The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon 2015 Race Recap

The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon 2015 Race Recap

It’s been a little over a week since my last race of the year and before this one gets lost in the mix of Christmas and New Years I guess I should get up some sort of a recap!  The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon was my 14th marathon (and 3rd this year).  Typically months of dedicated training goes into a marathon and I’ve never been someone to run one “for fun” so this was a new experience for me.

I ran this marathon in 2013 and it was a huge breakthrough race for me- my first time to run sub 3!  It’s had a special place in my heart ever since.  When Jacob Wells, the race director died in 2014 the race took on his name.  He had a huge impact on the running community in Arkansas.

I love everything about this race but because of timing I had not planned on running it.

  • I’d already run the Chicago Marathon in October and the Midsouth Marathon in November. Running a 3rd marathon (in less than 10 weeks) was crazy, right?
  • I had already planned on racing a half marathon the week before the Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon.  Can you race a half and a full one week apart?
  • Running 3B26 would affect and delay my upcoming spring marathon training schedule.
  • 3B26 was at the end of a very busy week. (End of semester for J and the kids. Also, John was having ear surgery earlier in the week.)

But there was a quiet voice in my head that said forget all those reasons and just run. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it.  I didn’t know what would happen but I didn’t want to regret not trying.  I decided to bring it up to John and if he thought it was a bad idea I knew he’d let me know. Surprisingly enough, John was actually pretty supportive and didn’t think it was crazy at all.  He knows me well. : )  So with 2.5 weeks to go until race day I decided to sign up!

My coach and I were thinking 6:45-6:50 would be a good pace to shoot for but I honestly had no idea what my body would be up for one week after a half marathon.  My longest run was 16 miles since the last marathon.  My main goal was to have fun and enjoy the experience. I wanted to do my best and finish the year on a positive note. Adding in a marathon “for fun” was a refreshing change. I did not post anything about it on social media leading up to the race and I actually only told a few people I was even doing it. There was zero pressure and everything about pre-race was low key and relaxed.


My friend Lisa picked me up at my house Saturday morning at 5:00. She’d already picked up the race packets the day before so we figured it would be an hour drive there and then we’d have an hour before the race.  I ate two pieces of toast with peanut butter and most of a banana (my usual pre-marathon meal). I also had about 8 oz. if water and 8 oz. of spark.


With Lisa before the start of the race

My only suggestion for this race would be to have a few more portapotties at the start. The line stayed pretty long.  After 2 bathroom trips and checking my gear I only had a few minutes to spare before the race start.

The Weather:

The weather for 3B26 this year was PERFECT. In my opinion it really doesn’t get any better than this! Race temps started in the low 30’s and rose to mid 40’s. Wind was calm and it was partly sunny. It was the perfect racing weather!


Sunrise at the start of the 3 Bridges Marathon. (Photo credit @ Lisa Gunnoe)

The Race:

Miles 1-13: 6:50, 6:49, 6:44, 6:47, 6:49, 6:55, 6:39, 6:36, 6:47, 6:49, 6:27, 6:44, 6:47

From the beginning I was first female and right behind the 2nd lead pack. Somehow I hit the jackpot with a group to run with who were pacing right around 6:50.  There were 3 college-age guys who I assumed were shooting for a sub 3 and they switched the lead every mile.  There were two other men in our group and we were knocking out very even splits. I was planning on sticking with this group as long as possible but around the 10k mark the group fell apart when the guys all stopped at a portapotty.  I stayed with another Masters runner who I recognized from the last time I ran 3B26. He had actually just finished a few seconds behind me that year so I knew he could finish sub 3. He looked like he was having a great day and when I saw a 6:27 at mile 11 I knew I better not try to keep up with him. From that point on I was on my own but I stayed positive and remembered to enjoy the day. I went through the half at 1:29:09.

mi 2
Around mile 2 I believe
mi 10
Around mile 10- I just couldn’t keep up with this guy. He finished around 2:58!

Miles 14-26.2: 6:44, 6:48, 6:49, 6:48, 7:08, 6:47, 6:59, 6:58, 7:11, 7:17, 7:26, 7:41, 7:36, 7:08 avg for last 0.37

The biggest incline in the race was during mile 18 going up the Big Dam Bridge. Once I made it to the top I focused on making it to mile 20 and then the last 10k. I stayed right on track with a 6:45 average until the final 5 miles and then I really faded. I was not hard on myself and I didn’t get discouraged. I did my best with what I had in me that day. The next time I run 26.2 I’m going to be ready for that last 10k!

mi 17
Mile 18- The Big Dam Bridge
Mile 26- trying to hold it together. Form is looking terrible!


Official Time- 3:02:45 (1st female / 6th overall). Official results can be found here.

So good to see this bunch at the finish!

If I’ve learned anything this fall it’s that a sub 3 marathon is still a beast. It definitely requires my “A” game… I’ve done it 3 times and it’s not something to be taken lightly.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this but I’m so glad I did it and enjoyed a beautiful race morning. I really love this race and definitely plan to run it again- maybe as a goal race.  I would strongly recommend this as a must-run marathon in Arkansas.  It’s very scenic and just a great course in general.  One other great thing about this race- FREE RACE PICTURES! I love when races do this!  Thank you!!

Huge Shout-out Time:

One of my coaching clients, Jamie also ran 3B26 and set a big 3 minute PR! She finished in 3:14:16 (2nd female)! I’m so proud of Jamie and so glad I was able to be there to see her finish.

This race was the perfect one to end 2015. I don’t know exactly what is in store for 2016 but I’m looking forward to it!

And for those of you who follow this running mom from Arkansas on social media- THANK YOU!! I really appreciate your encouragement and support.

Coming soon… The Best and Worst of 2015.

12 thoughts on “The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon 2015 Race Recap

  1. Congratulations on your impromptu marathon and WIN! I love that your client Jamie was 2nd too, that is neat to share a victory with a friend. It looks like this was a really fun race in general with perfect weather and you can’t beat free pictures (the pictures of you are good as well). Glad you had family and friends there to support you for a good race, and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season too!
    Amy Lauren recently posted…Weekly Rundown: December 21-27My Profile

  2. Wow! What an awesome race and definitely a great way to end the year! I look forward to living as a fast runner vicariously through you and your race recaps in 2016! Happy New Year!

  3. WOW!! Way to go, Jamie; I had no idea, Tia! Of course, you ladies are long gone by the time I get to the finish – hahaha! Congratulations on a great race; most of all, I’m so glad you could finish out the year on a high note and enjoy this race. It was great to chat with you beforehand (and I totally agree on the porta-potty situation) and thank you for all of the encouragement!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Library Checkout: December 2015My Profile

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