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Wineglass Marathon Course Report

Wineglass Marathon is a nearly perfect race

Wineglass Marathon: The Boy Your Mother Wants You to Date

Fallback Point[1]: Mile 7


I freakin’ LOVE this race. It is hands-down one of my favorites. When asked about my favorite races, I’m usually all "it depends on the person"....well this is one race (of three) that is never a bad option for anyone. It’s also terrific for PRs. It is a scenic, gentle rolling downhill (feels flat), point-to-point course in a small town with predictable weather that errs on the side of ‘sunny and cool’ where you cannot get into trouble and would never really want to go on vacation or be tempted to bring the family. YOU CANNOT ASK FOR BETTER THAN THIS!

Worst thing you can say about it is that it’s steady and predictable. It’s the boy your mother wants you to date, which makes him lamer than a two-legged mare. The opposite of exciting is boring, but there is a WHOLE spectrum in between the two; it’s not necessarily a binary continuum. The best races for performance lie within that continuum.

The Course

There is a reason big races release course maps AND elevation maps; the elevation maps will show where the hills are (or more importantly, where the recovery ends), but the course map shows you where the turns are. You don't need to memorize it just be aware of the effects of dogleg (90 degree) turns and hairpin (160-180 degree) turns. There are 9 dogleg and 3 hairpin turns on this course.

Doglegs: The crowd will slow down to hug the turn (but not quite enough they practically brake at the last minute), then they will speed up too much. The phenomenon is called 'braking' and it will take a toll on your ankles. Be sure to lock your cage and consciously slow your roll when you see the crowd narrowing to one side of the road (meaning a turn is coming) and focus on slowly resuming pace accelerator-style (slowly but controlled, NO SPRINTING) when the turn is behind you.

Final thought on doglegs: the best strategy is to float to the center of the road and not get crushed by everyone trying to hug the turn. “Running the tangents” is one thing when you’re an elite at the front of the race with maybe 5 people, it is something TOTALLY different when you have 300 BRFs around you all trying to jump the turn. Avoid that crush and just slingshot around them with minimal energy change. Trust me on this, you may run .005 of a mile more than them, but you’ll conserve way more energy by just going around that mess.

Dogleg turns are located at mile 0.4, 1.7, 2.2, 13.5, 13.8, 18, 24, 25.5 and 25.8.

Hairpins are more complicated. Hairpin turns were named because they look like bobby pins- they are 180 degrees, practically a switchback. You have no choice but to slow down. You’re better off slowing down gently, like a decelerator, for about 10 feet before you hit the turn. Maintain a slow pace as you come around the turn and don’t start accelerating again until you’ve come clean around the other side. WATCH THIS ACCELERATION and don’t go crazy. Use this time for recovery and don’t worry about ‘catching up’. Done correctly and with no energy wasted, hairpin turns consume maybe 3-5 seconds of slowdown. Don’t waste 5% of your energy reserves to get those 5 seconds back until the finish line is within sight.

Hairpin turns are located at miles 21.5, 22 and 24.5 (Entering Painted Post, then entering Corning).

The Strategy

Despite all those warnings above, the first 19 miles of this race are very smooth and easy and uneventful. MAKE GOOD CHOICES. Do NOT decide to toss the race plan because you feel good in the first 2 hours, your instincts CANNOT be trusted in the first two hours! We don't go HARD until we have to, and we don't work when gravity is assisting us; we bank that assistance and WORK when it's time to work.

You have 3 dogleg turns in the first half hour, WHAT A GIFT. Those will force you to slow your roll and make good choices. Let everyone pass you. It won't be long before you pass them. You should start passing people around mile 7, because they will use too much energy climbing the first (SMALL!) hill at mile 5 to maintain pace, and won't use the downhill for recovery. They will burn out. You won't because you locked your cage[2] on the way up and let gravity assist you on the way down. The rollers continue until mile 9.5, and at that point most of the walkers will have ‘fallen back’ and you’re golden until mile 21 as you enter Painted Post.

(Note: there is a small burp right before Mile 15. It’s NBD. Just lock your cage, sit into it and enjoy the recovery on the back end. This is the last hill until mile 20, when you have a small rise until mile 22 (it won’t be visible or noticeable, you won’t sense that you’re running uphill per se but may feel tired quickly) and a final, insulting burp at mile 25.8.)

As you exit Victory Highway at mile 21 and come into Painted Post there are 9 more turns between you and the finish line, you STILL need to slow down as each turn approaches, just not *as* dramatically as you did in the first hour. These won't kill your finish time because you read this and remembered to HOLD BACK since that first hour will feel effortless. You will dodge LOTS of walkers in those final miles, BE CAREFUL. Stick to the middle of the road as much as possible. The second dogleg near the finish will take out anyone who hasn’t conserved well.

Do not EVER let yourself think, "I am BEHIND!" because that is a signal that you are about to make a really bad decision. Picture me on your shoulder yelling 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" if that pops into your head!!

YOU GOT THIS. It's a great, gorgeous race.

[1] The “Fallback Point” is the point in the race when everyone who went out too fast starts walking. It feels like you are pulling away as the people you were running with start falling behind you. Generally speaking, if you run a smart race, this is the point past which no one will pass you. In fact you will start passing pretty much everyone. This is a mindgame- you will feel strong relative to their weakness and will be tempted to speed up and pick people off, RESIST THE URGE.

[2] To find out how to lock your cage, watch the first few minutes of this video:

MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she trains runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular Marathon plan, Tenacious AF, free!

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