Not the traditional athlete writing here but an employee of Enjoywinter. Last year with Covid an actual marathon with hundreds of runners and supporting crew was nigh impossible. Yet I still wanted to run one and I knew exactly who I wanted to run it with. I called upon my old track friends and sure enough, they answered the call. Without properly training and little thought as to the why we got together one morning and set out on a 26.2-mile run. With support from parents, we had everything a real marathon had. Aid stations, a group of runners, and something more. We all knew each other and had run with each other for years. A level of connection you rarely have with people you race against. The very nature of the run was impromptu, and the route reflected that. Made one evening it had never been run by any of us, and late in the course it took a fire road that could be best described as a combination of uphill and steep uphill. Bruised, battered, and breathing heavy we all finished the run to a grill out on the beach.
Fast forward a year and this race shaped what two of my friends did for the last several months. After getting our butts kicked by the race and a desire to become better runners, they went on a training program logging over 1500 miles between the two of them with the end goal to return to our hometown and face off once again. Sonner than we knew the second annual Moquah Challenge was underway, and this time we were prepared. Overall, my friends shaved off an impressive 34 minutes, finishing well under the goal of a sub 4-hour marathon with a time of 3 hours 51 minutes. As for myself, I also improved upon my time and most important to me, pushed myself to run harder than I ever had.
To me this race has embodied everything I love about running. The challenge of a particularly hard course, the comradeship of fellow runners, the simplicity of the sport, and a desire to push yourself and improve. Although I know we all will remember past marathons I also know that my favorite will always be next years. To continue improving, to continue old friendships, and most importantly, to continue running.