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Fall marathon recommendations?

2204 Views 43 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  fox-runr
I'm starting to think and look on about fall marathons. My preferences are flat (I like hills but there are no hills to train on where I live), not huge in terms of field, fast BQ-friendly course, and as easy and inexpensive as possible to travel to.<br><br>
Right now I'm considering:
<ul><li>Self-Transcendence (Nyack NY) 8/24 -- the flat loop course actually appeals to me and so does the race "philosophy," but that's the week classes start and it's on a Friday, so I'd be traveling Thursday and miss work. Also a long drive.</li>
<li>Baltimore 10/13 -- looks hilly though</li>
<li>Marine Corps 10/28 -- done this one. not crazy about the huge field or last 6 miles of the course.</li>
<li>Marshall University 11/4 -- flat flat flat but a long drive to Huntington WV</li>
<li>Richmond 11/10 -- also looks to have some hills but right now I'm leaning toward it. Close in location and looks very well-organized.</li>
<li>Philly 11/18 -- didn't love the course or organization, but I love the city of Philly and did well in last year's race.</li>
<li>Kiawah Island SC 12/8 -- has been recommended by a few people except there are few spectators. I don't think this would bother me as I pretty much ignore spectators unless they are someone I know.</li>
I'd welcome any experience people have had with these, and other suggestions!
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Columbus, Ohio, is a big BQ destination. I've never run it myself, but it's flat, flat, flat in that part of the state and I know people who've run it specifically to try to BQ. I don't think it's a huge field o' people, either. Not tiny, but not crazy.
Let me know what you think of Richmond. I'm already registered for the Nov 10 marathon this year. It falls on the Marine Corps Birthday and since the Marine Corps marathon is too big for me I chose this one. It gets very good reviews in at<br><br>
I'm staying in the host hotel. The rooms were $125.00/night. I think I'm staying 3 nights.<br><br>
I am completely revamping my training for Richmond and working on a 3:45 marathon, which is very doable if I stay on track and keep focused.
Next weekend I am slogging through a half. My running partner is recuperating from bronchitis and has severe asthma. I am just basically in crappy condition. I'm not sure I'll even run my BQ for the half <img alt="smile.gif" src="">.<br><br>
However, if I survive it OK I may start on an 22 flex week plan for a marathon in the fall.<br><br>
Niagara is an interesting race...starts in the US and ends in God's downhill...along the river's edge most of the way.<br><br>
...except it always rains.<br><br>
Detroit...starts in the US...crosses the border to give people a taste of God's Country...returns to the US...ends in Ford Field.<br><br>
I'm not interested in piddly races with few participants or spectators. I'm a people-person and run enough training runs on my own.
JC- that is so funny, because i LOVE tiny little races. The one i am doing tomorrow had 300 people last year, they are expecting 400-700 this year.<br><br>
I would love to do Gods Country Marathon in PA but it always falls at an odd place in my schedule.
The Niagara Falls marathon is very nice, although the weather can always be somewhat dicy. It's about as flat a race as you can ever run with the exception of maybe Myrtle Beach. About the only hill of significance is the bridge crossing from Buffalo to Canada.<br><br>
The year I ran it U.S. Customs would not permit runners to cross the bridge so the route had to switched to an all Canadian route. It rained the first 5 minutes of the race and then we were fine the rest of the way.<br><br>
It was also the first marathon I ran under 4 hours.
If you want fast, flat, and BQ'able, I'd recommend Bay State in Lowell, MA. Flat and fast. About 800 runners in the full, and about 1500 in the 1/2. Well supported in terms of aid stations.<br><br>
Of course, you <b><i>really</i></b> should consider some trail marathon with a mountain at mile 9 in Fairbanks Alaska on the 15th of September! <img alt="wink.gif" src=""><img alt="biggrin.gif" src="">
Here's a great Boston qualifier course, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, October 7, 2007. I got a 3 minute PR there last year and this year my wife and I will both be shooting for new PR's there. Last year I did it as part of my three marathon autumn build up with Philly being the finale. It's a point to point course that runs along bikepaths for 18 miles. A small race, usually with about 400 - 500 runners, it has a net downhill of 450' and it's a course you can really smoke if you're in good shape. There's little crowd support, no chip timing (but you'll cross the start line in only a few seconds, so no worries), but it's a great place to run if you are self-motivating (translation: big crowds distract me!).<br><br>
I don't think it's a big distance from where you live to the Schenectady - Albany area, right?<br><br>
Hey Meri... you like small races. Want to join me and my DW there?<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br><br>
Go to 2006 results and you'll see me, 92nd overall!
* Self-Transcendence (Nyack NY) 8/24 -- I don't know anyone who has done this one.<br><br>
* Baltimore 10/13 -- I know quite a few people who have done this one, but not one person who really likes it very much. No specific reason, just kind of a "blah" race. I'll be running Hartford on this day.<br><br>
* Marine Corps 10/28 -- done it. Once. Never again. Too many other better choices unless you really get psyched by it (and it doesn't sound like you do).<br><br>
* Marshall University 11/4 -- done this one. It is flat for WV, but it is not completely pancake flat. You end in the football stadium and get to carry a ball down the field to the finish line in the far endzone. If you know the history of Marshall's team and/or saw "We Are Marshall", this is WAAAY cool. I like this race a lot. Medium chance I will run it this year. There's a marathon this same weekend (but on Saturday) in Wynne Arkansas. Nice, semi-hilly course. Very fun race.<br><br>
* Richmond 11/10 -- "also looks to have some hills but right now I'm leaning toward it. Close in location and looks very well-organized." It is supremely well-organized, plus this is a special anniversary year for the race. The hills are really not that bad... not at all. Nice downhill finish. I will be at this race. Someone else mentioned Harrisburg... a little flatter... I'll be at that race too.<br><br>
* Philly 11/18 -- "didn't love the course or organization, but I love the city of Philly and did well in last year's race." If you didn't love it, I would only suggest it IF the logistics are simple for you. Otherwise, pick another one and experience something new <img alt="smile.gif" src="">. That said, all my friends like Philly. I haven't done it and won't this year.<br><br>
* Kiawah Island SC 12/8 -- "has been recommended by a few people except there are few spectators. I don't think this would bother me as I pretty much ignore spectators unless they are someone I know." The biggest thing to consider about this race, aside from a fairly boring double loop course, is WIND. It can be really WINDY. Also, the organizerRDdude is quirky... registration is only open for a small window, and my friends who have emailed him about getting in always get really weird responses. I won't be running it... I'll run Rocket City and Dallas White Rock on this weekend. I don't know how far Huntsville Alabama is for you, but Rocket City is considered a fast course. I liked it ok. The city isn't really pretty during brown-dead-winter, but the race is well supported. It's "flat", but that means "flat for the area". A few rollers, about like Richmond.<br><br>
SGH, email me if you want to talk about other choices (same name as here at hotmail).
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Thanks for the recommendation WU! I will at the VT50 the week before, no traveling two weekends in a row <img alt="sad.gif" src=""> I try to only travel and take off of work, once every 6-8 weeks. Though a bit more during race season.<br><br>
srlopez- you are a walking marathon guide <img alt="smile.gif" src=""> i am contemplating harrisburg, if you are going to be there again.
Ah yes, the VT50. That's the reason why I do the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon; to keep me from foolishly entering that ultra!<br><br>
BTW: We just registered for the MHRM today! So DW and I are signed up for VCM in May, San Francisco in July and Mohawk Hudson in October. I'll probably also do Adirondack in September so I don't get rusty.
I'd do Kiawah, but that's just because I miss the South.. I have also heard it's boring.<br><br>
I love the large races... the crowd gets me pumped up and I dont feel the pain as badly...<br><br>
The lottery thing scares me.
I'll absolutely stay in touch with you on this, GRR. Next week I should have time to drive there. If I choose Richmond, 3:45 will also be my time goal, so we can be virtual training buddies.<br><br>
Voodoo -- I'll look into Columbus.<br><br>
Wu, srlopez, and others -- I appreciate the very useful information and may follow up via e-mail. I think Niagra & Albany are a bit farther than I'd like to travel.
Just saw this posted on another board and thought it was interesting. It might be too early for me and I'm not sure if it will be certified but if it's true that Bart Yasso is running it I would think it would be. Since I don't know if BQ is even a possibility I might try this. Does anyone think it is weird to "train" for a marathon without knowing which one or when I will do it? I was thinking if starting a training plan (16-20 weeks) and if I miss a key run or runs just add weeks onto the schedule and when I'm ready (3-4 20+ mile runs) run whichever comes up next. I have 3 kids and a sick parent so I can't make my training too rigid. Any suggestions? BTW still thinking of A/C in Oct. with the number of women running that I would actually have a shot at winning! (joking<img alt="smile.gif" src=""> Thanks<br>
have you done this one? what did you think?
Different Strokes...<br><br>
God's Country Marathon in PA????...oh no, the invasion has started without me and we now control PA??<br><br>
Altogether now:<br><br>
"I pledge allegiance to the Maple Leaf flag...."<br><br><img alt="biggrin.gif" src="">
<a href="" target="_blank">Chickamauga!</a>
You have a good point.<br><br>
If a PR or other fast time is in your consideration, I believe field size is an important factor.<br><br>
For me, field size of 3000 (minimum of 1000) is about right to have enough competition in the periphery in order to give myself the best chances to race well.
I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to one of these years since I want to do a marathon in my home state.<br><br>
I didn't do it for my first marathon last year b/c I didn't love the course (3 loops, not in Newport) and b/c a lot of my running friends were doing Philly. They have a new course this year that looks like a great tour of Newport, so that's a big plus.<br><br>
I don't know much else about the race other than that it's small and doesn't get many locals. Most of the field are 50-State Club people who need to cross RI off their list.
Who has done Lakefront in Milwaukee? fox-runr? How flat or rolling is that course?<br><br>
That one, Marshall University, and Columbus are back on my radar screen. I was hoping not to travel so far, but it could be worth it for a faster course. Wednesday I'm heading to Richmond to drive the course which I expect will help a lot.
MUM is flatter than Columbus (which is NOT pancake flat, but "pretty flat"<img alt="wink.gif" src="">.<br><br>
Columbus is flatter than Richmond (which is not flat, but has flat parts).<br><br>
Richmond is flatter than Lakefront (which is not flat at all... they have an elevation chart on their site: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>)<br><br>
A quick glance at Lakefront's chart may cause you to think it is a downhill course. It is, overall, but really it is roly poly. HOWEVER, there is a lot of downhill and flat in the last miles, and that can help a lot when you are tired.<br><br>
All of these are great choices. If I can say this... perhaps you are trying too hard to find the perfect course? Because you can find the best course possible... if the weather doesn't cooperate on race day, it won't matter so much.<br><br>
All are good, "fast" courses. Go with whichever one will cause you lowest stress.
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