On November 6, I flew to Raleigh, NC, to meet Karen, my friend from Arizona (whom I had met at the Green Bay Marathon in Wisconsin a year or so ago) so we could do the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh the next day. She was doing it for her 46th state while I was doing it just to add to my marathon total. There was also a reunion meeting of the 50 state club the day before the race, so we could meet up with Steve and Paula Boone, club founders, and lots of other racers. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Brownstone, about 2 miles from the race start and finish line. Because we had not rented a car, we ended up walking to the Expo and club meeting, a good way to warm up for the race the next day! Race morning we took a taxi to the start since it was early and very cold (at least to us from warmer climates). The race began on time and we took off. Although this race has a strict 6 hour time limit, the directors had promised the 50 staters that people who might be a bit over would be allowed to finish. They were true to their word. I finished in 5:50 so I did came in while the clock was still running – several folks took a bit longer but still had their times listed in the race results. The course was VERY well-marked (that is so important) with volunteers and signs at important turns. I thought the course was varied enough to keep me occupied (without thinking about fatigue or sore shins) and I loved the portion along the Umstead Trail. Very scenic and fall-like with autumn leaf colors, cows, and farmland. Not a lot of spectators (but that’s okay with me) and the volunteers were great! My friend finished earlier (she is a runner) so I walked back to the hotel and later we had a good dinner at a local restaurant. A few days ago I received a package from race sponsors with a neat carry-all bag with the City of Oaks marathon logo – turns out I had placed second in my age group!