Race: Monster Mash Marathon
Runner: Matt Urbanski
Race Date: 10/19/2019
Location: Dover, DE
Results: 1st OA, 2:39:04
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2800552039
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
-Weather was perfect! 40s, clear skies, no wind!
-Last minute option for signing up – I was able to pay the morning of and just get out and race.
-Small town feel. It wasn’t a big race (123 marathon finishers). It was fun to get out in a new town and race!
-Really flat and fast course!
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
-Much of the course was on roads open to vehicle traffic. It wasn’t busy and didn’t feel dangerous, but running on the shoulder of country highway roads didn’t feel totally safe at times.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
We got to run a lap on a race track to start – that was weird and cool!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I managed my effort well and had minimal body breakdown late in the race. I ran negative splits (1:22/1:18) and some of my final miles were my fastest. I went into this race last minute, I wanted to try hard, but also to not wreck myself. I was hoping for the BQ since my brother just got his, and I got that and more! Woohoo!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
– The course is really flat!
– It’s on a lot of open country roads, so if it were windy or the weather was nasty, it could be a tough course!
– There is an out and back around miles 11-14. Great place to scope out competition and see where you are in the race.
– You start with half marathon runners and stay with them for the first 10k. Be cool with this and don’t let them pull you out to too fast of a start.
– The first mile on the track has a heavy bank to it. Run as close to the inside as possible so you’re not slipping or messing up your legs. This may mean getting out a little fast or a bit slower than planned given that it’s the start of the race and everyone will be bunched together.
– The biggest hill is in the last 1/2 mile of the race as you head back toward the race track. It’s short but it’s definitely a hill!
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
If I were racing this again, I’d be a bit more aggressive early on knowing how smooth and fast the entire course is. I was a bit conservative early b/c I wasn’t sure about my fitness or the course. The whole course is flat and it’s all fast!
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
I liked it! We had a gorgeous fall day and that added to the aesthetic factor. The country roads, fields, and even the run through town early on were all nice and contributed to an overall good feel for this race. But some of these pretty aspects of the course could swing the other way if the weather sucked.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Nope! It is a marathon, but if you’re good on flat, this one is great!
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Well run. We saw the sign on the roadway as we were heading to dinner Friday night saying there was a marathon the next day and to watch for runners on roads, expecting delays. We were able to sign up that night (had to pay cash or check which was a bit of a challenge), and the start area was easy to find and to get to – plenty of parking and toilets available.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Nope. I won, and second was 3 hours flat.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Standard, water and gatorade for drinks, though all stations didn’t have gatorade. And they were handing out gels (Hammer gel) at at least one of the stations. I only had a swig of Gatorade around mile 10 and ate some Honey Stinger chews I was carrying along the way.
Weather and typical race conditions
40s, maybe low 50s by the finish. Clear skies. Gorgeous!
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Nothing special. I ran in my Salomon compression shorts with the built in pockets and my euro compression shirt. I didn’t need to carry anything. Ran in my Nike Kiger trail shoes (b/c they are my fastest feeling shoes!)
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
It’s all on roads and there are plenty of places someone could go to cheer. My dad found spots at mile 4, 10, 14, and the finish. It was great seeing him out there! It is a small marathon though, so there weren’t too many spectators out there.
How’s the Swag?
Standard. Tech shirt, a winter hat, a finisher medal.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5 out of 5! I had fun, it was low key, fast, flat, and the weather was perfect! If you can have 2019 Monster Mash weather, I highly recommend!
Matt Urbanski is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Matt, check out his coaching page.