Chris Derosier's Race Report...
This past Saturday I ran in the inaugural Navarino Trail Marathon, located just a few miles south of Shawano, WI. This was the first year that they held a full & half marathon. They also had a 6k and a short race for kids, pretty much a distance for everyone. The marathon course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops, mostly on wide grass, dirt and sandy trails. This was the first time I had ever run there so the course was a big unknown. The race director sent me an elevation map a few weeks ago, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it must've been off a little (more on that later).
The race started at 8am with temps in the 30s and a hellacious wind whipping over the open areas. The course was marked very well with little red flags directing the marathoners (always follow the red to the right was my mantra). Aid stations were well stocked with Hammer Nutrition products and the volunteers were just fantastic. Not once did I have to go off course, they met each runner on the trail with whatever they needed. This was a "green" race, which meant each runner had to carry to carry their own bottle for fluids. I have to admit it was a little weird not seeing any little cups at any of the aid stations but it worked out very well.
The entire course was runnable, as evident in the winning times. Danny Dehlin, 29, finished in 2:53, a blazing 6:38 pace. Erica Lensink, 23, was the first female finisher in 3:37. During the first loop I remember thinking, "This course is just way too flat, where all of the hills?" Um yeah, by the second loop those "flat" hills really popped out of nowhere. My goal was to finish in under 4 hours and I just made it, hitting the line in 3:57:44. All in all I was extremely happy with the time. The top 3 in each group received..... wait for it, CHEESE! And wouldn't you know it, i was lucky enough that there were only 6 dudes in my age group and i squeaked by in 3rd. So later that night I got to celebrate with family over a block of good 'ole Wisconsin colby cheese.
The finisher's medal was unique (engraved wood medallion) and the t-shirt really soft, they definitely fit in with the "green" theme. After the race they served up elk and bison burgers for everyone, which went well with the IPA beer i smuggled into the nature center. The volunteers, course, swag and food were all excellent, I'd definitely sign up again!