The Lewis & Clark Marathon is the brainchild of David and Debby Spetnagel.
David Spetnagel was a life-long runner who worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and McDonnell Douglas. David was a 400/800m meter specialist in high school and at the University of Michigan. After moving to St. Louis, David coached at St. Charles West High School and Lindenwood University and has continued to participate in and direct local races. A former President of the St. Louis Track Club and the St. Charles Runners Club, David is now a Senior Writer for Running Times Magazine, responsible for all of the magazine’s road shoe reviews.
Debby Spetnagel is a former Mallinkrodt CPA who began running after meeting David in college. She gravitated towards the longer distances and has run over twenty marathons and ultramarathons, including the Boston Marathon. Debby has coached charity marathon teams for the Arthritis Foundation and The Wellness Community. She can also be found in the field of many local triathlons.
Hello David, on September 14th, you’ll be organizing the Lewis & Clark Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
The FLEET FEET SPORTS Lewis & Clark Marathon is located in the Midwest region of the United States. More specifically in St. Charles, Missouri – finishing at the very campsite where the Lewis and Clark Expedition began their epic journey to explore the Missouri River Valley and western territories.
How old is the marathon? Why was it created in the first place?
The Marathon and Half Marathon were founded in 2002 to fill a void in the St. Louis region for a fall marathon and as a great final tune-up for the Chicago Marathon.What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The race is a point-to-point run starting on the eastern side of the Missouri River, crossing over the river, and running through Historic St. Charles. The race begins on wide streets capable of accommodating thousands of participants. As the run progresses, the roads become more narrow and intimate. At the half marathon point the marathoner’s enter the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a crushed limestone, easy-on-the-legs, rail to trail conversion that is tree lined and closely follows the Missouri River. This is an out and back section that allows participants to encourage each other as they complete their last 13 miles. The course is quite fast with only one hill that is 18 meters high.How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
Our race has grown quite steadily over it’s short history and in 2008 we are expecting about 6500 participants – of which about 1500 will compete in the full marathon. Our race is really caters to the everyday runner – the average pace is about 10 minutes per mile. However, each year we do seem to have several great athletes join in to take advantage of the fast course.
Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
Sorry – this is plenty to keep us busy! We really do put a lot of effort into trying to make our participants happy and we don’t want to mitigate the main races with other events.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
At that time of year we have moderate weather with a morning low of 53 degrees Fahrenheit and an afternoon high of 77 degrees.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
This year we are offering a race expo, pasta diner including “Once a Runner” author John Parker as a speaker, and a post race bash on the lawn with live music. The Second Annual Tour of Missouri cycling race will finish their 6th stage on Saturday afternoon just 300 meters from our finish line.
The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to St Charles before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
St. Charles is a historic town, now surrounded by a metropolitan area. Much of the quaint nature of the first State Capitol of Missouri has been preserved in the Main Street District of town. Antique shops, wineries and restaurants abound in town and beyond. For those looking for more action, our host hotel Ameristar Casino and Hotel is home to our expo and offers dining from casual to fine. Don’t overlook the pastry shop that will be sure to fill those caloric voids left from the marathon! For entertainment beyond gambling they offer a sports bar, live bands and a spectacular new nightclub.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Lewis & Clark Marathon ?
There is a reason the Lewis & Clark Marathon grew over 30% last year – come see why!
Thank you David and a special thank to Jeff Neuschwander for his help with this interview.
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