It’s Race Week for the Mammoth Track Club

Oct 08, 2021

Well, this certainly has been a strange fall marathon racing season. The Mammoth Track Club has two athletes, Reid Buchanan and Nico Montanez, racing in the Chicago and Boston Marathons this week. The Chicago Marathon is on Sunday, October 10 and the Boston Marathon is the very next day on October 11.

Fall 2021 Season for the Mammoth Track Club

The fall racing season started off well, with Reid and Nico competing in the USA 20K Championships in New Haven, CT in mid-September. Contested under warm and muggy conditions, Nico managed a podium finish placing third and narrowly missing winning the race by mere seconds. Reid hung on well and finished seventh.

Preparing for the Boston Marathon

From New Haven, the boys and I headed to Boston to do some course scouting. We wanted to get an up-close look at the hills and undulations that make up the famed Boston Marathon course. One can look at a course profile all day long on the internet, but to actually drive and run portions of the course, there’s no substitute. And boy, did we see some hills! 

The Boston Marathon course is hilly, but it’s not the uphill portions that zap the legs of even the best runners in the world. It’s the downhills! Running on a prolonged decline will beat up the quad muscles making it harder and harder to run later in the race when an athlete needs those same muscles to go uphill. Well, we beat up Reid’s legs, over and over again with hill and downhill training during this marathon build-up, and his teammate, Nico, was with him every step of the way (even though Nico is racing the Chicago Marathon, which is completely flat).

Marathon Training in Mammoth Lakes

Marathon training can be arduous. The Mammoth Track Club men got their weekly training volume up to a staggering 125 miles per week at a couple of different points. Most of the training (about 90%) was done in the aerobic zone, or at an easy effort (about a 7:00-mile pace). But when these guys put on their racing flats and set off down Benton Crossing Road, (which has a rich history of some of the best marathon runners in the world having trained on it) they dialed in their speed. 

One of the best workouts I have ever seen here in Mammoth Lakes was an effort at marathon goal race pace at 7,000 ft. The workout was 3 x 5 miles with a 3:00 recovery between reps. They took aim at a 5:00 mile pace and, by the end, dipped just under by a second. This training was a massive confidence booster heading into the men’s upcoming races in October.

A New Member of the Mammoth Track Club

We’ve added a new star athlete to the Mammoth Track Club. All the way from South Africa, via the University of Arkansas, Carina Viljoen joined us about six weeks ago. So far, Carina and Mammoth Elementary School STEM teacher, Grace Barnett, have been training very well together.

The goal for the ladies this fall: win some races and aim to secure the World Track and Field Championships standards in the 1,500m and 5,000m. Grace will be racing in the USA Championships road 5K in New York City’s Central Park the first Saturday in November. Carina will race on her college indoor track at the beginning of December in her quest to gain the 2022 World Champs standard, in either of the aforementioned events. 

For the latest updates, check the Mammoth Track Club Twitter and Instagram accounts for results.

Andrew Kastor

Andrew currently resides in Mammoth Lakes with his wife Deena (Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and American Record holder in the marathon and half-marathon) and their daughter, Piper Bloom. He’s the head coach for the Mammoth Track Club.

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