It all started with a phone call on Wednesday afternoon. Julie and I were walking the neighborhood loop near our condo when I received a unique call from the Mississippi Blues Marathon elite race director. He said that due to some injuries, the Olympic Trials later this month, and some visa issues, some of their elite athletes couldn’t make it. As a result, they had some space open and based on my projected finish time ~2:45, I was offered some of the amenities of the elite athletes.
First reaction was one of being extremely flattered. We were thankfully able to cancel our hotel room we booked and instead got to stay in the hotel the race is putting up the elite athletes in. It’s really nice, our room overlooks the garden, and it’s within 200 yards of the start and finish. It’s also double the cost of our original room and paid for by the marathon. The room is great and when we got back from dinner, they even had mints on our pillows.
And we were included in the elite pre-race meal with all the top runners. It was a good pasta meal at Bravos! We had good conversation with race directors and volunteers, as well as top elite and masters runners. It was fun to share our story about our upcoming races too.
At the end of the meal, we had the pre-race conversation about how the course is marked, how the leaders will be taken through the course, and what needs to be done if you place in the money (the winner wins $4000). We have a room in the hotel for pre-race preparations and food as well as our own bathrooms. Needless, to say, it was a cool experience for all of us and has us motivated for the run tomorrow.
So the racing starts tomorrow and it’s starting off on a great foot. We have 5 marathons over the next 16 days and it all kicks off tomorrow. So wish us well and hopefully we can live up to our “elite” status.