Deena Kastor’s Tips for the Mammoth Half Marathon
The Mammoth Half Marathon is back this June, with high altitude half marathon and 5K races. This premier race event is the second leg of the San Diego-Mammoth Challenge, which includes the mid-March San Diego Half Marathon. Local Olympian Deena Kastor, who took bronze in the women’s marathon during the 2004 Athens Olympics, and her husband Andrew were instrumental in bringing the annual half marathon to Mammoth Lakes.
We caught up with Deena to talk shop about her vision for the race, her favorite runs in Mammoth Lakes and her personal tips for preparing a high-altitude.
What was the vision behind the race?
Deena Kastor: I love the sport of running and cherish the town where I live. Andrew and I wanted to share running and this community with as many people possible. Bringing a track and field facility to Mammoth Lakes not only shared running with the community but also brought runners to our community. The same is true for the Mammoth Half Marathon. We wanted to bring a quality event to the people of Mammoth Lakes while at the same time sharing our amazing town with visitors.
What’s your favorite run in Mammoth Lakes?
DK: It’s difficult to define a favorite run in Mammoth because we have a lot to choose from. I really enjoy running in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and also the ten-mile loop near Inyo Craters. Both host amazing views and awesome geological history.
Where can you find the best vistas?
DK: Runners of the Mammoth Half Marathon will be treated with some great views as they come out of the Mammoth Lakes Basin area. I’ll encourage everyone to slow down and take in the views.
What’s the best way for athletes to prepare for a race at altitude?
DK: Whether you’re racing or simply visiting Mammoth Lakes for race weekend, I always encourage people to drink a lot of water and sports drinks and wear sunscreen. When running, I recommend slowing the pace slightly. These are three simple ways to make your experience at altitude a good one.
What should athletes expect when running at altitude?
DK: You can expect the most scenic half marathon you’ve ever run! The weekend will be packed with fun things to do as we celebrate running, health and fitness in our Eastern Sierra town.
Do you have any tips for staying hydrated at altitude?
DK: Water consumption is important whether at sea level or altitude. It’s also important to have electrolytes, so I recommend sipping on a sports drink or increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you are consuming. My rule is to always have a bottle of water or juice with me and sip on it all day.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Mammoth Lakes?
DK: I’ve been traveling the world for running and racing since I was 13 years old. I haven’t found a place I like better than my home, Mammoth Lakes, California. I’m a runner in an athletic minded town. My focus is narrow, but there are some serious athletes that live here — rock climbers, mountain bikers, triathletes, runners, skiers, snowboarders, just to name a few. No matter the time of year, there’s always a festival, competition or event to be a part of. I also love the fact that town is a compact, four square miles surrounded by some of the best trail running in the world. As a runner, this is my paradise.
Learn more about Deena’s love of Mammoth Lakes and how her running career has evolved over the years in this video: