Size, route are appeal of City of Oaks
Posted November 2, 2013
Updated November 3, 2013
Wake County, N.C. — It's not rational.
Getting up early on a chilly Sunday morning to run more than 26 perfectly drivable miles. Even running half that is a full-on physical feat. It's hard on your joints and hard on your heels.
So why do it?
"Because I can,” said Peggy Rose, 57. “I’m healthy. I want to celebrate that.”
Rose was among a record number of runners – 5,539 people from 45 states – who ran Raleigh's City of Oaks Marathon and Rex Healthcare Half Marathon.
Of those, 735 individuals completed the marathon course, led by Bryan Morseman, 28, of Addison, NY, who finished in 2:27:29. Sunday was Morseman's first City of Oaks marathon. He also won the Greensboro Marathon last week.
The women's champion, Kimberlie Meeker, 33, of Raleigh, was a repeat performer. Meeker, who ran a 2:50:08 Sunday finished more than 5 minutes faster than she did in 2011, when she also won the race.
Participants said the Raleigh event has an advantage over some bigger-name marathons.
"It's real easy to just come here in the morning, walk up to the start and run it. There aren't a lot of lines. There's not a lot of waiting," said David DeFranza.
Lauren and Mark McHugh said they were drawn to Raleigh's running event partly because the marathon it is capped at 1,500 participants.
"As opposed to having 40,000 runners and difficulty in getting around and all that, this was perfect," said Mark McHugh.
The course – which started and ended at the Bell Tower on the campus of North Carolina State University and took runners through nearby Cameron Village, Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South – also had appeal.
"I think it's really nice that half of it is on the greenway," said Lauren McHugh. "You know you're not only in the city."
Jamie Bashore-Watts drove from Fayetteville to run her first 26.2.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Bashore-Watts said Saturday. “I’ve never run one, so I don’t know what to expect. But I think it will be fun. I’ve heard this is a great marathon (with) a lot of support along the way. It’ll be good.”
Inside McKimmon Center at N.C. State, on the eve of the big run, fit-looking people looked for the right fit of shoes. Some studied maps of the route. The crowd included first-time marathon runners, and those way ahead.
Raleigh welcomes record number of racers Erv Love can’t say exactly how many marathons he’s run. The 69-year-old lost count around No. 46.
“I’m a little crazy, I guess,” he said. “It’s really a thrilling experience.”
The thrill, of course, is in the achievement. Even the attempt is enough of a high for 6-foot-6-inch Eric Olson-Getty.
“I’ve sort of let go of the outcome – or tried to – and just going to do my best,” he said.
From the N.C. State Bell Tower to downtown and through greenways turned gold by the season, the run is a real Raleigh experience.
“We have the kids’ mile just for fun,” race director Ron Wahula said. “The most joyous thing you could ever watch is those kids running.”
For some, that’s reason enough to wake up and run.