looped course, we came through the start/finish area 4 times including the finish. While spectators could have been elsewhere on the course, that would have been a hassle for them, and not great for the runners b/c that would have meant more cars on the dirt roads, and more dust kicking up.

How’s the Swag?

Red shirt, fits a little big. Finisher medal. Standard swag.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4 of 5 stars. I wouldn’t travel for this race. But for a local event that is well organized, it was a good event and I’m happy I did it. This was a substitute for a good hard long run for me, and I’m glad I did this race rather than doing something solo!

boulder rez marathon loop

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