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Race Recap: Screaming Pumpkin Marathon

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Trevor and I ran the Screaming Pumpkin Marathon in Peoria, Illinois, on Oct. 26th. This was certainly a race to remember.

The SPM is a prediction marathon and the goal is to finish as close to midnight as possible.

Your starting time depends on your projected finishing time. No GPS devices or watches are allowed on the course and cell phones are for emergency use only.

Here is my race recap . . .

Running in the Dark

The Marathon takes place in Springdale Cemetery – one of the oldest and largest in the state of Illinois with 78,000 people buried in 230 acres.

Advertised as one of the hilliest and darkest courses in the country it consists of 4 laps around a 6.55 mile loop. There is a centrally located aid station that you pass three times per loop. You also run by the finishing area which has fluids and porta pots.

Many people were decked out in Halloween costumes. I saw Batman and Robin (father and son), viking chicks, KISS band members, and ballerinas with sparkling incandescent tutus.

I’m glad that Trevor and I recently purchased headlamps. I found myself looking at the ground most of the night trying to guard against twisting an ankle. If you plan on running at night during your marathon training, invest in a good headlamp or knuckle light. I don’t know why I didn’t buy one sooner.

The Swag

Finishing after midnight will earn you a pumpkin.

This race is known for its swag. Runners receive a long sleeve tech Saucony shirt, a Saucony jacket in neon orange, and an orange beanie. Marathon finishers received a nice medal as well as a belt buckle.

The Saucony jackets are quality! They have SPM nicely embroidered on the sleeve.

If you finish before midnight you get a tiara and wand and those who finish after midnight received a pumpkin.

Our official time was 5:07:50 and 5:07:51. A lot slower than my 3:35:41 in Louisville!

Lessons Learned

  • Run with a Partner: I’m glad Trevor and I ran this together. Since they didn’t have a half marathon option he was forced into running the full 26.2 (his second marathon). We are considering it a training run leading up to New Orleans in Feb. Since the course was so dark, it would have been a lonely race if I tried to “go it alone”.
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  • Be Prepared with the Right Gear: I’m used to starting cold and warming up as I run. If you run at night this order is reversed. As temperatures dropped and the wind picked up I found myself getting really cold. Luckily I had my race jacket and gloves to keep me warm. The key to running in the cold is to dress in layers. Tie your jacket around your waist when the temperature drops you will be glad to have it.
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  • First Timers Beware!: This is probably not the best race for 1st timers because of the challenging course, lack of spectators, and lack of organizational support. I recommend first time marathoners to start with a bigger event (like the Rock and Roll Series Races).

If you are a veteran marathoner looking for a unique race with a good vibe and great swag then you will enjoy the SPM. My thanks to Brad and the other organizers of this event.


Also Mentioned in This Episode

Runner’s Gift Ideas

  1. The Road ID
  2. Injinji Toe Socks
  3. SPI Belt Endurance
  4. Garmin 10 GPS watch ($130.00)
  5. Hydration pack- Nathan Intensity Race Vest-
  6. Petzel Head Lamp
  7. Yurbuds
  8. CEP Compression Socks
  9. Hydra Pouch

Meeting MTA podcast fan Ashish (center) at the SPM


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