Is it crazy to drive 3 hours to run a marathon just so I can recycle a pair of running shoes while I’m there?
Burning all that gas would no doubt infuriate the cheerfully militant environmentalists who put on the Honest Abe Trail Run marathon at the Southern Indiana state park encompassing Lincoln’s boyhood home. But the shoe-recycling option is just one reason I’d love to make this Sept. 22 race my first marathon. Given my work schedule, I went looking for a Sunday race. This was the best fit of three in-state options. And at $45 — or $35 if you forego a shirt and bring shoes to recycle — it’s by far the cheapest.
‘No-Impact Man’ would love this race, which is limited to 100 runners to reduce damage to the park’s trails. Other than T-shirts (which are discouraged), nothing is being manufactured for this event. Numbered bibs and safety pins are leftovers from other races. No fliers will be printed up. Registration will be online only, and packet pickup (no plastic bags or swag) will be an hour beforehand so nobody wastes gas making an extra trip to the park. Though organic snacks and water will be provided at a couple of aid stations on the three-lap trail loop, you’re encouraged to bring a refillable water bottle and your own drop bag.
I love exploring Indiana’s state parks, and I would love to get a look at this one. Running on trails would surely inflate my time, but I can’t get too hung up on what the stopwatch says in my first marathon.
I’m a little concerned about running without much of a herd, because the camaraderie and all that simultaneous movement is one of the things I find most appealing about racing. But you gotta love the informality. I’ve got a feeling Honest Abe would approve.