ET Half Marathon Race Report

Calico Racing Area 51/ET Full Moon Marathon 2019

The whole reason for doing this the ET Full Moon Marathon was because one of my best friends, D, absolutely wanted to do it. My main goal was to complete the race together with D. In the small bits of training we did together, we found that I was a smidge faster. I know how much it sucks to be dropped by a friend, and I didn’t want that to happen here.

The ET Full Moon Marathon takes place in Rachel, NV, home to Area 51, and starts at midnight (for the full, other races start after). Rachel is ~3 hours from Las Vegas, but definitely local enough to be called a Las Vegas marathon. I’d been before, but D had not, and she’s a huge fan of the goofy and absurd. I was Scully, she was Mulder, but I wasn’t going to cramp her beliefs. 🙂

Training for the ET Full Moon Marathon

I knew this was going to be a slow race because I was hardly able to get any training in. Temps hit the 110s, so running in Las Vegas outside wasn’t happening. Also, I was lazy.

Pre-race

Calico Racing, the race organizers, are a local outfit, so packet pick-up is small and fast. No big event with booths and a photo op, just get your packet and maybe buy a shirt from one of the previous years’ events.

They had it set up really nicely. Packet pick-up was at the Silver Sevens, an off-Strip hotel, with optional shuttle service to the starting line. Packet pick-up was from 4-8:30 PM, shuttles boarded from 8:30-8:45. So you didn’t have to come by twice or dilly dally waiting for the bus.

D and I met up at 7:15, got packets, and hit the buffet for a quick meal before the long night ahead of us. We didn’t go crazy, just something to fuel us for the race. Buffet was nothing to write home about, but it was fast and had decent options, including prime rib and haddock. We skipped dessert to get to the busses a little early. Neither one of us relished the thought of driving out there, and worse, driving back afterwards, so the shuttle was really practical.

We caught up on things, annoying the others on the bus who wanted to nap before the race. After about an hour, sleep caught up with us too. We awoke in the middle of the high desert, 26.2 miles from the Little Ale’Inn, our finish line.

After dropping off the ultra and full runners, the bus trundled on to the half starting line, where we exited. About 5 minutes before the half start, the race medics (my husband) stopped by for a quick hello.

Temps were amazing, in the low 60s, a relief from the Vegas heat.

Race

The half starts at an elevation of 4800′ and slowly rises to 5400′, then drops back down. Because it’s at night, you can see the shapes of the mountains in the distance, but not the details of the desert in front of you. The full moon dimmed out many of the stars, but there were still quite a few to enjoy.

In the first mile, D already had some trouble – two consecutive side stitches threw her off her stride completely. I suggested quarter mile walk/run intervals and hoped that once we got going, we’d extend them out.

Instead, we were asked by a fellow runner if we were doing any kind of pacing, and if he could join us. So we made a new friend, J, who was such a cool guy. Any hope of a 3-hour half went out the window, but the company was worth it.

The course is pretty straightforward – run the road. The road is mostly straight, with a very slow incline for the first half. No switchbacks, no turns, no way to get lost, just easy miles in the dark.

We did see a piece of roadkill and two dead cows, and we heard burros braying at each other off in the distance. And the course was incredibly dusty. We’re in the middle of the desert with nothing to block the winds.

We stayed in good spirits if not in good pace, supported by the volunteers at the aid stations. We stopped for a pic at the sign welcoming us to Rachel, then kicked it slightly into gear when we were maybe half a mile from the finish line.

ET Midnight Half Marathon Review

ET Full Moon Marathon: Post-Race

A pancake breakfast awaited us, along with exploring the Little Ale’Inn. We both slept the entire bus ride back to town.

If you love aliens, night running, and straight, easy courses, I would absolutely recommend this race. If you live off of crowd support, this is not the race for you.

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