Marquette Marathon Michigan 2016

by Joanne on September 5, 2016

It seems the week of a marathon I get completely miserable, depressed, and anything to worry about I will worry about, not even marathon related.  If I want to continue running these 26.2’s, this has to stop!

Ted and I set out for Marquette Michigan on Wednesday September 2nd for a two day drive with Zoey and Luke to Marquette.  We took the shorter of two options, going through Canada.  As long as we had puppy papers, rabies tags, etc. and our own passports (enhanced license), we were set.  Custom’s officers didn’t even check the dogs. 

We arrived at Days Inn (very pet friendly) in Marquette by 2pm Thursday afternoon.  Got things started with introducing the staff to SpecialK. Fun to snack and great to energize!  *We haven’t stayed at too many Days Inn before but I have to say, this one was excellent! They made staying with our two dogs super easy. It was clean and everyone was over and above friendly. 

Days Inn Staff SpecialK

The weather was perfect and just kept getting better. We really lucked out on this trip.  Mornings started out in the 50’s but by late afternoon, we enjoyed mid to high 70’s.

Blues Fest in Mattson Park was setting up Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Located right on the water front.  This was an area we took the dogs every day. It was gorgeous.

Pre Marathon Fri Fun at Blues Set up

Munching on SpecialK! #sponsored

Ore Dock Big

Ted Luke Zoey at Ore Dock

We enjoyed – inhaled our late lunch at Hudson’s Thursday after arriving and unpacking, then skipped dinner because we were so full.

I should have done a 2 mile “shake out” run Friday morning but my head was filled with stress and worry due to my father’s failing health and my sister having to take care of it all on her own. I felt guilty for being so far away and helpless for not knowing what to do.  Instead of running, I walked the dogs then had a good cry.  After picking myself up and talking myself into getting on with the day, we headed out for breakfast.

Breakfast Friday morning was fresh and delicious at Sweetwater Cafe on Third Ave. An egg white omelet with fresh made rye bread.  From there we attempted to drive the marathon route which was impossible because the marathon would follow the Iron Ore Heritage Trail which was foot/bike traffic only.  We did peruse the starting area at Cliff Mines Museum in Ishpeming.  The marathon would leave the mine parking lot going right up a short incline, left and right on to the trail. 

Cliff Mines Start Friday

Starting line area at Cliff Mine Museum.   The dogs enjoyed some Frisbee toss and ball throw while the guys in front of the museum enjoyed the dog chase entertainment.

Cliff Start2

Iron Ore Trail

Iron Ore Heritage Trail

Since we couldn’t drive the route,  We meandered back toward town and picked up the route at McClellan Ave. where the trail enters Marquette city limits.  We then followed along from miles 15 to Founders Landing (Lakeshore Dr.) turnaround (16 – 17) then up to Presque Isle and back down to Fair Ave. and finally up that painful incline to the finish line on Third. 

Friday Pre-Marathon:  Lunch at Sol Azteca, a busy Mexican restaurant over looking the lake.  A little risky for pre race meal but good.

Sol Azteca Mexican Lunch

We took a short rest back at the hotel then thought about the evening meal, opting for one of the few Italian restaurants listed on “Yelp”, The Piedmont at Landmark Inn right in the city of Marquette.

Piedmont Landmark Inn

It was casual.  We were disappointed as it didn’t compare with the Utica Italian we are used to. No bread and limited pasta with fish. Everything seemed to have pancetta added to it. Not appealing to this vegetarian.

Roasted Beet Salad

Beet Salad with hazelnuts and goat cheese.

Salmon Tapenade Marinara

Salmon Tapenade but no tapenade since I didn’t want to do olives. I asked them to serve it with just a little marinara sauce.  Around the side of the pasta were more hazelnuts. Not impressed but it filled me up.

The dogs were with us the entire time.  As each day smiled on us with beautiful sunshine, the days got progressively warmer making it difficult to do anything but leave the truck for short periods of time, supervised, motor running with air on.  Still, we made the best of it in spite of my father’s health situation.  Daily reports from my sister confirmed how bad things were getting.  Being 91 years old is tough to say the least.  This was torturing me.  Should we leave and go home so I can be closer if something happens or should I stay and hope things get better?  I decided to stay since if I went home, I would only sit and wait in Utica as opposed to being in Marquette.  Besides, my sister was keeping me updated and I knew if anything was to be done, she would be there.

I laid out my marathon clothes for morning.  SpecialK empowered

Ready with SpecialK

A night of tossing and turning and dogs whining (Luke was not on his regular schedule and decided he wanted to go out at 1:30 am most mornings), the alarm went off at 4:30.  I reluctantly ate a Clif Bar in the bathroom as I didn’t want to wake up Ted.  When I went back on the bed, I felt sleepy and didn’t trust that I would stay awake. Stayed busy by taking Zoey for a walk then Luke.  Dressed slowly, put some SPECIALK on the table in the lobby for other marathoners and packed my clear drop bag with post marathon sandals, Kellogg fleece, etc. Took a 5 hour Energy at 5:30 am. Ate 1/3 of a banana at about 6 am. Finally it was time to leave the room at 6:30 am.  Instead of taking the bus at North Michigan State College Berry Center, Ted drove me up to the Cliff mines. It took about 25 minutes. We stopped at McDonalds for a “necessity” stop.  On the way in I ran into a lady who had slept in her car for 3 hours, coming from Chicago.  She said she was running and it would be a very rough day. 

Dropped off at the start, It was 55 degrees. Temperature at the finish was expected to be about 76 degrees and sunny.

730 start line

With 5 minutes to go, I handed over my drop bag.  We were off.  I did not want to do this!  The feeling of not wanting to run was intense. But I was there and the only way to get back was to run it so off I went.


I took it easy but was on pace from miles 1-7 hitting a 8:59 to 8:35 pace over the little bit of rolling terrain. Ran a couple of miles with a local named Nina. She had run a 50K two weeks earlier. She was strong and the conversation was entertaining.  After the 10 mile point, I ran ahead of Nina.  My pace was good at 9:01 to 8:24 during the long miles of down hill running.  At mile 19, my pace slowed with a whopping 10:27 at mile 23 when the sun got to me running to and from Presque Isle. 

During miles 14 through about 19, a gal running in front of me had such bad BO, I was getting ill. I tried to slow but she kept asking what our pace was. She would slow with me, clearly wanted to stay pace with me. After about 3 miles, I gave up and figured it would be a good thing to keep pace together even though no conversation was exchanged.  Grateful to her for keeping me on pace at least to the 20 mile point when I ran ahead.

At mile 16, we ran past the Farmers Market.  From then to 18, we ran along the water front then past where the Blues Festival was set up in the park.  From 19 – 25 it was up and back to Presque Isle.  This was tough. No shade. It got hot. We were passing faster runners on their way back.  Once in the Presque park from 21 through 23, there was nice shade.  It was quiet with a short but welcome down hill.  During this time, Nina yelled from behind me, “You got your down hill Joanne!”  She passed me at mile 24 and I tried my best to hand on to her through to the end.  Thanks Nina!  You got me there! Then back towards town.  The turn at mile 25 1/2 to Fair St. then onto Third was tough.  Third street was a long incline from which the runner saw the finish line from the bottom but it never seemed to get any closer.  Still, no walking, just run. After all, this was it. It was the finish. Keep going and done! 


Ted met me at the bottom of Third St. and we walked to the cars where the dogs waited in air conditioning, pleased to see me.  *That SpecialK shirt got a lot of attention. Folks love their Special K!

SpecialK finish


I felt pretty good, a little stiff after sitting but pretty good.  Took a quick bath then found out I was 2nd in my age group.  We let the dogs stay in the hotel as we went back to the finish line to enjoy a brewski at Blackrock Brewery where the post race party and awards ceremony was being held.

Black Rocks Brewery at Finish

Ted at Black Rocks Brew.

Race Stats:

23rd Marathon Finish.  Chip time was 3:54:30.  Time at the half was 1:55:40.  Pace 8:56. Overall rank was 133, 44 in my gender and 2nd in my age group.

Podium finish1

2nd Place prize was this nifty coffee mug!


Mile by mile:

8.59, 8.46, 8.35, 8.44, 8.50, 8.54, 8.42, 9.01, 8.55, 9.06, 8.50, 8.29, 8.33,

8.24, 8.26, 8.54,8.54, 8.48, 8.48, 9.02, 9.17, 10.27, 9.13, 9.10, 9.18, 9.02

The first ten miles are fairly straight with a slight decline.  At ten and a half, the course allows the runner to feel pretty good as there is a nice decline to the 16 mile point.  From 16 on the course is flat with one little hurdle at Presque Island and the toughest incline to the finish line on Third street.  From miles 16 to Presque Island there was no shade. It was very sunny and getting warm.  There were very few spectators along the entire course but water and Gatorade stops were frequent.  Energy gels were offered at 2 aide stations.

The course is quiet. It’s a trail run without anything technical.  A simple narrow path that is either paved or graveled.  A lot of runners opted for ear buds.  If you enjoy a quiet run when you can lose yourself in thought, this course is for you.

Ted and I enjoyed the gorgeous weather after the race, listening to the Blues music outside the festival because we had the dogs. 

Luke and Jo at Blues Fest

Jo and Z at Blues Fest

We had to take a photo of the huge ore dock.

Ore Dock

Then enjoyed an Ore Dock brew.

Ore Dock Brewery

Nice marathon.  Fairly fast course. Great local folks. 


Next marathon is Hartford Connecticut on October 9. I’m undecided if I will run or not but at this point, I’m signed up.  We’ll see what the coming weeks bring.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • At 2016.09.08 05:07, Tina@GottaRunNow said:

    I just happened to finish eating Special K as part of my pre-long run meal! Do they sponsor you? Congrats on your finish time and 2nd place finish in your age group!

    • At 2016.09.11 14:39, 2016 Race Schedule said:

      […] September 3, 2016: Marquette Marathon MI. My 13th state and 23rd marathon.  3:54:30 1st in age group. Details HERE. […]

      Previous post:

      Next post: