Spent Friday and Saturday doing my first Ragnar Relay series. 12 people on my team, 36 sections of the course (3 each), 200 mile run from New Haven to Boston. Tons of fun, very little sleep, super pumped to have done it. If you’re looking for something a little crazier than a half-marathon that’s not as intense (or as lonely) as a full marathon, I suggest you check them out. You divide your team into two groups that each have a van and the atmosphere is very much like being on a bus in a field trip back when we were in school. Pretty great. http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/newengland
I find the loneliness to be one of the most appealing things about a marathon.
^ Agreed M&E. I typically try to seek out marathons and ultras with the smallest entrance fields. Several have been 100 ppl or less. Pittsburgh was my first big marathon. I spent the first 10 miles just finding my happy place and basically visualizing all the times I’d run those same roads solo at 1 am (I’m a night runner, again, I like the quiet / introspective side).
I’ve never thought about running an event with a smaller field. I’ve only ran pretty big marathons (Dallas and NYC) but I’ve was able to find own pace pretty early on I also train alone but I go before work as opposed to at night. I find the quiet, early morning runs to be refreshing. I don’t even listen to music while running. Being alone with your thoughts for hours at a time can seem intimidating at first but I really enjoy it.
^ I always run with my earbuds in, but no music on. I like talking to other runners occasionally, but every once in awhile you’ll get a chatty weirdo. So I just act like my earphones are on. After the 2nd or 3rd time of taking my earbud out and saying, “I’m sorry, couldn’t hear you, what did you say?” they take the hint and move on.
Also, on smaller marathons with fields of 100, it’s not uncommon to run for an hour without seeing anyone else if you hit a sweet spot. Especially on trail marathons where the terrain pushes finishing times into like 6 hours for a 3:30 road marathoner you’ll go extended periods in silence in the mountains running through creeks and over ridges. Really really cool.
M&E, what state are you in?
Texas, hence the early morning runs. In the summer, it just doesn’t cool down in the evening.