I ran the Pocatello marathon in 2013. I was supposed to run it in 2012 but I had emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed one week before the marathon! It was incredibly disappointing to not run it after all the training I had put in. It was nice to redeem myself in 2013.
Pocatello is a small town but this is a top of the line marathon. There are a lot of good things to say about it. The price of this race is an incredible value compared to what you get. The race bag, personally tagged with your information, was an Adidas sling bag (very cool!) and you get a sack of potatoes (very Idaho). Actually, the volunteers told me to take more bags of potatoes since my kids were doing the kidsвЂ™ races. On that note, I would like to say that all the volunteers, people working the race, and even residents of Pocatello were incredibly NICE. There is such a warm, pleasant, and courteous vibe there.
The bus ride to the starting line went smoothly. The buses ran on time and were comfortable.
We arrived at a random farm that served as the starting line. There were plenty of port-o-potties. It was a fun feeling being gathered with a bunch of runners at this out-of-the-way spot in the dark.
We started the race running downhill. In fact, the first half of the marathon is downhill (with small exceptions like a short out and back). My plan on the downhill was to run close to my target pace but run comfortably. I didnвЂ™t want to expend energy trying to slow myself down. I believe this worked for me because the effort felt the same as the effort I give during an easy run. I can see how the downhill can lure people in to running faster than they should.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful as the sun came up. Many times I just looked around as I ran and enjoyed it. I heard a turkey gobbling at some point which made me chuckle. The weather was also perfect.В
At 13.1 the half marathoners line up to start 1:45 after the full marathoners start. RJ did the half marathon and I gave him a fist bump as I ran by. I can see how having all the runners start on the course at staggered times could be frustrating for some runners. If I didn’t run past the half marathoners before they started, I could have been caught up in a larger group of runners. This doesn’t bother me too much but I can see how some may not like this. The only thing that bothered me was when I caught up to walking 5k/10kers and had to run around them when I was really feeling worn out at miles 23/24. Although it didn’t bother me too much because I ran around one group and they said encouragingly, вЂњGreat pace!вЂќ Like I said, everyone is so nice!В
The second half of the race is much flatter and thereвЂ™s a decent hill at mile 21 that took a bit of wind out of me.
The aid stations were well stocked with provisions and enthusiastic helpful volunteers.
The finish area is a beautiful park. The post-race provisions are excellent. After rehydrating and a few bananas, I couldn’t resist a pulled pork sandwich. There were some other cool things at the finish like bounce houses for the kids, massages, and vendors.В
After I finished and rested for a bit, they held the kidsвЂ™ races. I love it when kidsвЂ™ races are held. I think it gets the whole family involved. It also promotes an active lifestyle, especially running, for kids. Two of my kids did the вЂњ.2вЂќ race. They had an absolute blast. For the finish line, they ran through the mouth of an inflatable tiger head (the ISU mascot). Each kid got their own medal and a slice of pizza. Which do you think they liked more? With the registration, each kid also got their own race tech tee and sling bag (not the Adidas one). This is such a value for a very inexpensive kid race.
My oldest child did the 1.5 mile kid race. She is 8 years old and felt like вЂњ.2вЂќ was too short. I guess she already has the runner mentality! This race is timed, as opposed to the .2 race. For this race, they get to run through the actual finish line. It is fun to see everyone on the sidelines cheering for every kid.
My kids ended up using the bounce houses until the workers took them down. Meanwhile, I got a massage from a DoTerra booth.
Overall, there are so many good things to say about this race. It also helps my attitude that I set a PR on this race. There is such a great atmosphere. I ran with many friends and family (including my sister-in-law for her first marathon). The fact that the race is held on Labor Day weekend really makes it convenient too. I hope to do this race again in the future.