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@sskoonce

Menlo Park, CA Raving since 2018 Boston Marathon finisher, World Marathon Majors Six Star hopeful/finisher, Seven Continents Club Active 4 months, 3 weeks ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Tattersols

  • Rave race:

    Comrades

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Comrades….again

  • I run because:

    it brings me so much joy

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
89.9K Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Jun 11, 2023 10:44:01
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 8, 2023 3:57:05

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (22)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Mesa, AZ Feb 10, 2024 3:59:04
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 8, 2023 3:57:05
89.9K Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Jun 11, 2023 10:44:01
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 17, 2023 4:10:00
Marathon Ventura, CA Feb 26, 2023 4:05:58
Marathon Big Sur, CA Apr 24, 2022 4:29:36
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 18, 2022 4:21:09
Marathon London, United Kingdom Oct 3, 2021 4:04:17
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 8, 2019 4:23:41
Marathon London, United Kingdom Apr 28, 2019 4:18:00
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 15, 2019 4:32:04
Marathon Ojai, CA May 27, 2018 4:14:43
Marathon Tokyo, Japan Feb 25, 2018 4:08:38
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 24, 2017 4:08:11
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 4, 2016 4:08:52
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 9, 2016 4:07:03
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 18, 2016 4:20:50
Marathon Staten Island, NY Nov 1, 2015 4:16:00
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 20, 2015 4:17:45
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 21, 2014 4:13:40
Marathon Portland, OR 2013 4:10:00
Marathon Honolulu, HI 1996

My Raves

What a great day in Chicago. I had run it once before in 2016, and was back for the age group championships. It was a record setting day with Kelvin … MORE

What a great day in Chicago. I had run it once before in 2016, and was back for the age group championships. It was a record setting day with Kelvin Kiptum setting a new record as we all know. I was so fortunate to meet him and Sifan Hassan, the women’s race winner. What a thrill to attend the reception after the race and meet not only the winners but so many others. I had a 7 min PR and my first sub 4 hr marathon. The course is very flat and fast, the spectators are amazing and their energy really helps when you’re wondering where that finish line is. With a start and finish in Grant Park, it’s one of the easiest races to get to and from, with many hotels within a mile of the park. The weather and conditions were near perfect for race day. Abbott had tents at the finish for the age groupers, good food, massages, lots of support. As always I met many runners and made new friends. Some great sightseeing including the river architecture cruise and good meals with groups of runners, I highly recommend running Chicago if you have the chance.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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There is so much to say about running my first Comrades ... as a "novice" ..where to begin. The traditions of the oldest ultra marathon make it a truly a … MORE

There is so much to say about running my first Comrades … as a “novice” ..where to begin. The traditions of the oldest ultra marathon make it a truly a unique race as it is accessible to so many runners and there is a camaraderie I have never experienced in any other race. As the qualifying ( marathon) time is 4:50 it is very doable by most runners. I had originally planned to run it in 2020 and when it was cancelled, I doubted I would still make the trip – but Comrades called to me to come and at least try to finish the race. I knew that whether I finished it under the 12 hour time limit or DNF – it would be the highlight of my running adventures.

I had first heard of Comrades from Mike Sohaskey at an expo several years ago. After he piqued my interest in this fascinating race I went home and looked up what I could find about it, including a Runners World article and Amby Burfoot’s account in his book Run Forever. Let’s just say I was hooked on running this race. I watched countless videos of the amazing start and finish line, listened to podcasts, especially of Lindsay Parry the official Comrades coach, and then told my own coach I was in! ..let’s start planning for this race.

It is unique in that it is run in a different direction every other year. The course is extremely hilly, however, with the recommended walk breaks throughout the course, it is very doable. I had not really trained sufficiently with walk breaks, so I pretty much followed what others were doing, mainly walking a lot of the hills. I found the 11 hour pace group about 2/3 of the way into the race and stayed with them until about 2.5 miles to go – I was feeling great so I was able to run to the finish line at a pretty fast pace ( for me) I finished with a smile and lots of energy.

I am now a believer in the run//walk method especially for a long distance as I know it is what allowed me to finish strong and earn my bronze medal for a sub 11 hr finish. Prior to this race the furthest I had run was a 35 mile training run, in which I did walk several miles on a very hot day ( mid 80’s), and 3 yrs ago had run one 50k trail run.

All along the course other runners come along side of you and talk for a minute or two, asking where you’re from , how you are doing etc. You wear two bibs, one on front and back, with your name on it and also the number of times you’ve completed the race. Simply amazing to see a bib with 22 or 35 or 49 times run! I met a man who was running his 50th Comrades . I tripped and fell once on a street light and another runner stayed with me, and another runner gave me aspirin which I had neglected to carry with me. The crowd support is amazing – sort of like New York or Boston on steroids!I wore a USA singlet and received a lot of cheers and Go USA from the crowd of spectators.

All of the runners in SA are in local running clubs and they are cheering their members and all the runners on, singing in local languages, providing food and music along the course etc. I signed up with a company called ConSports and had 3 “bag drops” along the way with my fluids and nutrition that I was used to. However the course was well stocked about every 2 m with water and electrolyte drinks and food.

The whole atmosphere of the weekend was lively. I met runners from all over the world – its amazing how far people travel to this race. For me, it was over 30 hours of flight time from California.

I went with the Marathon Tours group and met some wonderful runners and their families. MT support was terrific, transfer from airport, 3 dinners, race day transportation to the start etc. Also with Marathon Tours we stayed at the Southern Sun Elangeni which is a beachfront hotel in Durban and also the official Comrades hotel, and where the elites stayed. So I was lucky to meet Gerda Steyn who won the women’s race and also Michael Wardian who I really admire.

There were apparently some major issues this year with shorter cutoff times which didn’t allow many runners finish the race which was very frustrating and extremely disappointing. The race was about 1.3 km shorter than usual due to road work on the earlier parts of the course. A big part of the drama is always the finish line – you must cross at 12 hrs – and the race is “gun” time. There are always many people just missing it by seconds. However, this year somehow the cutoff times didn’t allow for many runners to come into the stadium and hope to cross the finish line at the last second..

I could go on and on and on and may update this review but I suggest you read Mikes May 2015 post which includes an excellent, very detailed review by wghines and another runners experience which completely summarize the day and experience. It is a magical day and a race like no other.

I definitely want to return – if you run it two years in a row as a novice, you earn a special ” back to back” medal – so hopefully I will be at the starting line in June 2024.

Run Comrades – it will show you what you are capable of. Humanity was at its finest on June 11 on the road to Durban.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
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SWAG
5
My Media

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This was my first time running the Ventura Marathon - I needed a qualifying race for Comrades in June. I expected it to be similar to Mountains to Beach which … MORE

This was my first time running the Ventura Marathon – I needed a qualifying race for Comrades in June. I expected it to be similar to Mountains to Beach which is also run from Ojai to Ventura. I found this course to be less of a downhill and seemed a bit more of a “rolling” course ( it is advertised as “Just the right amount of downhill”). Either way, my quads were not as “shot” as they were finishing Mountains to Beach a few years ago – or possibly I was in better downhill running shape as I was training for the hill of Boston and Comrades in the lead up.
The race is somewhat small ( not sure of the exact field size), and the expo was small. However, the race organization was great and the staff and volunteers all very personable. It had been a stormy weekend but luckily the clouds cleared and the rain stopped the night before the race. It absolutely gorgeous at the start of the race early in the morning in Ojai. I stayed with a pace group most of the race which wound through Ojai and vineyards before heading down to Ventura.
The post race breakfast in downtown Ventura was terrific, belgian waffles and all. Nice medal and age group awards as well.
I highly recommend this race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
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SCENERY
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SWAG
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My Media

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Well I finally ran Boston 2 Big Sur and it did not disappoint! My friend had encouraged me to do it to get the very cool jacket! This year the … MORE

Well I finally ran Boston 2 Big Sur and it did not disappoint! My friend had encouraged me to do it to get the very cool jacket!
This year the races were only 6 days apart. I felt good coming back from Boston and was looking forward to the race.
To be continued ..will finish review later )

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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