Sunburst Half Marathon Race Report

Posted Jun 7, 2003 11:55 AM

Flashback: 1982

I was a 28 year old with mediocre running talent, caught up in the running boom of the time and running 10Ks almost weekly. Averaging about 18-25 miles a week, I managed to run my 10Ks between 7:00 and 7:30 pace. I made the decision to challenge myself and run the Historical Days Stampede Half Marathon in New Carlisle, IN.

Too few training miles and temperatures in the 80's made my planned pace goal of 8:00 impossible. I ended up walking a lot towards the end and finished in a dissappointing 1:51:30. That works out to an 8:31 pace.

Fast forward: 2003

After more than a decade of half-hearted attempts at running again that rarely lasted more than a few weeks or so, I finally got the running habit back and got consistent enough to start seeing real improvement. But dang! How did I get so slow? I set the goal of running the Chicago Marathon to stay motivated. Along the way, I decided to tackle the 13.1 mile distance again as a "checkpoint" as I worked on my marathon buildup.

Course Map The scene: South Bend, IN and the Sunburst Races - 5K Run and Walk, 10K run, Half Marathon, and Marathon. Mostly flat and fast courses starting at the College Football Hall of Fame downtown, scenic routes along the beautiful St. Joseph River, and a spectacular finish on the 50 yard line of Notre Dame Stadium.

As suggested by many, I had several goals in mind. 1. Finish. Barring a major injury or accident, I felt this was a given. No way was I not going to finish. 2. Break 2 hours. A reasonable goal that was fairly achievable with my recent race and training paces. 3. My dream. Break my old PR of 1:51:30. I knew that if things came together just right, I could do it. So how did the race go? Here's the rundown:


Mile 1---07:42.33--07:42.33 Oops. Too fast a start
Mile 2---08:09.99--15:52.32 Much better. If only I can hold this.
Mile 3---08:15.90--24:08.22 About right. Gotta cruise at this pace.
Mile 4---08:18.59--32:26.81 Doing fine. Still way ahead of PR goal.
Mile 5---08:30.88--40:57.69 Must have been that hill...
Mile 6---08:33.69--49:31.38 Talking with runner from Indy. The pace felt quicker.
Mile 7---08:37.50--58:08.88 Too slow. Gotta keep pushing
Mile 8---08:15.18---1:06.24 Alright! I can do this!
Mile 9---08:44.24---1:15.08 ...maybe not...
Mile 10--08:40.76---1:23.49 Losing too much time?
Mile 11--11:15.65---1:35.04 Big Hill did me in.
Mile 12--08:34.81---1:43.39 Decent recovery. Maybe if I can push hard enough...
Mile 13--08:02.46---1:51.46 Cruising to the finish, feeling strong.
.1 mi----00:49.11----1:52.31 Quick sprint to the 50 yard line.
Showing some finishing speed! So I missed an all-time PR by 61 seconds, but I obliterated the age-adjusted equivalent of 2:01:17, so I can't feel too bad. If the weather had been just a tad cooler, if I had done a couple more hill workouts, maybe I could have done it.

The Sunburst Races are great fun. If you are looking for an Indiana Marathon or a great race with unique start and finish, you can't go wrong here. The races are well organized. Water and Gatorade along the way is plentiful. Spectators aren't real numerous, but they're enthusiastic. The finish in Notre Dame stadium is awesome! You might even get a chance to hear your name announced on the PA as you enter the stadium.

All in all, a great day. Now I've gotta hunt for another race to try soon. This was great fun!

Tom . . . South Bend, IN