Gettysburg North South Marathon Review
Taking place in the pastoral beauty of historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Gettysburg North South Marathon is a North vs. South Competition – Runners elect whether to run for the North or South and there will be a scored competition between the two sides. Race numbers and shirts are uniquely colored separately for the two sides.
The course winds its way through some spectacular rolling green hills, with more spectators than you would expect on a rural marathon course. The water/Gatorade aid stations were ample. History surrounds you as you run through the battlefields and takes your mind off your struggle to complete the 26.2 miles. This is a race for patriots no matter what part of the country you come from. Parking and transportation logistics to the starting line were well planned. There were plenty of port-o-johns. 2012 was the 2nd year for the race which was surprising considering how organized the event was.
The price for entry was $100. For a small race this is a hefty price tag. The roads were not closed to traffic, so even though it was out in the country side, every once and awhile you had to avoid cars. While there was plenty of water out on the course, there was no water available at the starting line. The shirt is horrible. The design is a shield of ink that would stop any sweat wicking and is about 11′ in diameter. Totally un-wearable. I understand why they created the giant circle of vinyl, they needed to print the design on several different colored shirts. They should read this post on screen printing.
I had a great time at this race. I found out about the race two days before it was going to be held. I called my friend Stein who is doing the same training as me for The North Face Challenge 50 miler, and talked him into running it with me as a training run. We had scheduled 36 miles for the weekend anyway so this seemed like a great opportunity to get a new bib and medal for the collection. Running it as a training run took all the pressure off. We didn’t have a taper in fact we ran 36 miles Tuesday – Saturday before the Sunday marathon.
If I had been running for time the hills would have freaked me out. The course is made up of rolling hills that are sure to get in the way of a serious shot at a PR. We were able to take the sights in and we even walked through all the water stops. The funny thing is we ended up with a respectable finish time of 3:40 with very little effort. Our training for the 50 miler was paying off.
The North/South bit was fun, but didn’t really come into play after we got shirts. North got Blue shirts and the South got grey shirts. Apparently, if we waited around long enough after the race we would have seen the part where they chose the winning side and handed out pint glasses to the victors.
Would I recommend the race to a friend? Absolutely! It is a beautiful course and the people were friendly. Overall it was a great running experience.
“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other,… but to be with each other.”
― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run