Unfortunately, this marathon by this name and the chill island feel of the event no longer exists as I once knew it 😦 It was replaced by the Guam International Marathon in 2013 in an attempt to bring more attract more tourism and corporate sponsors. It was also expanded to include a half marathon, 10k and 5k event. It’s a little tough to watch your favorite small-island event running event get swallowed by corporate dollars and big companies, but I guess things change. At least I have the memories!
The original marathon was put on by my favorite running club, the GRC (Guam Running Club). The first marathon was put on in 1972 with 7 finishers. In the years I ran it there were 70 participants in 2009, 71 in 2010, and 85 in 2011. You ran the course pretty much alone. It’s very spartan in style, minimal aid stations offer water or gatorade, volunteer groups patrol the course to make sure everyone’s okay (no one collapsed or got hit by a crazy driver). The race starts at 4a.m. to beat the island sun and heat, but unless you finish in 4 hours or less, you’ll be running with the sun beating down on your back!
After the race, at 11a.m., there was always an awards banquet at the PIC hotel (Pacific Islands Club) where there was a paid-for buffet for runners and a slide show featuring a finisher’s pic of every runner. Family members and race supporters also came for the festivities. Attending these awards banquets are some of my most precious Guam running memories. The marathon finishers swapped stories over heaping plates of food, and we all winced as we got up to hit the buffet line over and over again. After eating and socializing, the GRC President (all these people were our friends, as the club is pretty small) presented a certificate to every finisher one by one, and afterward we all took a group picture. I think afterward, most of us went home and slept 🙂
Guam Marathon 2009, 3:47:26: This was my very first marathon, and I was 16 years old! After the awards I went home and slept for about 20 hours. I skipped school the next day, too. My training for this run was sporadic. I had no clue as to what I was doing, I ran one 15 miler with my dad (he wanted to quit) and one long-run of 21 miles beforehand with a training group. My parents were against me running the marathon, until I completed the 21 mile run (called Gate to Gate, a point-to-point run from Andersen Air Force Base front gate to the Naval Base front gate). When I ran that fine and finished smiling, they relented on one condition: I had to start eating more.
Guam Marathon 2010, 3:28:55: My second marathon, 17 years old. After my first marathon, I was hooked. I began training by doing weekly long runs of 20+ miles year round. My mileage was about 50-60 miles/week. I regularly raced 5 or 10ks on the weekend and started hitting the track for mile repeats to get faster. I definitely improved my time without much effort.
Guam Marathon 2011, 3:25:10: Despite this being my third time running this course, I had a pretty tough time. I had been living in Corvallis going to Oregon State University for 3 months by this time. It was very cold there, and I did not give myself enough time to acclimate to Guam’s hot humid weather as I flew to Guam with one day to spare and flew back to Corvallis the day after the run (flying after a run is very painful). Though I had been running up to 80 miles in Corvallis, continuing my training on my own, I had also started eating…. a lot. I put on at least 20 pounds if not more in a short time, and the excess weight + heat made me very uncomfortable. My time was still great, but I wasn’t very happy with myself.