Here at the 605 Running Company we love ourselves a good race weekend. We look forward all year to the Sioux Falls Marathon and Half Marathon weekend. This is a premier race weekend for our city and we are thrilled to participate in all of the festivities. Today our staff members that participated in the race are sharing their experiences with race day.
From Store Owner Grant Watley: Half Marathon
This was my second time running the Sioux Falls Half-Marathon. This year, I used it as a training race as I am gearing up for my first marathon in Chicago next month and even with this being a training race, I still managed to set a new personal best by over six minutes! I loved the set-up for the course this year! The course was much more scenic than I anticipated and the crowd support throughout the race was phenomenal! The City of Sioux Falls really showed up to cheer on the runners! My favorite part of the race would have to be running through downtown. I’ve always loved downtown Sioux Falls and running on the street with no cars was a lot of fun. Plus, having coached at the University of Sioux Falls the past four years, all my USF Cross Country/Track kids were cheering on runners throughout the downtown portion of the race (A much needed area of encouragement for me during my race). I was surprised with how much more difficult the course was than I anticipated. I loved the course and there is very little that I would change about it, but I was not expecting quite the elevation changes constantly throughout the race. I look forward to seeing what tweaks they make to the course and meet next year!
From Store Owner Logan Watley: 1st leg of the Marathon Relay
The Sioux Falls Marathon Relay started as just a fun team building idea. At the time we signed up, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it 6 miles even; due to lingering injuries. The closer we got to race day, the more I think our entire store dreamed about being the first individual/group to finish the marathon course (no matter how far-fetched it actually was). For me, the day started at the 605 Running Company where I parked my car. I then jogged from downtown to the start line (2.5 mile warm-up) and did a little stretching. I have to say that I didn't think I'd like having the start inside, but it was actually pretty nice (at least for those at the front of the line, I hear).
I was surprised at how reserved all the marathoners were. In other marathons I've run, there is a sort of camaraderie that exists where you get to know some of the people that you will be spending the next 2-3 hours with, but this group was not the case. Regardless, the horn sounded, and I took off in the lead (obviously because I was only running a 10K while all the others were running 26.2 miles). It was a dark, cool, crisp morning, and being very first, I found the crowds just getting set-up out on the course, almost like I surprised them! I led for close to 3 miles before the lead marathoner passed me. It was then in the next mile that the lead bike (and the lead marathon and myself) found ourselves off the course. While the result was an additional half mile of running, we had probably been off course for a mile or so. I felt much worse for the leader who had prize money at stake than for my own time. Once we got back on the right path, there were still only a handful of marathoners ahead of us. By the time we made our way down Phillips Avenue, through Falls Park and to the first exchange point, there were only two marathoners ahead of me: the leader (who had been taken off course) and a gentleman who ended up finishing second overall, I believe.
From Assistant Manager Kelli Vasquez: 3rd leg of the Marathon Relay
My favorite part of my experience was the positive atmosphere and good vibes everyone was giving off. I started my leg of the marathon relay in a neighborhood on the east side of town, in front of a very nice couple’s home. The women was so excited to see a girl running, which I was confused about. She shared with me a story that she was part of the time when girls were finally allowed to run track. She told me about how they had to have paramedics on site because they were nervous that girls wouldn't even be able to make it around the track. It got me thinking that I have taken running for granted. That there was a time where women were not allowed to run and it was considered dangerous if they tried. Today, I just step out my front door and go, not even thinking how fortunate I am to run. I am thankful that there was a time that women took a stand for something they are more than capable of doing.
From General Manager Greg Koch: 4th leg of the Marathon Relay
I will never forget the 2016 Sioux Falls race weekend. For the past two years I’ve been getting to know as many people as possible within the running community. Fitting countless folks for new running shoes, chatting about different race experiences and training at the countless group runs across town. There is not another race in the area where I have as many direct connections with so many runners as I do during the Sioux Falls race weekend.
My morning started with our race wheelchair. I had helped introduce Jaren Armstrong to Ryan Wanless for the half marathon. We prepped the chair with some last minute tire pressure adjustments. Once the team was squared away Kelli, Jay Cheese, and I quickly dashed over to the start line to see our teammate Logan take off at the start of the marathon. My beautiful bride was running her first half marathon, so Kelli and I cheered our lungs out as that race got underway. We made our way through the 5k starters to my car and frantically raced to Kelli’s starting location.
After short wait Jay Cheese relayed to Kelli and she was off with the leader. Jay Cheese and I jumped into my car, took a quick pit-stop at my house (just blocks off of the marathon route) and darted off toward Sertoma Park my transfer location. Knowing Logan and Jay Cheese had gotten us off to such a hot start and that Kelli had been running amazing times during the 605 race series I began to feel a lot of pressure to represent my amazing team. Trying not to think too much about how fast my team was moving I worked though my dynamic warm-up drills and tried to relax.
It wasn’t long and the leaders were passing through the park – of note 605 Race Team member Daniel Black (3rd Place Overall). Kelli came flying in shortly after and with a quick high five I was off and running. It seems like not matter what the race is, every time I start running my legs feel like a ton of bricks. Even though the “feels” weren’t feeling right for me my first mile was blazing fast (near my mile PR). I settled into a steady cadence and the rest is sort of a blur.
What I do remember is almost immediately seeing sidewalk chalk for Sioux Falls Women Run. The ladies had a rocking water stop near the O’Gorman campus. After what felt like seconds I was hearing my name being cheered again; this time at the Sioux Falls Area Running Club water stop near the country club I think. After that I was soon turning onto Russle Street with the Arena in sight. I picked up the pace coming to the finish and absolutely loved the environment with the finish line indoors. With my 10k PR easily in the bag I was thrilled to see my teammates at the finish; our final time was 2:57:23. Most importantly I was able to connect with my family and get a full race report from my beautiful bride as she successfully dominated her first half marathon.
The finish area was wild and crazy! Everything happened so fast that I could hardly grasp all of the amazing things happening around me. I was so very proud of my home town throughout the weekend. I cannot wait to see this race continue to grow and get better each year.
Greg “PEPSI” Koch