The Mount Lemmon Marathon, 26.2 miles on the General Hitchcock Scenic Byway climbing around five thousand feet, was this Sunday and Marc Lacey, the Phoenix bureau chief for the New York Times was there to cover the largely one of a kind event. Other marathons could be considering more challenging, including one in Antarctica which apparently actually exists and is not an elaborate ruse developed by area scientists looking for laugh, but the entirely uphill nature of our absurd athletic event seems to be unique among marathons.
Some of the participants seem to be just taunting the lazier among us (the highlights of my Sunday included a trip to In-N-Out and waiting around for the Mad Men finale, for example):
Those who took part in the first Mount Lemmon Marathon ran the gamut, from weekend warriors to die-hard runners who no longer consider a run-of-the-mill marathon a challenge. With the glut of triathlons, ultramarathons and other such races, there seems to be more and more runners who need more than 26 miles to break a sweat.
“To be honest, I just decided two days ago to do this,” said James Miles, 25, the winner. It was only his third marathon, and the first one he won. His time, 3 hours, 13 minutes and 42 seconds, was more than a half-hour longer than his personal best, which he attributed to the steep inclines and thinner air.
Thankfully, the race went off without a hitch (the organizers had "10 ambulances on standby and a helicopter ready for medical evacuations", according to the Times) with no serious injuries and 394 finishers.