“Coach Lee” Simril, the third place overall finisher of the marathon length in the Scenic City Marathon and Half Marathon, shares his impression of the recent race, presented by Rock/Creek and The Vasque Project. Coach Lee’s wife Brenda also won the women’s division of the Marathon.
The Scenic City Trail Marathon was promoted as a fast trail race…
“The trails at Raccoon are fast and forgiving, making for a great leisurely race for new trail runners or a full-on speed fest for those in the hunt for the first state record for a trail race.”
This may be true, but if you expected this to be a 26 mile jaunt on a Rail-Trail or a gravel road, you were in for a big surprise. The trails at Raccoon Mountain are real single track trails. The climbs are not long, but by the time you start your second lap of the course you will know that you are in for a battle.
Race day offered sun and pleasant temperatures. Any of you that have done other races in the series know that we have been racing in rain more often than not, so the sunshine was a nice treat. Between the Half Marathon and the Marathon, over 250 runners had the pleasure of running on the fantastic trails on top of Raccoon Mountain.
The entire field started together, which made the race even more interesting because marathoners were forced to monitor their own pace and avoid getting suckered into an unrealistic pace set by the half-marathoners. The great turnout made the first lap very fun and exciting with lots of company along the way. Once we made the split to head towards the 2nd loop, the familiar loneliness and single-mindedness of the distance trail runner took effect. The venue atop Raccoon Mountain is a perfect setting to enjoy the outdoors and push you to the limits.
There were many highlights of the day from the course – weather, aid stations, swag bag – but it really came down to the hamburgers at the end of the race. Shortly after completing the race, my wife Brenda said she was not sure if her stomach was ready for food. She accepted a burger anyway, knowing that she needed the nourishment. I think it took her about 30 seconds to down the whole thing after the tentative first bite. This seemed to also ease the aches associated with the major digger she took while negotiating one of the steep downhills about 4 miles from the finish. Crossing the finish line covered in sweat, mud and blood, it certainly made for a good photo op. Another reminder that this was not a stroll in the park!
From someone that travels a lot to races like this, one of the great things is that this is a true mountain run that is located within 15 minutes of a major city. Chattanooga has nice hotels, food, tourist activity, etc. so you get a great trail race and are not stuck in the middle of nowhere. This is a must do race, so add it to your calendar for 2010.
See the full results, photos, and keep tabs on next year’s race details on The Scenic City Trail Marathon Web site >
About the author:
Lee Simril, USAT Certified Coach, USA Swimming Coach
Since competing in his first triathlon in 1985, Lee has had a passion for the sport. Lee was the captain of his soccer team at Brevard College and went on to run track at High Point College in N.C. He was a captain and MVP at the conference and district meets.
After college, he competed nationally as a Triathlete. Lee thought he would eventually get a “real” job and leave sports behind, until he met his wife Brenda. Brenda was equally passionate about endurance sports, and within a few years, they had formed a four person Adventure Racing team that won the United States Adventure Racing Association’s (USARA) National Championship.
Lee has coached Soccer, Masters Swimming, Youth Swimming, and Track and field for over twenty years. For the last thirteen years he worked for the American Bicycle Group (ABG), which manufactures Litespeed, Merlin and QR bicycles. During this time he worked with top athletes from around the world in the sales and design of wetsuits and bicycles.
Check out the Simril Multisport Coaching website to find out how you can “Reach Your Full Potential” through SMC for quality consultation and training www.simrilmultisportcoaching.com/default.html.
The next races in the Rock/Creek Trail Series have opened registration. Check out these upcoming races:
Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race
3 days of mountain trail running: 22 mile / 18 mile / 20 mile
June 19-21, 2009
Lookout, Raccoon, and Signal Mountains
Rock/Creek Stump Jump 50K
50K & 11 Mile Trail Running Race
October 3, 2009