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Friday, June 2, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 268, Living life on my terms.

Bill Pekarski:

Day 268, Living life on my terms.

This weekend marks the 43 annual God’s Country Marathon. Known as one of the top 10 toughest courses in the country, as well as the toughest one on the east coast, our little marathon often garners national attention.

The race is based mainly along Route 6 through Potter County from Galeton to Coudersport. Those of us who are from the area realize that what makes this race so grueling is the 3 miles that start from mile marker 15—Denton Hill, from the bottom to the summit.

So after already running for more than half of the marathon’s 26.2 mile trek, you have to climb to the peak of the Allegany Mountains in our area. That’s three long, uphill miles and then it’s all downhill from there.

This year, there has been some adjustment made to the course as road construction makes having the route go through downtown impossible. The new course ending will turn onto Park Avenue by the Montessori School, go down to Mill Street, turn from Mill to Ross Street which they will follow up to Dwight Street and around to the front of the high school where the finish line will be located.

It was also decided to have the “Conquer the Grill” competition moved to the high school as well. It would be wonderful to see all of Coudersport come to cheer on the racers as they approach and reach the finish line and stick around for a world class Bar-b-Que cook-off.

Many of the athletes who have run the marathon return year after year to run the course. Many of them have just fallen in love with our area and enjoy everything we have to offer. They visit shops and stores, stay in hotels and motels, eat at local restaurants, and provide an economic boost to our area. Many of them have bought camps and vacation properties so that they can be regular visitors throughout the year.

Understanding the history of marathons provides insight as to why it has become so important to our culture. With the reinstitution of the modern day Olympics in Greece back in 1896, the final event of the games was a race from the town of Marathon to Athens, ending inside the great colosseum. It was designed as homage to the Greek story of Pheidippides. In short, Pheidippides was a Greek soldier/messenger and after a battle in the town of Marathon with the Persians, he ran all of the way to Athens to inform leaders of the victory. He died shortly after delivering his news.

The Americans in attendance at the games were so moved by the deeper meaning of the race, they took part in spearheading the first Boston Marathon one year later. Today, the God’s Country Marathon is a USA Track and Field sanctioned event and certified course, as well as a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.

Those who choose to run the marathon demonstrate a huge degree of dedication and spend a large portion of their time training for the race. It is wonderful to have people come out to cheer and applaud for them as they reach the course’s end. It is another way that we can pull together as a community and show everyone how extremely proud we are of Potter County while recognizing the runners accomplishments.

A few years ago, we got to witness the breaking of an actual world record at our marathon. Five runners ran the entire race tied to each other by a short piece of rope. They matched each other’s pace and shaved quite a few minutes off of the previous record. Their accomplishment was certified by Guinness and witnessed by one of the original record holders from Europe.

It is fun to walk around and talk to the runners. You would be amazed at how many marathons many of them have run, as well as how many times they have run our race. It has truly earned a spot in the history of marathons.

Today I want to dedicate my progress to all of the runners of this year’s God’s Country Marathon. May each of you find success and reach the glory at the end of the race.
The men photographed above are the ones who broke the record


Anonymous said...

you may be too young to rember when the guy from philly had the tshirt that said dildine on the front and the running shorts that said feckless oaf on the butt. then there was the lady who crashed the marrathon about 24 miles into it and everyone at carp thought she won and set a new world record. then the time they were running up park avenue and had to stop cause a bear was in the road by the libary. then the guy and gal that pushed their kid all 26 miles in a carrage. lots of stories. you should write a book about the marrathon.

Anonymous said...

I think the shirt and shorts were pretty self-descriptive of that first guy you mention. And anyone who crashes a marathon is more than hanus. As for the bear, that's just another day in Potter County. Pushing a baby 26 miles might not be the best parenting model in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Boy poster 3:40 your a negative one aren't you

Anonymous said...

When is this year's marathon? I have been watching the papers and do not see anything about it. And by the way 6:18 it IS hanus to crash a marathon and pretend you ran the whole race. How can you defend that.

Anonymous said...

The stories that come to town with the runners and their support teams are amazing. The guy who had his 1 beer with his spaghetti dinner who calls it the "perfect carb load", the guy who pushed that baby stroller through the race was amazing....and by the way ...family was always closely watching his progress and the well being of dad and little one, the older lady from PoCo who always finished, and we always waited for her to finish, the pride you have when you see hometowners complete the race, the work, dedication, and organization that goes into the race and the many people who make it a success, runners who tell you this is their favorite race because Coudy is small town friendly, the people who genuinely thank you for your help....the list goes on and on. Its an event to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Do they have a date yet for it? If they have a Tshirt with Dildine and God's Country Marathon on the front how can I get one or do you have to run in it?