Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
4
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
4.5
The Sandhills Marathon begins near the west end of the Brownlee Road, where it meets Highway 97, between Mullen and Valentine. The Road, a one-lane blacktop, winds southeast through the Wamaduze Valley until it reaches the town of Brownlee (unincorporated), then runs east along the north bank of the North … MORE
Local Weather (Jun 08)
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H (°F) 79 88 87 95 89
L (°F) 63 64 58 58 58
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    Profile photo of Katie Starling
    starlingk2003 FIRST-TIMER '19

    So this is a race I discovered HERE. And, I'm glad I did. It was a unique way to check off the Nebraska box for 50 states!! Several things conspired … MORE

    So this is a race I discovered HERE. And, I’m glad I did. It was a unique way to check off the Nebraska box for 50 states!! Several things conspired to make this race not EXACTLY what I thought it would be when I signed up, but the Race Director did an incredible job rolling with the punches and dealing with what Mother Nature dealt out to him.

    The original course (which they had used for over a decade) had to be changed due to FLOODING. I was not at ALL surprised as I live in KS downstream of all the rain in Nebraska and we’ve been dealing with all the water coming from their water basin all spring! So I was glad it wasn’t CANCELLED, just re-routed. BUT, I was disappointed that the net downhill point to point course turned into a uphill (albeit gradual!) into the wind on the way out, and seemingly somehow NOT downhill (it was mind games by that point) in the heat on the way back!

    I have NEVER run a race that wasn’t chip timed before. This one was so small, they were out there with a stopwatch!! Which was pretty amazing. Oh! I have NEVER ran a race where the mile markers were so spot on! Which was incredible considering the course change! I saw no rattlesnakes (we were warned) but I did see a snapping turtle digging a nest in the sandy soil at the side of the trail, and I saw a little grass lizard and a toad. The SANDHILLS were so BEAUTIFUL!! and peaceful!

    This race was held on the same weekend as a river festival, and rooms were scarce (I did NOT plan ahead sufficiently), but I found camping in CITY PARK of all places which is nestled down in a creek valley, and only cost $5! Showers and flush toilets included! This was more than I could have hoped for and I was ecstatic.

    The people were friendly and helpful. Somehow I left my t-shirt size off of my registration?? I have no idea how I did that, but since everyone else had a shirt size I’m sure it was me and not the registration system. They found me a shirt anyway! I got a volunteer shirt which other than color was identical to the race shirt, and I love it. After the race they found me a race shirt which had not been picked up, but it is a size too big, and my teenage son (a runner too) confiscated it, and I assume we will be going back someday for him to run it! The tees are not technical, but are super soft, and how many tech tees can you really have anyway? (okay, given the option I would have selected a tech tee, but I really like the shirt I ended up with, and will wear it for other than running!)

    A pasta supper was included at NO ADDITIONAL COST for runners, ($10 for guests) and the race started and ended at a brewery (which I was surprised a town of 2820 even HAD). The beer was NOT included, but it was cheap ($4) and good! I bought a souvenir glass to take home.

    The most unique thing about this race is the fact that there is NO MEDAL. Instead you get an honest to god cowboy spur which is (sandblasted?) marked “Sandhills marathon 2019” It is so cool and different. And HEAVY!

    My mom asked if I would run it again. Since it was a 7 hour drive, I answered not by myself. If my brother or my son or someone else I know wanted to run it, I would recommend it, and I would go with them and run it again. But since I’ve now checked Nebraska off of my list, I won’t be driving up alone again most likely. But I WOULD like to try to run the original course as described on the website!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    bioprofsd FIRST-TIMER '17

    It's too bad that this marathon is so far from major airports, because more runners should really experience it. On the other hand, I got the feeling that the race … MORE

    It’s too bad that this marathon is so far from major airports, because more runners should really experience it. On the other hand, I got the feeling that the race director really doesn’t want this race to grow. My opinion is based on the fact that the main website of the race hasn’t been updated in years, registration closed early this year despite it not being full, and the race director took a hard line on late registrations and was extremely slow in responding to email communications. None-the-less, it was a well organized marathon run on a scenic and fast course. There was a free pasta dinner the evening before the race, there were plenty of well-stocked aid stations, the t-shirts were nice and well designed, and the finisher awards were real western spurs. Race morning started very early with a 40-mile drive to the shuttle pickup point. The bus took us uphill on Brownlee Road to the starting point. While waiting for the race to start, we were able to watch the beautiful colors of the sunrise over the prairie. The mainly downhill course was on a single-lane road that meandered down through a valley. There were some actual sandhills with native vegetation along part of the course, but most of it was converted to pasture. The course also took a detour through the tiny town of Brownlee, Nebraska, which added a little variety. One unique twist that was added by this race was the mobile porta johns. They had two of them on a flatbed trailer which was driven along the course in case anyone needed to use them. All in all it was well supported, and I would do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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  1. Races
  2. Sandhills Marathon & Half Marathon