The Martian Marathon: A Rogue Invasion

alienby Chris McClung
“Who ever heard of a Martian not invading? Who!”  – Ray Bradbury

What would happen if Rogues descended in mass upon a small, local marathon?

Sure, we’ve sent runners in droves to destination races before. But, for the most part, they have been larger races like Portland, Chicago, Twin Cities or Boston. We might be noticed, yes, but generally we blend in pretty well with the masses.

What about a small race where we could bring 15-20% of the field? What if the race was in Dearborn, Michigan, far from the confines of our southern home? What then? Would others look at us like alien beings? What would they say about us?

“Who are these crazy, passionate creatures from a foreign land that wear crowns on their shirts and call themselves Rogues?”

“What’s this ‘JFR?’ Is that a word from an extraterrestrial language?”

“Are those space suits or do they really need 3 layers for their pre-race, shake-out ritual?”

“Why do they move in packs like wolves? Are they plotting to overtake us?”

“They seem so strong at the end of so many miles? How will we ever defend ourselves?”

“But wait, they are actually nice creatures… maybe they just want to be friends?”

What’s the point of all of these silly hypothetical questions?

I am plotting a Rogue invasion of the Martian Marathon on April 18th, 2015. The Martian is a small, 400-person marathon in Dearborn with a 14-year history and sister 5K, 10K, and half marathon races on the same day. A member of Team Rogue – Amy Baker – knows the race director, is from the area, and has convinced a group of us to target it for our spring goal race. We want all of Rogue (at least those not doing Boston on the same weekend) to come with us.

Now, you’re looking at me like I’m an alien. Stay with me and hear my case for you to join us. 5 big reasons:

  1. It’s Dearborn – the home of Ford and the Automotive Hall of Fame! I know what you are thinking… Detroit, really Chris? This isn’t Detroit as you are thinking of it. Dearborn is a NW suburb of Detroit and the course is on closed roads. You run past the Ford estate, through scenic neighborhoods, and by 4 golf courses. And, who wouldn’t want to take a tour of the Automotive Hall of Fame after the race?!?
  1. It’s fast. The course is very slightly rolling, enough to keep it interesting for your legs, but not enough to slow you down. If you look at the elevation profile, you will see 54 feet of elevation change from the bottom of the course to the top, all in gradual chunks. That compares favorably to an equivalent 37 feet at the Houston Marathon vs. 233 feet, 262 feet, and 317 feet at the Dallas, Twin Cities and Austin Marathons respectively. If you can’t run fast on this course, you’re skipping too many hill workouts.
  1. It’s going to be cold, oh-so-good-for-a-marathon cold. If you look at the start temperatures for the last five years, you will see temperatures of 36, 27, 33, 37, and 42 degrees from 2010-2014. That averages to 35 degrees. That’s perfect gloves-and-a-singlet weather…. you know the kind where you where an old long-sleeve shirt to stay warm at the start and toss it once the gun goes off.
  1. The logistics will be easy, and there’s no major marathon chaos to deal with. It’s a Saturday race with Friday packet pick-up from 3-8 pm. You could theoretically hop on the 7:25 am, direct Delta flight to Detroit. Dearborn is a short, 20-minute drive away from the airport to grab your packet and be ready to roll the next day – no crazy expo lines or big city logistics to deal with in finding a hotel. Simple, in/out, so you can focus on what matters – racing fast!
  1. The camaraderie created in a small race is special. Last year, when Dallas was cancelled, several of us traveled to Bryan/College Station for the BCS Marathon. Even booking last minute, we stayed together in a small hotel about 1 mile from the start. It was easy to find each other and bond in a smaller city where everyone was able to stay close together. At the start, we lined up with 5 minutes to the gun and found our respective teammates for pacing purposes with ease. Martian is a small race but it won’t feel small if all of your Rogue friends are doing it with you. And, imagine the power and energy created if we invade this race together!

10 of us are already committed… who else is with us?

More details here:


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