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#8870 - 11/02/10 03:46 PM Marathon vs Whitney?
Greg T Offline


Registered: 11/02/10
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
I am having a bit of a good natured disagreement with a good friend of mine. Which do you think is tougher; hiking Mt. Whitney or running a marathon? I have never run a marathon but I have hiked the MWMT twice, (one day hike and one overnight). My friend has never hiked Whitney but says that running a marathon is harder.

I thought the day hike was a little harder than hauling the heavier pack on the overnight trip, but not much.

Your thoughts?? Have some of you done both?

PS With any luck, my friend will come to Whitney with me this summer and we will find out!

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#8872 - 11/02/10 04:32 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Greg T]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
I've run a few marathons, including a couple of Wild, Wild West Marathons in Lone Pine and a marathon in Death Valley.

Day hiking Mt Whitney is harder in my opinion. On top of that, the training is harder to get because you have to drive to a place to get elevation. Downhill is tougher on the joints. Marathon running is usually pretty flat (though I only ran off road marathons) and you can just leave your front door to get started.

I think an overnight is easier than a marathon, with the exception of the acclimatization. Day hiking is hard and you really can't stop anywhere. When you are at the summit, you have to go back and by then you are pretty tired.

On election day, my vote:

Mt Whitney day hike.....1
Marathon................0

Now.....Badwater......that's another story!
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#8874 - 11/02/10 04:39 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Greg T]
Tyrone Biggums Offline


Registered: 11/02/10
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Only 1 successful day hike under my belt and completed 1 marathon (in not so glorious fashion).

You can always bail half-way through a marathon and get a ride back.

Bail half-way through the hike... it's still a long hike back, albeit downhill.

When I did my day hike, I ran into hail, rain, lightning, and snow. I figure most marathons will be called off under these conditions.

Both are definitely physically demanding, specially for those that are not in super duper athletic shape (like me).

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#8875 - 11/02/10 04:51 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Tyrone Biggums]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7581
Loc: Fresno, CA
But Tyrone, you didn't give us a definitive vote!

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#8876 - 11/02/10 04:57 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Steve C]
Tyrone Biggums Offline


Registered: 11/02/10
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
But Tyrone, you didn't give us a definitive vote!


...for me? Dayhike was more challenging.
But it was also a lot more fun and satisfying in the end.

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#8878 - 11/02/10 05:04 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Greg T]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
My completion track record:

3 for 3 Full Marathons, 15 for 15 half-marathons smile

0 for 2 Whitney Summits mad(1 over-night, 1 dayhike)

My vote:

Whitney is tougher. Big reason is the altitude, terrain, and lack of any support stations along the way. (A good marathon has water/aid stations every mile or two)

If your friend starts comparing Whitney to ultra-marathons (100+ miles) then my vote may change...but not likely.

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#8879 - 11/02/10 05:09 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: wazzu]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
what about those of us with bad knees who can't run but can still hike all day long? In that case :

Whitney - just do it (3 X here)
Marathon - impossible



Edited by Harvey Lankford (11/02/10 05:10 PM)

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#8880 - 11/02/10 05:27 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7581
Loc: Fresno, CA
I guess I can't compare apples to apples, since I haven't dayhiked Whitney in a couple of decades.

My marathon experience required several months of training: long-distance runs, with hours of recovery time after each one; quads that ached during the runs and afterwards. Then I could hardly step off a curb for days after the marathons.

But the dayhike oh-so-long-ago, did not require much more than general conditioning for me, except that I was sick with AMS at the summit. I guess I should dayhike the Main Trail again one of these years so I can compare.

But my vote is that the marathon was way harder.

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#8881 - 11/02/10 06:18 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Steve C]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
With a new hip, I can't run marathons anymore either. But, a marathon is just about 4 miles further than Mt Whitney......and you don't have to run uphill, avoid rocks, deal with altitude issues, and so on.

Now that we are talking about Marathons....

Is anyone going to do the Wild Wild West Marathon
in Lone Pine, right below Whitney the first weekend of May? I'm going to walk it, and possibly do some light "jogging".

I would love to know who might be going AND it is a great prep for a Mt Whitney hike.
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twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#8882 - 11/02/10 06:58 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: quillansculpture]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
QS,

I'm more of a 1/2 marathoner, but this sounds interesting. Especially since it's advertised as 'walker friendly'. I'm definately more of a walker than a jogger in a full marathon, and I don't even have hip/knee replacement as a reason, I'm just slow. (I sure hope 'walker friendly' means actual walking and not having to need a walker to cross the finish line.)

As long as you are doing the 26.2 mile marathon and not the ultra 50k marathon (31 miles), I'm going to 'pencil' it on my calendar. Give me something to start planning for next year.

Anybody else....maybe some of the Westsiders want to come over and have a east vs west wager? Something along the line of who buys the post-race beverage? whistle



Edited by wazzu (11/02/10 07:01 PM)

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#8883 - 11/02/10 07:31 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: quillansculpture
. . . a marathon is just about 4 miles further than Mt Whitney......and you don't have to run uphill, avoid rocks, deal with altitude issues, and so on.


This subject of comparing a Whitney dayhike and a marathon comes up often from runners who want to try a really big mountain like Whitney, and Joe and wazzu make some very good points. Joe's point about running uphill could be revised to "you don't have to run uphill for 11 sustained miles". And, unlike a road race, you can't bail if you decide you've had enough and the body's just not cooperating - when that happens on a big mountain, you are still exactly halfway to the quitting point, barring the need for SAR assistance and a chopper ride out.

When Joe and I summitted back in July, it was the tail end of the Badwater Marathon and we encountered several ultra-marathoners on the trail. Absolute beasts who did the Badwater-Portal route, then managed to snag permits and continue to the summit. No pack, lightweight running shoes and a single water bottle. After what they had been through, Whitney was just icing on the cake (those who didn't get slapped down with AMS, anyway).

When I hear this topic pop up, I think of a great story that Bob Rockwell recounted here at some point in the past year (can't find it, but I bet you can Steve smile ) - one in which a group of bad-ass, young distance runners essentially blew off Bob's offer to hike up the main trail with them one day. Bob, of course, made the summit just fine, but almost all of the young distance group dropped like flies along the way.

In comparing a Whitney dayhike to a marathon, there are just so many more variables at play with the hike that can produce less-than-desirable results.

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#8884 - 11/02/10 09:04 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Bulldog34]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Well a marathon can be walked also Harvey. It doesn't have to be run on and pound those arthritic knees. I plan to walk a marathon next year since I know my knees and back can't take the pounding of running. I have a patient who walks marathons in 6 hours.I don't care about my time or getting a ribon.I just want to check it off my list. I wish I had done it while I was in Whitney hiking shape which was up until last year.
My thoughts having trained like I was training to hike Whitney and walk a marathon would say climbing Whitney is way tougher due to the altitude.

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#8887 - 11/02/10 10:33 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Rod]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 351
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Walking a marathon is obviously easier than hiking Mt. Whitney, but that wasn't the question. I trained ten times as hard for my first marathon (4:16) as I did for my first Whitney summit (a 13-hour day hike). We're comparing very different things here, but the marathon is physically harder, assuming you actually run it. On the other hand, a marathon doesn't require any of the knowledge or skills we debate at great length on this board and elsewhere.

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#8888 - 11/02/10 10:55 PM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: bobpickering]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
My 2 cents:

1. Running prepared me for Whitney (I had one hike all season, but many miles of running) but hiking Whitney would not have trained me to run. (I did not do it as a day hike, but as relaxed/moderately refreshed as I felt on the summit arrival, I feel I could have done a dayhike with just a little more prep)

2. 2 days of acclimatizing (dimox even better) took care of the altitude with zero negative symptoms of AMS, but no amount of passive training could help my running.

3. I could hike Whitney with running as a base, but walking a trail would never be enough to prepare for a marathon. In sheer dedication of time/effort, a marathon would take much much more.
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#8891 - 11/03/10 07:22 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: bobpickering]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1015
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
assuming you actually run it.

Bob and Rod, I don't consider it a marathon unless it is run. When I dayhiked Tuolumne to Agnew 29 miles in 14 hrs I did not consider that a marathon. Never a thought of it.

Just to tease....The ancient Greek who ran(and died!) well, er, um, set the standard!

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#8892 - 11/03/10 09:31 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
That is funny and a great analogy Harvey.But my patient who walks the marathon in 6 hours thinks of it as a real marathon accomplishment. That is faster than a lot of "runners" that finish.So is completing the distance laid out for a marathon matter if you walk it or slowly jog crawl to the finish line?

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#8893 - 11/03/10 10:01 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: bobpickering]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
4:16 is a really good time.

One of the years I did the Wild Wild West, the winning time was a bit over 3:29.51, while the last marathoner came in at 8:39. I reached the halfway point at under 2 hours and thought I was going to have a super time. But, then "Mother Hill" kind of helped take it out of me. My time was 5:41.29. That's a really slow last 13 miles! But, I didn't walk as I was running with a runner from a club in Ridgecrest. She slowed a bit to help me get by the last couple of miles. BUT, I do remember "running" the last two miles in sand and gullies before Tuttle Creek Campground and watching "walkers" passing me by.

I've never run a street marathon, mostly because the dirt runners are wonderful and helpful people who care more about running than winning. Since the Wild Wild West is all dirt, and of course has a nice uphill up to the Portal Road, creek crossings, etc, the times are much slower than a street marathon. My buddy who runs street marathons from time to time can do one in about 4:15, while he finished the WWW in just over 5 hours.

Again, anybody who want to do the WWW, it's May 7th, 6:00 A.M. Start. I'm gonna have Gary call me from Atlanta to wake me :-)
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#8894 - 11/03/10 10:07 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Rod]
AlanK Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 583
Loc: Glendale, CA
Originally Posted By: Rod
That is funny and a great analogy Harvey.But my patient who walks the marathon in 6 hours thinks of it as a real marathon accomplishment. That is faster than a lot of "runners" that finish.So is completing the distance laid out for a marathon matter if you walk it or slowly jog crawl to the finish line?
I am not one to criticize what someone thinks of as a real accomplishment. The range of human capabilities is vast, so each of us has his/her own personal definition of "accomplishment." However, I would think that we could get general agreement that walking a marathon -- in most cases 26.2 relatively flat miles on a good surface -- is easier than the 22 mile Whitney hike. When I think of a marathon, I think of running nonstop trying for the best time I can get. For me, that makes the marathon harder than, say, the Whitney Day hike. On the other hand, I have not run a marathon since 1977. Maybe I'm remembering them as harder than they really were. Also, I can always push harder on the hike. smile

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#8895 - 11/03/10 10:16 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Rod]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7581
Loc: Fresno, CA
Rod, a 6 hour "walking" marathon is quite respectable. That's 4.3 mph; most people can't walk 3 mph, and when hiking, 2 mph is a pretty good pace.

Olympic competitors can walk at 9 mph (a 6:30 mile pace!)

Here's a YouTube clip. Doesn't look anything like walking, if you ask me.


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#8898 - 11/03/10 11:53 AM Re: Marathon vs Whitney? [Re: Steve C]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
We always called those "funny walkers".
There are those guys that are in wheechairs that do the marathons too. Is their accomplishment a legitimate "marathon"?
I wonder if anyone has ever summited Whitney in a wheelchair.

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