Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So about that Gansett Marathon course being flat

It is. Sort of.

I scratched my head looking at the Gansett course map and elevation chart. It looks like there is a hill in the beginning of the marathon and then another one later on. Because the course loops around twice, you get to run both hills twice. Joy of joys. The Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile race runs on part of the Gansett course. I ran the Blessing several times. I don't remember hills.

That's because the hill in the beginning isn't a hill. It is a long gentle incline for about 3/4 mile. One of the nice things about my job (wah, last day was Monday) was that I worked close to Narragansett. I popped down after work last week, parked at Narragansett Town Beach (I miss this crescent-shaped beach so very much), and ran about the first 2 miles of the Gansett course. The start is at the curved part above the r in Pier at the top of the map.


R2's elevation data backed me up. It is not as bad as the graph makes it out to be. Check the scale. The "hill" is an elevation gain of about 60 feet over 3/4 mile. I could see and feel the long gentle incline. It wasn't that bad, though. I turned around at mile 2.4 at the blue spike and ran back to just before where I started. Also, I don't know why it looks like I went below sea level at the very beginning. That is not possible. I promise you I did not jump in the water and go for a swim ;-)


Side note: I actually used a similar example in my stats class to illustrate what happens when you change the scale of your graph. I took the official elevation chart and my Garmin data from RnR Providence. I made the course look flat and then made it look hilly. All I did was change the scale.

If that's a "hill," the rest of the course is pretty darn flat. Good stuff.

In related Gansett news, I dug up my emails from volunteering last year. I saw the race from the other side and was impressed. Can I just say how amazingly organized the race director is? His level of detail for volunteers (maps, specific instructions, times to expect runners, etc) is incredible. Then there was a spectator guide to match. Holy organization, Batman. Big race or small race, I have never ever seen anything like this. Super impressed yet again.


  1. Seems flat enough to me!

    I just got the email about how the organizers are getting the local coffee shop to open early for the runners and giving vouchers for free coffee or water. Very cool!

  2. Seriously! Rhode Islanders love their coffee. That place is literally across the street from the host hotel. Good thing it will be open early because there is not much else nearby.