Arena Attack Indoor Marathon

“An indoor marathon!” friends invariably exclaimed when I told them the reason for a quick weekend trip to Hartford Connecticut. That was usually followed up by, “that sounds like the most boring run ever.”

Indeed, marathon.net included this event as part of their list of the World’s 13 Toughest Half-Marathons—and that was with half the laps—solely due to monotony of running the same 330 320-meter parcours over and over and over again in a counter-clockwise direction. The full marathon entailed 133 circumnavigations, making last year’s Groundhog Day Marathon‘s six laps through a park seem like an exercise of novelty.

But I didn’t pick this marathon for the challenge of surviving brain numbness. (“I’m actually really good at doing mindless things,” I told the skeptical friends.) No, I entered it because 1) I’ve never done an indoor marathon before, and after you do many dozens of marathons you might as well do something different, and 2) I was looking for a marathon state to do in the winter. Since all of my remaining states to do are in the Northeast except for Hawaii, Alaska, and South Carolina, this meant the options were pretty limited. Marathons are generally not held in climates where there is usually snow on the ground, the aforementioned Groundhog Day 26.2-miler notwithstanding.

Anyhow, here’s the short take on how the race went.

Despite going into the race with a strategy of trying to run every mile between 7:50-8:10/mile, I ended up running the first 10k in 45 minutes flat (7:15/mile) and the first half in 1:38:XX (about 7:31/mile). Part of the problem was, this being an indoor marathon, the Garmin couldn’t give me an accurate pace reading using Indoor Track mode, which uses accelerometers instead of precision GPS. Since I was feeling good, I decided to see how long I could maintain the pace until the wheels fell off.

In fact by Lap 90 (nearly Mile 18) I still had a three-lap lead over the eventual winner—a guy wearing a horn on his head who had done the event every year, or four times prior. But I was fading as both the legs and shoulders started near-cramping, and he ended up making up those three laps by Lap 110, which is when I relinquished the lead. He ended up lapping me five more times over the final 23 laps.

There was another guy that I only had a three-lap lead on by Lap 100, but he faded nearly as much as I did. By the end, he had made up only a lap, maybe a lap-and-a-half, on me.

However, unbeknownst to me until after the race while looking at the results, a 37-year-old woman passed me up, finishing five minutes ahead. I had no idea.

So overall, I finished third, but got the second-place male overall trophy.

Felix Wong finishing 2nd overall in the 2020 Arena Attack Indoor Marathon.

Fortunately, TSA did not confiscate the above award despite being made of metal and featuring sharp edges and a hook that befitting of a hand-less pirate. That was surprising considering I’ve had one-inch shaving blades and half-inch scissors taken away by these fine agents. Go figure.

The best part of the race was probably the women of the UConn lacrosse team, who had volunteered at the aid and timing stations, cheering and yelling out our names nearly every lap. They definitely gave everyone a lot of energy.

And then there was this gal whom I called “the MVP,” because she refilled my 16-ounce water bottle with Heed no fewer than five times—something I asked her to do during the race so I wouldn’t have to stop and refill it myself. (I drank 96 ounces of Heed during the race since I had filled it one time before the race.) That’s 2.8 liters, or .75 gallons. It was nearly 70 degrees (per Garmin) in the arena which is why I needed that much.

Felix Wong with a volunteer from the UConn lacrosse team, who filled his 16 ounce water bottle with Heed at least 5X!

Race Data

First half: 1:38:XX (~7:31/mile)
Second half: 2:03:XX (~9:25/mile)
Final time: 3:42:18 (8:29/mile)
Overall male place: 2/22
Overall place: 3/30
Official results

Split 1: 0:43
Split 2: 1:28
Split 3: 1:28
Split 4: 1:27
Split 5: 1:27
Split 6: 1:26
Split 7: 1:25
Split 8: 1:27
Split 9: 1:24
Split 10: 1:27
Split 11: 1:30
Split 12: 1:23
Split 13: 1:26
Split 14: 1:28
Split 15: 1:26
Split 16: 1:23
Split 17: 1:26
Split 18: 1:26
Split 19: 1:28
Split 20: 1:28
Split 21: 1:26
Split 22: 1:25
Split 23: 1:28
Split 24: 1:30
Split 25: 1:29
Split 26: 1:31
Split 27: 1:30
Split 28: 1:25
Split 29: 1:27
Split 30: 1:30
Split 31: 1:31
Split 32: 1:31
Split 33: 1:31
Split 34: 1:33
Split 35: 1:34
Split 36: 1:31
Split 37: 1:32
Split 38: 1:26
Split 39: 1:31
Split 40: 1:32
Split 41: 1:31
Split 42: 1:33
Split 43: 1:33
Split 44: 1:34
Split 45: 1:34
Split 46: 1:35
Split 47: 1:35
Split 48: 1:33
Split 49: 1:34
Split 50: 1:34
Split 51: 1:34
Split 52: 1:33
Split 53: 1:28
Split 54: 1:36
Split 55: 1:34
Split 56: 1:36
Split 57: 1:34
Split 58: 1:37
Split 59: 1:35
Split 60: 1:36
Split 61: 1:36
Split 62: 1:35
Split 63: 1:35
Split 64: 1:37
Split 65: 1:35
Split 66: 1:35
Split 67: 1:39
Split 68: 1:37
Split 69: 1:40
Split 70: 1:37
Split 71: 1:40
Split 72: 1:40
Split 73: 1:40
Split 74: 1:39
Split 75: 1:40
Split 76: 1:40
Split 77: 1:39
Split 78: 1:42
Split 79: 1:39
Split 80: 1:33
Split 81: 1:45
Split 82: 1:47
Split 83: 1:43
Split 84: 1:39
Split 85: 1:37
Split 86: 1:36
Split 87: 1:36
Split 88: 1:38
Split 89: 1:38
Split 90: 1:45
Split 91: 1:39
Split 92: 1:43
Split 93: 1:42
Split 94: 1:42
Split 95: 1:42
Split 96: 1:48
Split 97: 1:49
Split 98: 1:41
Split 99: 1:45
Split 100: 1:45
Split 101: 1:47
Split 102: 1:51
Split 103: 1:53
Split 104: 1:56
Split 105: 1:51
Split 106: 1:52
Split 107: 1:47
Split 108: 1:56
Split 109: 1:58
Split 110: 2:01
Split 111: 2:02
Split 112: 1:58
Split 113: 2:04
Split 114: 2:01
Split 115: 2:03
Split 116: 2:04
Split 117: 2:07
Split 118: 2:08
Split 119: 2:05
Split 120: 2:05
Split 121: 2:07
Split 122: 2:11
Split 123: 2:09
Split 124: 2:15
Split 125: 2:08
Split 126: 2:08
Split 127: 2:10
Split 128: 2:08
Split 129: 2:05
Split 130: 2:04
Split 131: 1:58
Split 132: 1:54
Split 133: 1:41

Runners running a 5k inside the XL Center in Hartford Connecticut before the 2020 Arena Attack Indoor Marathon.Runners running a 5k inside the XL Center in Hartford Connecticut before the 2020 Arena Attack Indoor Marathon.

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