Take my breath away

Event Stats:
Name Crater Lake Rim Run
Date 08/11/2007
Location Crater Lake, OR, USA
Event Marathon
Finish Time 04:58:53

Here is an easy recipe for disaster:

  1. Fly into the country less than a week before the run in order to have a solid jet-lag
  2. Don't plan ahead so that you end up driving for 5 hours to the race the night immediately before the race, thereby avoiding getting any sleep at all
  3. Pick a race that starts at an elevation of 2300m (7600 ft.) and features a total elevation gain of 600m (2000 ft.) without allowing for any acclimatization
  4. Don't bring food

The rest will play out accordingly!

My poor planning aside, Crater Lake Marathon is probably one of the most scenic races to be had. Held inside the Crater Lake National Park near Klamath Falls, Oregon, the run follows the shoreline of the lake for about 3/4 of its circumference.

I started out slowly, since I planned on doing another marathon the following day. That plan got canceled due to a huge bloody blister I developed on my right heel. The first half went without any troubles, I ate the 2 gels that I brought, and stuck to water.

Stopping at the aid station at mile 15 or so and asking for food (as in bars or gels) I was told that there weren't any. Not just at this aid station, but in general. Bummer. Yes, I could have brought my own. But outside of South America I have never seen a race that has no food. And the Gatorade they served was totally diluted.

So I slowly continued on, careful not to bonk completely. After a grueling steep last 4 miles, I finished in just under 5 hours, very happy to finally get some food (bagels & Mountain Dew).

Race conditions: 4/5

Clear sky, warm and sunny, but due to the altitude not overly hot, great conditions for a run (although too warm to run real fast).

Scenery: 5/5

Just look at the pictures. Absolutely breath-taking!

Difficulty: 2/5

The first 15 miles are mostly uphill (and that really means hills), followed by a long stretch of rather steep down-hill. At mile 22 you can see the finish-line, but have another 2 miles steep uphill (and 2 miles back) on a dirt track ahead of you. Definitely not a PR course. The photo taken at mile 17 shows the road a few miles back.

Information: 3/5

Sketchy website, good instructions in race package. good signs and mile markers. Solid.

Finisher medal: 1/5

Very poor generic medal with plastic sticker stating the event. Totally unfitting for such an event.

Goodies: 2/5

OK race shirt (which I would trade for a decent medal in a heartbeat. Nothing else. The race-numbers get sent out by mail, which is great, because it eliminates packet pickup, but the price for that is that there is no goody bag.

The Cheer: 2/5

Small event in a national park on Sunday morning. I was surprised to see anyone at all.

Overall: 7/10

Challenging run with great scenery, but not having food at the aid-stations and the crappy medal spoil it to a certain extend.