Thursday, June 20, 2013

SOGO Challenge

I have registered for the Timpanogos Marathon (or Sogonapmit Challenge)

The main race is the downhill Timp Half Marathon that starts way up American Fork Canyon at 6am so that it can be clear of a certain highway ramp by 7:30am. About 1,000 people run that race. The SOGO Marathon is just a side-line that started up two years ago and only had 69 people last year (capped at 100 people for 2013). You start at 3:30am at the finish line for the half marathon (American Fork High School) with a headlamp and a reflective vest and a 2-1/2 hour head start on the half-marathoners. The "challenge" is to get up the canyon and back down before the fastest half-marathoners can catch you.

The first half is steady uphill, with a 1,740 foot gain over 21.1km (13.1 miles), which is a far cry steeper than either of my first two half-marathon races (one of them was completely flat).

Morning Commute to Downtown

In addition to frequent runs of 5-15km, I have done morning training runs from my house to downtown Calgary that were 22km, 25km and 30km. I live at the top of the river valley, so it is all downhill from my house to the city center. One evening I finally did the homeward route. The elevation gain was pretty steady and came to 1,215 feet over a distance of 19.5km. Had I gone 21.1km at the same average grade, it would have only been 1,315km, which is obviously well short of the SOGO 1,740 ft. I averaged 12km/h for the run, which wasn't bad, given that it was in the middle of the night in brand-new shoes with nothing to eat or drink with me (I was working late and had planned to catch a train to the end of the line and run 6km, but there were no trains for another 20 minutes, so I just took off running).

When I finally registered for the race, I looked at the results from 2012 and was surprised to see that only 69 people ran it last year (compared to 1,000 who ran the downhill half). I found a guy who runs about as fast as me. His time in the SOGO was 3h26m. However, I found his results from another 2012 marathon (which probably had less incline) and he did it in 3h12m. So, apparently, this race adds another ~1 min per mile more than a flat race. Tricky. It makes it harder to pin down a target time. I think anything under 4 hours is going to be pretty good.

The fastest half-marathoner ran the downhill race in 1h10m in 2012, so to stay ahead of him you would have to run the marathon in 3h40m. So that will be my goal. Failing that, my secondary goal will be to finish my first marathon in under 4 hours. I think I can do that.

Bring it Timp.


Grandma Walters said...

How clever, Timpanogos spelled backwards!! When is the race??? You will be right close to our home!

Meg said...

Stumbled on this post while looking for info on the race. My brother and I will be running the SOGO as well. I think you are a bit faster than we are so we will just wave at you at the start line! Good luck!