Mesa Marathon Race Report – David Ha

Photo: Mesa Marathon Photographer. Official Race Photo

Race: Mesa Marathon

Runner: David Ha

Race Date: 02/04/2023

Location: Mesa, AZ

Results: 3:03:55

Strava Activity Link:

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Point to point downhill course that is good for a PR or BQ attempt. The downhill is not as dramatic as the ‘Revel’ series so it does not beat you up.
  2. Seeing the sun rise in the desert.
  3. Good size marathon that is neither too big nor too small

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  1. Aside from the beginning, which is in complete darkness the race is through residential and commercial neighborhoods.
  2. Not a lot of shade in the second half of the race, so it can get pretty warm

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Starts before sunrise so the first 1.5 miles is in the dark. You need to pay attention to your surroundings and other runners. One runner tripped over another within the first five minutes.

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

I ran a PR by 6m25s. I stuck to the race strategy that my coach and I devised until I could not hold on at mile 24

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Do not start too fast in the beginning even though it is downhill. Learn to run by effort/feel. Do not try to run the same pace at mile 5 and 6, where the course turns uphill because you will go back downhill for the next 12 miles.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Still trying to figure how to avoid hitting a wall late in a marathon

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Knowing the elevation changes of the course will help you formulate a good race strategy.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The most aesthetic part of the course is the first several miles, which are in the dark

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not a tough course, but the downhills can wreak havoc if one does not have experience running downhill

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

Very well organized from communication before the race, live stream on FB, Expo was well run, and race day logistics were very good.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Good competition unless you are very fast or sub-elite runner. I had someone to run with the entire time.

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 race happen.

Race does not sell out, but prices do increase closer to the race. They have an early bird and Black Friday discount. Although registering early may get you the best price. Hotels are easy to come by unless you want to stay one of the two hotels at the finish line

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

Standard number of aid stations. Five aid stations had GU Gel, which is different than other marathons that may only provide one. I had my own gels. The aid stations spacing between Gatorade and water could use more distance and perhaps more people handing out drinks.

Weather and typical race conditions

Starting temps in the high 40s/low 50s. Probably a 5 – 7 degree temperature difference between starting and finishing depending on the time one finishes

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

I wore a singlet, half tights, arm sleeves, and gloves at the start. They had heaters at the start line and provided gloves, arm sleeves, and a warming blanket at the expo. One can also stay on the bus to keep warm until the race starts.

I took off my glove after a mile and rolled down my arm sleeves about 75 minutes in

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes and no, plenty of areas for spectactors since it goes through residential neighborhoods, but not really since it is point to point course. Spectators may only be able to see you at a couple of locations

How’s the Swag?

Thought this was excellent. T-shirt, arm sleeves, gloves, warming blanket, good medal, printed finishers card, free full resolution race photos, personalized race video, a Mesa to BOS luggage tag for qualifiers. Although not swag, they offered free sport therapy (stretching) and massages at the finish line.

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

5/5: I recommend this race to anyone looking to run a PR or a BQ time. It is well organized. The only drawback for me is having to train through the MN winter