Tag Archives: Marathon

Gateway Outer Banks (OBX) Marathon

Today marks 6 days since running the 2013 Gateway Outer Banks Marathon. Since this was a PR marathon for me, I would like to provide a short report on the course and experience.

Outer Banks (OBX) Marathon offers beauty, history, and pockets of sincere crowd support. This year the race was capped at 2,500 runners; something I understood later along the course. Just in front of me, in the elite corral, I offered support to Dalena Custer and Bill Shires, two strong runners from Charlotte who I train with. They took off a minute before the rest of the marathoners, fading around the bend. As the race director counted down, I took a couple deep breaths and mentally prepared for a few hours on my feet.

Miles 1-6 were relaxing on winding two lane roads. I settled into my target pace of 6:36, hoping to group up with other runners around the same split. Unfortunately, that never happened and I relied on the crowd as running partners.

Miles 6-12 warmed up with sunshine and historical flight. Passing by the famous Wright Brother Monument allowed you to shift focus, enjoying the beauty where the first flight took place. Surprisingly my wife had staked out a spot around mile 8.5, bringing an instant smile to my face. With my pace still on target, things were going pretty well before starting the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve at mile 10.

Miles 12-18 brought back memories of running junior varsity cross country. After two miles on hard packed gravel and sand, the course took a sharp left up a hill onto a narrow trail. I caught a pack of three runners; Natalie Hall, Jim Warrenfeltz (author of Runner’s World article: Race Recap: The Outer Banks Marathon), and Martin Thorne. Martin and Jim let me glide by and when the course returned to the road, I hung with Natalie for a bit. Jim caught back up a mile later and we enjoyed talking before I pulled away. Hindsight, I should have stayed with good company!

Miles 18-21 were flat and fast. Around mile 20 my wife was there to greet me with a gel and supporting words. Continuing around 6:36 pace, I could feel my legs getting heavy.

Miles 22-26.2, welcome to survival mode. A combination of wind (headwind at 8 mph) and fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks around mile 22. My pace slowed to low 7 minute miles. Natalie breezed past me, offering some kind words that gave me strength. I made it over the bridge and passed mile 24 cranking out high 7 minute pace. Jim passed me and then I realized that I had just over a mile left. Cruising in to the finish felt great, an inexpressible feeling of accomplishment that all runners love.

OBX was my 4th marathon, giving me a new PR of 2:58:45. My time was a bit slower than goal, however I was pleased with the result.

11 Random Things About Philip Ciccarello

Marathon Brian or Brian Adkins (pictured below), a Chicago-bases road racer, marathoner, endurance athlete, writer,  and independed scholar, “tagged” me and 10 others with a series of questions and a mandate to do the same with 11 others.

The Rules:

1)  Post these rules.
2)  You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3)  Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4)  Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5)  Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6)  No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things about Philip Ciccarello:

  1. I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia
  2. Ran my first race at the age of 12 (Virginia 10 Miler)
  3. Avid Snowboarder
  4. Dislike Mayonnaise
  5. Avoid running on treadmills
  6. Narrowly avoided dying in a car crash at the age of 15 (was not driving)
  7. Home-schooled for just the 7th grade
  8. Grew up on an Apple Orchard Farm
  9. Met my wife at Sweet Briar College (all girls school)
  10. Gave up running with music in 2006
  11. Built a working telephone at the age of 10

Marathon Brian’s Questions to Philip Ciccarello

  1. Favorite event? Our 2009 Wedding in Bermuda
  2. What’s your favorite Ryan Gosling movie? Drive 2011 
  3. What’s your favorite post-race celebration food? Protein shake or a big juicy turkey burger with fries
  4. Who manufactures your favorite race day shirt or singlet? Rarely wear a shirt on race day – when I do it’s random
  5. What’s your second favorite Ryan Gosling movie? Fracture 2007
  6. Gatorade or Powerade? Gatorade..preferably, water
  7. Favorite newspaper? Financial Times
  8. You’ve just won a race/event, what’s your initial action or reaction? Smile for the camera…turn around and cheer for 2nd and 3rd place
  9. Would you rather be taller or smarter? Smarter; you could design a formula to enhance your height
  10. Which historical figure would you like to have a 2-hour dinner with? Thomas Jefferson
  11. Favorite holiday? The first day of Spring (not a holiday)


Philip’s Questions to the Tagged:

  1. Preferred running shoes?
  2. Ranch or blue cheese?
  3. What’s your favorite Samuel L. Jackson movie?
  4. Would you rather be able to fly or breath under water?
  5. Favorite fruit?
  6. If you could change one world problem, what would it be?
  7. If you had 10 hours to live, what would you do?
  8. Seafood or land meat?
  9. Best thing about living in the United States?
  10. What gets you of of bed in the morning (not the alarm)?
  11. Favorite Superhero?


Philip’s Tagged People:





Thad (Runner Dude) – Twitter





Genevieve Twitter



New River Trail 50K Race Report

50K (31.1 miles) – not a race for the average runner. Over the years, I have always admired Ultra Runners, vowing to one day run more than just a marathon (26.2 miles). On October 8th, 2011 I completed the New River Trail 50K (Ultra-Marathon) in Fries, Virginia…AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

Over the last few months, my training consisted of a loose schedule of weekly runs, always ending with a long run either Saturday or Sunday. Balking many ultra training programs, I averaged 35 miles a week, focusing on quality over quantity. Additionally, I spent time in the gym working out with free weights three days a week. My longest run was only 18 miles; my ‘loose’ schedule included three 20+ long runs, though schedule and injury inhibited execution.

During race week, I took the taper seriously; consumed plenty of water and ate like a King. Friday afternoon, we (my friend and training partner Rasmus Eger Pedersen) departed for Galax, Viginia where we would spend the night before the early morning race start. When traveling to a new destination, you are always rolling the dice on a good meal the night before the race. During the drive up, we choose Ciro’s Pizza & Subs (Friday Night Pizza Buffet) in the beautiful town of Independence, Virginia. What a great decision! Not only was the staff friendly, but the homemade pizza was perfect. Following dinner we arrived at hotel in Galax, and were asleep by 9pm.

2011 New River 50K Pre-Race
2011 New River 50K Pre-Race, Rasmus on the left, Philip on the right

The morning came fast, and before we knew it, we were standing behind a chalk starting line with 122 other runners. Everyone was friendly and ready to start, especially those with minimal clothing. I don’t remember a gun going off, just 3, 2, 1, GO! As we took off, I ensured my watch started correctly, and settled into a comfortable pace. Before starting the race there were two goals; finish and stay under 4 hours, if 4 hours was not attainable due to other circumstances, just focus on finishing.

Packs began to form depending on pace. In our group there was myself, Rasmus, Brad Belfiore, and Matthew Cared. We chatted for a few miles, holding our pace consistently with what we were targeting. At mile 7, we all discussed stopping to take a quick urination break, as sticking together was important to us all. We all stopped…Matt kept going; we were down to a pack of three.

We continued together, refilling our water bottles at the mile 10 aid station…next aid station was the 15 mile turnaround, a place where we could recover what we placed in the bag drop. As we approached the turning point, leaders passed us in the opposite direction…we began to count others in front to gauge position. After a brief count, our pack of three was in position 10, 11, and 12. Mile 15 aid station was a quick stop; I exchanged water bottles and kept moving, there was no stopping as we had a goal to meet.

After the aid station, our pace varied, mostly in the sub 7:40 range due to adrenaline, and the notion we were headed back toward the finish..15 miles to go. As we passed other runners coming towards the turn, we congratulated them and said some words of encouragement. Around mile 20 our pack got quiet, each personally battling the beginnings of fatigue. Focusing on the beautiful scenery, and making small talk passed the time until mile 24 where we would stop for another urination break.

The last few miles were blurry and painful. Somehow, we managed to slightly pick up the pace (this was the only way to push through the burning sensation coming from our calves) and pass a few other runners that had slowed down. At mile 28 we secured positions 6, 7 and 8; JUST HOLD IT! Every step hurt, and the focus was solely on finishing and not stopping. About a ¼ mile from the finish our pack split up upon consensus; Rasmus kicked hard finishing 6th with a time of 3:55:29, myself 7th 3:55:39, and Bradley 8th 3:55:42…crossing the finish line never felt so good!


New River Trail 50K - post race "ice bath" in the New River...yes it was cold!
New River Trail 50K - post race "ice bath" in the New River...yes it was cold!

Ten minutes post race, we hobbled down to the river for an ice bath (speeds muscle and joint recovery), which did wonders. After drying up, we walked down to the Fries Community Hall and enjoyed homemade soup, bread, cookies and fruit; there is nothing like a home cooked meal after running a 50K!

Soup Line
Soup Line

The entire experience was truly memorable, and I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Annette Bednosky; New River 50K race director, Montrail UltraRunning team member and school counselor. Please check out her blog and/or drop her an email annettebednosky [at] gmail dot com.


2011 New River Trail 50K Results

Garmin GPS Watch Data

Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon Runners

With Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon 2010 – Amica Insurance Half Marathon in the books, I wanted to congratulate a few friends that are runners in Charlotte; these runners are also active on Twitter, so follow them for updates.

Jordan Kinley - Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2010 - image by troyleeimages.com

Jordan Kinley captured 1st place in the full marathon again this year, with an impressive time of 2:24:46 (5 minutes faster than last year). If you do the math, that’s a 5:32 pace for 26.2 miles. Keep up with Jordan @jokin359 or http://okrunner.blogspot.com

Jennifer Decurtins achieved a personal record (PR), with a time of 1:52:12. @jdecurtins has improved with each race and blogs regularly http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com

Seth Wyatt crushed his first half marathon with a time of 1:57:34. @sethjwyatt also told me this was his first road race…those results are pretty amazing if you ask me.

Heather Murphy ran a great race with a time of 2:11:00. While not running @hlmurphy works in web design and mixed-media, checkout her out http://www.heatherlmurphy.com/

Melissa Lamkin also ran her first half marathon with a solid time of 2:15:42. @MelissaLamkin is an active runner in Charlotte and I predict more long distance races in her future.

Ward Gibson & Philip Ciccarello Mile 12.5

Ward Gibson who teaches athletic conditioning at the Dowd Y, and is very active in the social media scene, completed the half marathon with a time of 2:15:49. Next year, Ward is running Myrtle Beach half and a handful of other races. @wardgibson or @fitnesschamp http://www.thefitnesschamp.com/

Mary Catherine Dolphens was very pleased with her time of 2:18:00. @MCDolphens future contains more half’s and a possible full in 2011.

Genevieve Jooste ran her first half marathon in 2:20:37, which is awesome. @GenevieveJooste may have been bit by the running bug, and will be running more races in 2011. http://genevievejooste.com/

Richard Groves cruised in with a time of 2:26:56, not too bad when you consider the fact that @englishinvader had a cold.

Brian Francis completed the half marathon in 2:42:49, running is growing on @BrianDFrancis according to this tweet, yet I expect to see him doing many more races in 2011.

Even though these next few runners are not on Twitter, I would like to give them a special shout out for their achievements yesterday:

Marathon – Billy Shue 2:41:18 5th place overall
Marathon – Kevin Ballantine 3:04:10 1st marathon
Marathon – Rasmus Pedersen 3:33:23 12th marathon
Half Marathon – Dana Scofield 1:49:28 PR
Half Marathon – Tony Jabon 1:49:49 10 seconds away from a new PR

SunTrust Richmond Marathon Reflection

Dubbed “America’s Friendliest Marathon”, the SunTrust Richmond Marathon surely lived up to its name. With the sun shinning, marathoners were off promptly at 8am. During the first few miles, runners got comfortable and settled into pace. Around mile 6 we descended towards the James River. Before crossing the small bridge, a large crowd cheered us though, what an awesome party zone. The next couple of miles were next to the river, which offered great scenery and the ability to relax a bit. Miles 9-12 had some rolling hills, but were soon forgotten after 13-15 which was mostly flat.

Next we crossed the James River again via Robert E. Lee Bridge to break mile 16. The next few miles were all about adjusting pace and relying on crowd support. After mile 20 my legs signaled fatigue and I had to slow down. Even though miles 20-24 were flat, my legs were done, and I battled cramps combined with lower stomach pains. During the last 2 miles I made a final push and sprinted the down to the finish.

Even with my Boston Qualifier blown, I had a great race and achieved a new PR. Most importantly I had fun doing it, and will definitely return to run the Richmond Marathon again.

Would also like to recognize all the of the other runners from the Charlotte region that participated.  Théoden Jane did a great write up, so I am going to recommended his blog post.