Mount Desert Island Course Report
Mt. Desert Island Marathon: If you like hills, you’ll love this race
“Is the dress blue or purple?”
Depending on who you ask, this is either THE hardest, THE prettiest or THE easiest marathon in the USA. A perennial favorite of competitive racers in the northeast, the popularity of this race exploded in 2006 when Runner’s World declared it one of the “Most Scenic” and “Best Overall” races. That gorgeous scenery might explain why no one ever talks about the hills; if you aren’t prepared they will be brutal. You’ll be thankful for all the high knees built into your plan!
The course doesn’t mess around- from the get-go you are running uphill. Remember to lock your cage and sit into the hills, letting your glutes do the work. THESE HILLS ARE GIFTS. TREAT THEM AS SUCH. These hills will keep you from going too fast in the first hour, but if you don’t use the downhills for recovery you will burn out really quickly. Sit into the downhills and let gravity do the work, mind your pace and don’t let it get out of control and CERTAINLY don’t push. Conserve your energy for later.
The steepest hills provide equally steep recoveries, so seriously do not worry about ‘losing time’. I promise you, if you start thinking that way you will make bad decisions and burn out. You need to conserve your energy until the sharp incline that defines the space between miles 17 and 18, then the hill at mile 21.5. It’s straight uphill until the 25-mile marker then a dead 1.2 mile steep drop to the finish line; you’ll feel like you are flying!