As this post/episode is released, I’m a week out from running the Pocatello Marathon in Pocatello, Idaho.
I’m not one for writing a detailed race recap of my performance on race day. So if that’s what you’re looking for…
Yeah, I’m not really that sorry.
What I am up for doing is sharing my perspective on the Pocatello Marathon as someone that has run the race.
What things does this race get right? Where could they improve?
So that’s what I’m doing today.
I’m giving the basics below, but the podcast will have much more detail (ie I’ll probably be rambling like a mofo). So if you want the full scoop, make sure you press play above!
(And if you’re not already subscribed to the show on your phone, get on it eh?)
The Pocatello Marathon
Here you go.
The good. The bad. And the meh.
If you’re coming in from out of town, travel to Pocatello isn’t too complicated.
I flew into Salt Lake City, and the drive to Pocatello was fairly easy. It is about a two and a half hour drive though, so that kind of sucks.
There is also a small airport in Pocatello, but I didn’t look into flying there as I assumed it would be much more expensive. But depending on what airlines it services and what the cost is, that could be a very convenient option.
There is a shuttle service that you can take from Salt Lake, but I just went with a rental car so I could get around Pocatello while I was in town.
If you’re staying at the host hotel, no car is truly needed. So depending on the shuttle schedule and cost, that could also be a very convenient option for travel to Pocatello.
Race Day Transport/Logistics:
The Pocatello Marathon is a point-to-point race, which in my view creates a bit of extra hassle in terms of race logistics, specifically related to shuttles.
While race day shuttles aren’t exactly my favorite thing to have to deal with, things did go quite smoothly.
All marathon runners were required to catch a shuttle (free) at/near the host hotel.
Half marathon (and 5k or 10k) runners had a couple of options. They could either drive to the finish line area or catch a shuttle from the hotel to the finish line area. From there, other shuttles were available to take runners to the start lines for the appropriate race.
After the race, there were also shuttles taking runners back to the host hotel that left every 30 minutes until well after the course was closed.
Bag check was available at the beginning of the marathon (not sure about the other distances). Each runner received a proper duffle bag at packet pickup, and that was the bag to be used to check.
The bags were transported to the finish line, and big pickup was a simple process.
The first half of the Pocatello Marathon is mostly downhill.
It was never overly steep to the point where I felt out of control, but if you’re not comfortable running downhill you’re going to struggle here.
There were a couple of uphill sections in the first half of the course, which were actually welcome breaks from the downhill, but for the most part, the first half is all about running down the mountains.
The views in this section of the course were great in that you get to see the sun rising over the mountains.
Once we got past the halfway point, the course flattened out considerably.
The half marathon is still a net downhill, but there are a few rollers, one bitch of a climb, and several flat sections as well.
The only real negative about the course, but it is a pretty big one, is that the roads aren’t closed to traffic.
To be clear, I never felt unsafe running on the open course. And most of the drivers were very courteous and willing to give me plenty of space.
There were also volunteers at most intersections that stopped all traffic and informed them that runners were on the road, but I did have to be aware of vehicular traffic during the Pocatello Marathon.
Packet pickup was a super smooth process and was held at the host hotel.
A couple of days before pickup, all runners received an email with our bib numbers.
At packet pickup, all you needed to do was give your bib number and you were good to go. (And if you forgot your bib number, no worries.)
Shirt, bib, and other “swag” were already loaded into a duffle bag (which served as the bag check) with your name tag on it. And you also got a sack of potatoes to talk with you as swag, because Idaho.
There was also a pasta dinner at the hotel, and yours truly had a roll in that as well.
Honestly, I’m not sure that packet pickup could have gone much smoother.
The post-race event/party was good as well, though I wouldn’t say it ran quite as smoothly as packet pickup.
The post-race party was pretty good, especially considering the size of the race (less than 1000 runners), but things could have been a bit more clearly labeled.
For instance, I struggled to find the bag pick up. (And I wasn’t the only one!)
The food was easy to find though, so that was nice!
The post-race event also featured massages (for a donation) and beer (which left a bit to be desired).
If you’re looking for the biggest/gaudiest race day medals, you’re going to be disappointed.
If you’re looking for a neat medal with a bit of a story, you’re in luck.
Before I spoke at the pre-race event, a gentleman from town spoke for a moment about the medals. And more specifically, the ribbon on the medal.
Printed on the ribbon are various phrases, each of which represents a certain segment of the course.
I wish I could remember all of the stories that were told, but to me, that is a cool twist on an aspect of the bling that is almost an afterthought in most cases.
And these days, with most medals trying to be as big and as gaudy as possible, a more reserved medal almost stands out because it is understated.
If you decide to run the Pocatello Marathon in the future, staying at the host hotel (Clarion Inn) is definitely the most convenient option.
There are a few restaurants close by, and there is a free breakfast (that actually isn’t bad).
That said, it’s not the only option.
There are several other hotels right in that exact same area that are easily within walking distance (only a few hundred yards at most) from the Clarion Inn.
And if you decide to stay somewhere else, you’ll still have no issues with parking on race morning if you need to catch the shuttle from the Clarion Inn.
When it comes to spectators, there weren’t many out on the course.
But there were animals!
If you have family that want to spectate, there are a few options available but transportation will be needed. And in all honesty, getting around as a spectator would not be considered easy/convenient due to the layout of this course.
The aid station workers were all great! I had my pack and some tailwind with me, so I actually only stopped at one aid station to refill my bottles. But every station was full of friendly volunteers and water/Gatorade (I think?) were available at every stop.
A few aid stations also had vaseline, sunscreen, oranges/bananas, and gus, but didn’t end up getting/using anything other than a fresh bottle of water at Mile 17. But if you needed something, there were plenty of aid stations and friendly volunteers ready to offer assistance!
Each runner also receives one free race day photo, with the option of purchasing additional photos for $5 each.
I really liked this race.
And not just because they paid me to come to speak, either.
This race may not be for everyone, but I will absolutely recommend the Pocatello Marathon.
And I could see planning a trip (on my own dime) back to Idaho in the future to run this race again.
Have You Ever Run Pocatello? What are Your Thoughts on This Race?
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