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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ten Reasons I hate the Mississippi Coast Marathon

1. I hate that I hate this race. It's dirt cheap, it's nearby, it's small, and it's got a homey feel. Both times I ran it I placed. But I hate it.
2. What the heck is it even called? Everyone calls it "Stennis" (it is on the Stennis station grounds) but that ain't its name.
3. The course makes you want to slit your wrists. Double loops of boring roads next to deserted highways. No spectators (Ok, this time I saw one family, twice - I was so glad to see them I creepily chased their little kid down for a high-five). After the half you're pretty much alone.
4. The director lies about nutrition. This is the second year in a row he has claimed that there was Gu on the second half and no aid station had any (yes, I asked).
5. The freakin' Gatorade is watered down. Last year the Gatorade was miserably watered down; a volunteer told me that someone didn't show up with half of it and they had to dilute it. Liars, again! This year it was just as pathetically watered down; you could barely taste it and instead of being neon colors it was just kind of off-clear. This was SO dangerous this year - the temps were high and the humidity higher and runners couldn't replace electrolytes.
6. The start is late. We started at 8:30. That sucks.
7. The course support is sucky. Here I am bashing volunteers again. I have never run a race in which the volunteers made you fight and scramble for your own water. This year was slightly improved, and some volunteers even called out, "Water or Gatorade?" which is always helpful. But by the second loop the stops were kind of ghost towns. At the last water stop before the finish, no one even acknowledged me - I helped myself while the volunteers played a board game!
8. The after-party leaves half the runners out. The average finish time for the marathon was 4:52 and that's skewed by the fast male winner (right under 3 hours). The beer was gone by the 4:30 mark; the food had been packed up and ready to go by 5 hours. The WATER was packed up at 5 hours! People who finished later than that were exhausted, wet (it had finally rained), dehydrated, and starving - and all they had was water from nearby water fountains. "Stennis" is a slow field, but the race doesn't take that into account.
9. The lack of support is dangerous. This year as I was getting ready to leave an older runner suddenly went pale and passed out. I ran over, elevated his legs, and noted his very feeble pulse and low body temp. I called EMS for the race, got his wife to bring me his sweats, and called for Gatorade. Guess what? We were out of Gatorade and water. He obviously needed sugars and electrolytes - his blood pressure was nonexistent - and we had NOTHING to offer this man. We were all out of food and drink. Luckily EMS was there...or not! The EMT assessed the situation and ordered ICE! That is the last thing this shivering, shaking, low blood sugar and low blood pressure runner needed! I got angry and told the EMT to shut up and go get glucose, and he told me that all he had was IV and he didn't feel like starting a drip. Nice. The gentleman had revived and someone had a spare Gu and a Poweraid; he sipped and started reviving. I didn't leave until his color returned and he could stand without feeling faint.
10. The photographers take crappy pictures. Joking.
What am I doing with my facial muscles here?! 
Caveat: Some people love this race, and they aren't divas like me (kidding. I'm not a diva. But Ginny is, you know, more hard core than me!)
Final word: If I mention running this race next year someone please kick me in the stomach and talk some sense into me. 
*Edit* - It would help to know that this race only costs $35 with early registration. Like I said, dirt cheap. That is, cheap for a marathon...pricy for what is essentially a long run with a long-sleeved cotton T. The T-shirt was pretty this year, though! 


  1. I've been looking for a "local" marathon to run in 2012... Guess this one is off my list!

  2. Totally don't do it. Run Baton Rouge beach the next was awesome in every way.

  3. That sounds awful! I think worse than any I've done. Bleh

  4. That sounds horrible! I will make sure to keep it off my list AND to kick you if you mention it! Also thanks for your encouragement re my next marathon! I may have other Qs for you later!

  5. OK. I know I need to back up and read more of your posts. This would be good for the race director to read. I wonder what/who the race fees go to, and how much they were.

  6. Wow, totally opposite experience. Finished two years ago with a Personal Best 3:20ish and was stunned to find jambalaya and free beer? I normally race in Atlanta, and a cooler of beer is something I have never seen at the finish! Also the Long sleeve t-shirt has some just crazy awesome artwork on it! I'm back again for tomorrow race and really looking forward to it. I did try to talk my family into coming and cheering because there really are less than 10 non volunteers on the course(They said no way). I would be genuinely surprised if there was a flatter marathon course in the US. The crown in the road as you cross the one 4 lane is the biggest hill you'll encounter... One of my favorite pieces of trivia about this race is the race director starts the race and is also the guy that wins it in under 3 virtually every year at 59 years old this year I think...

    1. I know a MS runner who likes the race, too. It's her favorite marathon. I ran it twice since my in-laws have a house in Bay St Louis, but I still despise it. Boredom city. The director ran both years, but didn't win both times; but like I said, this is a SLOW race. It's crazy flat, as you mentioned, but SLOW SLOW SLOW times. So of course he's winning. Heck, I won it, too, and I'm slow. But I will admit the shirt is usually unique...although commonly it has typos, too.