Report: Virtual Marathon a Success

2020 Run for a Scholarship Marathon Adapts to Covid 19

J.B. Hoover’s Marathon video

No one showed up for the marathon, except the two of us and the birds.  At 7:00 a.m., Alton Baker park in Eugene was filled with geese, herons and mallards.  2019’s Bend Oregon Marathon, which began with lots of human activity and noise, was cancelled.  In its place, I chose to run my “virtual” Marathon on “Pre’s Trail” in the park.  Steve Prefontaine was a world class distance runner who trained in this same park in the 1970’s.  After his passing at age 24, this wonderful trail for runners was created.  It fit my needs perfectly.

The weather was cool and overcast, nice for distance running.  My strategy was based on a new approach to training, which focuses on one’s heartbeat rate (HBR).  The theory goes that HBR is better than pace as an indicator of how hard you are working because it is so individualized.  With just a few observations and calculations, I was able to feed baseline data into a program that generated a training plan for this marathon.  I did this back in February and strictly followed the plan.

Although I spent about the same amount of time training as my past conventional way, I trained much slower and with more variation.  This training focuses on laying a very strong aerobic foundation, basically building up the heart muscle.  I realized that in the past, I over trained (worked too hard), resulting in underperformance. My strategy for this marathon would be to maintain a HBR of no greater than 135 for the warm up mile, and then no greater than 150 for the rest of the race.  However fast I ran within these parameters, that would be my pace.  My heart would be my guide.

My Garmin watch would track everything, including HBR.  I began the marathon nice and slow and kept to the target HBR for the first mile (about a 13:00/mile pace).  Then I slowly began to increase my pace and something odd happened.  My HBR began to race into the 150 and 160 range.  This was not good.  Over the next 6 miles I made every attempt to slow my HBR by slowing my pace, even walking.  The moment I picked up the pace, it would race to those high levels. In order to adjust, my pace slowed to 14:00 min /mile pace, and even slower. 

I was really worried.  If this continued, I would be out jogging and walking all day.  After mile 7 something slowly began to change.  My HBR began to stabilize.  I tried slowly increasing my pace and this time my HBR barely moved.  I was afraid to increase my pace too quickly and so the next 5 miles were in the 13:00/mile to 12:30/mile range.  On my 5 mile next loop I continued to slowly increase my pace (12:30 – 11:15/mile range)  and still my HBR remained firm around 140. I continued this through to the end of the race, constantly increasing my pace, with my HBR holding steady and I was feeling fine.  My last mile, number 26, was my fastest mile of the race at 10:21 and I was still under 150 HBR. 

One always feels great after completing a marathon.  However, I physically felt different than after all of my previous 12 marathons.  I wasn’t completely exhausted.  At 60 years old, I was expecting just the opposite.  My hope is to continue to do the Run for a Scholarship Marathon for ARI until I’m 70.  I think I may have found the training program that will allow me to do so.

We are well on our way to our financial goal of a full scholarship of $17,480.   As of today we have received $14,234 which is 81% of our goal.  We are far ahead of last year’s pace.  Also last year we had a total of 44 donors compared to 88 different donors already this year..  We still haven’t heard from 17, 2019 donors who gave a total of $4768 last year.  If we get similar donations this year from this group, we will fully reach our goal.  

Thanks to all of those who have contributed, or will still contribute, to this year’s Run for a Scholarship to make it a great success.  If you would still like to support this year’s Run for a scholarship: 

1) Make an online donation by clicking Run for Scholarship  (In the dropdown box “Use my donation for…” please select “Run for a Scholarship)
2) Send a check to the address below and indicate “Marathon”.If you would like to still contribute you may do so by clicking here: Run JB Run