Welcome to our series - Multiple Marathon Monday. This series is intended to help the current and potential runners interesting in running multiple marathons out there in the planning and traveling of your series of marathons. Thanks for reading and good luck!
Multiple Marathon Monday – Two Marathons in 12 Hours
There are not a lot of marathon opportunities that would let you toe the line in two different marathons within 12 hours. Not only is it difficult to find races that would accommodate such a thing (one obviously has to be a night-time race), but you also are dealing with the travel situation (they must be races in reasonably close proximity) as well as dealing with the body fatigue of running two marathons in 12 hours. Is it doable? Yes! It all starts in the selection of races and today I want to help you with the options for one of the craziest multiple marathon feats – two marathons in 12 hours.
One of these is a marathon I have run before (well, I was actually signed up for the ultra, but the marathon is run on the same course and starts at the same time). The other one is a one that I really do not know anything about other than it fits within our parameters to run two marathons in 12 hours.
24 Hour Around the Lake – Friday @ 7PM
Even though the name states that it is an ultra, there are actually several races that are run concurrently to the 24 hour race. The races offered are 24 hour ultra (run as many miles as you can in 24 hours), 12 hour ultra (run as many miles as you can in 12 hours), the marathon, 24 hour relay (run as many miles as you can in 24 hours as part of a team of runners taking turns). All the races start at the same time, which is very nice for the runners participating in the ultra distances as you get the company of the marathoners for a few hours. The course is a 3.17 mile course around a lake in Wakefield, MA (outside of Boston). It is mostly run on sidewalks with no pedestrian traffic (until the morning for the ultra runners) and the race begins at 7:00PM! I have done this course twice (once as a 24 hour entrant, once as a 12 hour entrant) and I can tell you that the marathoners receive a lot more in aid station support (food, beverages, running support) than I have experienced at any other marathon. This is because you pass the start/finish line every 3.17 miles (with a water station at the halfway point).
The race itself is quite an event. It is really cool to line up for a marathon with the sun on its way down. Imagine – if you live in the Boston area, you get to work all day and then show up to run a marathon as a way to kick off your weekend! One of the nice things about it being an evening race is that it will get dark before you finish. This helps with the boredom of a small loop course. It also helps to cool you down (though I experienced high humidity both years at night) as the sun goes down. The aid station area has support crews for the ultra runners lining the entrance leading to the station (it is setup in the parking lot of the race headquarters hotel) as well as the roadway leaving the area. This makes for another interesting component as I have heard crewmembers listening to the Red Sox game on their radios along that path. This is a nice distraction to get to hear a portion of the game and catch a score as you make your way past (for me it was about every 30 minutes or so).
Here are the details about the race itself (note, the date is an educated guess for 2014 as they do not have one listed yet – however, it has historically been on that particular Friday):
- Date: July 25, 2014
- Time: 7:00PM
- Place: Wakefield, MA (about 20 miles from Boston Logan International Airport)
- Course Map: Map
- Website: Race website
- Race Reviews: Marathon Guide
Bear Brook Trail Marathon – Saturday @ 6:30AM
This marathon is one that I have not done (but I wish I had!). I love trail marathons and that this allows you to combine with a crazy attempt at two marathons in 12 hours makes it even better. One of the nice things about it being a trail marathon is that it will help to eliminate expectations on time. Running a trail marathon is very different from a road marathon and needs to be run differently. Your time on the road does not correctly correspond to a similar time on the trail.
One thing to note is that this is actually a little longer than a normal marathon. The race officials put the distance at 26.7 miles (so, technically, this could be the shortest ultramarathon ever!).
There are not a lot of reviews on this race, but if it is like many trail events that I have done, here are some things to expect: no crowds on the course, aid stations will be stocked with actual food instead of gu, there will be portions of the course will you will need to run single-file, each runner you will encounter will be a supporter for you and you will enjoy the camaraderie. I find that ultra-runners (which trail marathoners fall within as well) are normally a lot more friendly to competitors than you will find in road marathons (not that those runners are unkind, but there is a lot more of going out of one’s way to help on the trails). If you have never run a trail marathon before, this might be an interesting one to make your first (especially combing it with the 24 Hour Around the Lake marathon!).
Here are the details about the race itself (no date has been set, but I am basing my guess off of their chosen date for the 2013 race):
- Date: July 26, 2014
- Time: 6:30AM
- Place: Allenstown, NH
- Cost: Has been $26.70 in the past – can’t be beat!
- Course Map: Map
- Website: Race website
Combining the Marathons for our Two Marathons in 12 Hours Challenge
Here is where it gets fun – getting to the second one after completing the first one. The distance between the two races is exactly 57 miles which can be driven in a little over 1 hour. So, let’s assume you run the first marathon in a time of 5 hours. That will have you finish at midnight and you can be on the road by 12:15AM (there is not a lot of fanfare at the Around the Lake marathon when you finish – grab your medal and go). Since the roads will be pretty clear, you can be at the park area by 1:30AM. Now, the campground closes for entrance at 8PM, so you will need to either sleep in your car (done that several times before a marathon!) or stay at a hotel. The town of Deerfield is small, so your best bet would be staying in an airport hotel near the Manchester airport (just past halfway from Wakefield, MA). Another option would be to stay at the race hotel in Wakefield (that way you finish your race, drop in bed for a few hours and hit the road in the morning). If you are comfortable leaving before 5AM, that would be my choice. So, here are your hotel options:
- Lord Wakefield Hotel - the race hotel for the Around the Lake Marathon – located at 595 North Avenue, Wakefield, MA. This is a Clarion hotel so you can use Choice Hotel points (10,000) or pay for the room ($100). To get Choice Hotel points, you can sign-up for the credit card here (I do not receive a commission for this card)
- Manchester Airport Hotels - There are many hotel options there for you – including Sheraton, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Courtyard, Super 8, etc. Considering that this is only for a few hours, I would recommend booking it via Priceline or Hotwire to get the best value – currently showing prices of $60 but will get lower nearer race dates.
So, are you up for this challenge? Running two marathons in 12 hours would be an amazing thing. You will start your weekend by running a marathon in Massachusetts and finish a marathon in New Hampshire and ready to head home about 17 hours after your first race started! This would be something to talk about at your running club! And this does not have to be just for East Coast runners! With both races being near enough to Boston Logan International Airport and Manchester International Airport, you can fly into one and out of the other or fly in and out of just one. If you live somewhere east of Chicago, you could leave around lunch time on Friday and be home by dinner time on Saturday. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend! Are you up for it?
This is a repost of a previous article as I wanted to introduce some of these previous posts to my new BoardingArea readers!