Sometime this week, I clicked through a tweet from Runner's World to an article from the Wall Street Journal about the popularity of indoor marathons during the cold winters in the Midwest. Interesting article, about running marathons on indoor tracks, but what caught my attention was a throwaway mention of an indoor trail marathon debuting this year, on a motocross course in Wisconsin. I had to look that up.
Apparently, this is called the Sandbox Indoor Trail Marathon, and it will be taking place in New Richmond, WI (closer to the Twin Cities than anything in Wisconsin) at an indoor motocross course called the Sandbox Arena. They've got a whole array of events lined up for February 1th and 13th this year - a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and marathon relay.
The road surface is supposed to be packed sand and clay, that they will roll out flat except for one small hill on each lap. Each lap is a quarter mile, so the marathon will be just over 100 laps. And therein lies the main problem with the event, as pointed out to me by Chris - the course layout is all kinds of loopy - five 180 degree and six 90 degree turns per lap. Doing the math... that's twenty 180 degree turns per mile, 520 for the marathon. That many hard turns = hard on the knees.
The 5K might have been fun, though...