Friday, October 30, 2015

Preview: 2015 Day of the Dead Series

Over the next four days, I’ll be running the Day of the Dead Series in Las Cruces, NM.  This is a series of marathons on consecutive days.  It’s a seven day series, but I’m only doing the first four races.

The Day of the Dead Series is sponsored by Mainly Marathons, which has several multi-day race series around the country.  Most of them involve running in a different state each day.  Unlike those series, Day of the Dead is run on the same course every day.

This series was originally a four day series, with all of the races in Las Cruces.  In 2013, race director Clint Burleson experimented with moving two of the races to neighboring states.  That year, the first race was in El Paso, TX, the second race was in Wilcox, AZ, and the last two races were in Las Cruces.  He made the change to see if more people would be interested in running the series if they got to run in three different states.  It didn’t seem to boost attendance, so in 2014, he moved the whole series back to Las Cruces.  He also expanded the series to seven days.

I ran this series in 2013, but I skipped the Arizona race, so I wouldn’t have to do as much driving.  I signed up for the first four days of this series, so I could do a quadzilla in New Mexico.  At the time, I was thinking of doing quadzillas in as many states as I could.  I’ve already done quadzillas in Oregon and Washington, and I know of quadzilla opportunities in Texas, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee and California.  Since then, I’ve realized I need to cut back after this year, so I’m not sure if I’ll ever pursue that idea.

The course is a short out-and-back along the Rio Grande that we run 12 times.  While running the same route over and over may not sound exciting, these races are all about camaraderie.  You see all the other runners on each lap, and you see most of the same people each day.  In the evening, we sometimes go out for dinner together.

This series is an annual event that always begins on Halloween.  Sunday’s race is called El Maraton del Rio Grande, and it’s usually the best attended of the series.

This series has easier logistics than any of the multi-state series.  I flew into El Paso this afternoon.  From there, I had a one hour drive to get to Las Cruses.  Now that I’m here, I can stay at the same hotel for every race.  I’m already familiar with the race venue.  It’s about five miles from my hotel.  Starting at the same time each morning will let me settle into a familiar pre-race routine.

These races don’t have any time limits, so I don’t have to worry about being too slow.  I’ll run at whatever pace seems manageable.  If necessary, I can walk the whole way.  I’d rather finish faster, so I have more time to recover, but I’ll take it day by day and see how it goes.

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