My Profile

@Donnald69

Portland, OR Raving since 2014 Boston Marathon finisher, 50 states aspirant/finisher, Marathon Maniac, Seven Continents Club active 7 months, 1 week ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Portland Frontrunners

  • Rave race:

    Antarctica marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    so many…..

  • I run because:

    I run because I can. I run because it is my drug. I run to travel, to meet other people, to visit other cultures. I run because it gives me motivation to become a better person, to share my gifts with others.

My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Newport, OR Jun 24, 2006 3:26:07

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (42)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Petra, Jordan Aug 26, 2017
Marathon Two Harbors, MN Jun 17, 2017
Marathon Carmel, IN Apr 22, 2017
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 17, 2017
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 5, 2017 4:33:56
Marathon Jacmel, Haiti Feb 12, 2017 5:56:50
Marathon Honolulu, HI Dec 11, 2016 4:43:00
Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 13, 2016 3:59:00
Marathon Hood River, OR Oct 23, 2016 3:40:35
Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 16, 2016 4:06:24
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 25, 2016 3:45:44
Marathon Island Park, ID Aug 27, 2016 3:50:00
Marathon Vancouver, WA Jun 19, 2016 4:02:44
Marathon Deadwood, SD Jun 5, 2016 4:45:05
Marathon London, United Kingdom Apr 24, 2016 4:17:09
Marathon Tokyo, Japan Feb 28, 2016 3:55:28
Marathon Mobile, AL Jan 10, 2016 4:08:00
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 9, 2016 3:56:54
Marathon Savannah, GA Nov 7, 2015 3:56:40
Marathon Staten Island, NY Nov 1, 2015 4:38:08
Marathon Cape Town, South Africa Sep 20, 2015 4:38:35
Marathon Wallsburg, UT Jun 13, 2015 3:53:00
Marathon Beijing, China May 16, 2015
Marathon Eugene, OR May 10, 2015 3:40:04
Marathon Cincinnati, OH May 3, 2015 3:49:14
Marathon Houston, TX Jan 18, 2015 3:37:09
Marathon Portland, OR Oct 5, 2014
Marathon Bellingham, WA Sep 28, 2014
Marathon Molt, MT Sep 21, 2014
Marathon Rio, Brazil Jul 27, 2014 3:45:00
Marathon Claremont, Australia Jan 12, 2014 3:53:01
Marathon Big Sur, CA 2014
Marathon King George Island, Antarctica 2013
Marathon Bagan, Burma 2013
Marathon Chicago, IL 2011 4:14:10
Marathon Charleston, SC Jan 1, 2011 3:48:29
Marathon Anchorage, AK 2010 3:31:40
Marathon Athens, Greece 2010 4:28:29
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 7, 2007 3:41:00
Marathon Newport, OR Jun 24, 2006 3:26:07
Marathon Vancouver, Canada 1982 3:59:47
Marathon Oracle, AZ Jan 1, 1970 3:33:47

My Raves

Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

I stayed at the host hotel, Little Rock Marriott. For ease of life, this is the place to stay. Prices are reasonable, the expo is in the basement, and the … MORE

I stayed at the host hotel, Little Rock Marriott. For ease of life, this is the place to stay. Prices are reasonable, the expo is in the basement, and the start and finish of all races this weekend, is just a couple minute walk away. There are other local hotels. If the purpose is to save some money, feel free to look around. If you want your stay in Little Rock to be drama free, stay at the Marriott.
On Saturday I ran the 5K, when a 10K was also an option. If you run a race on Saturday, and again on Sunday, you could earn 3 medals, if you are a collector, I am not. Much like the 5K, the marathon on Sunday started close by, so for the 7 a.m. marathon start, I left my hotel at 6:40. That was awesome! The race takes you all around the city, with only a few hills. There is a mile long or so hill around mile 16, but it wasn’t that steep and by no means over whelming. Most of the course was flat, with several turns, to keep you from getting too bored. You do cross over the river and back early in the marathon on one of the many bridges around Little Rock. There were plenty of water stops, there were plenty of GU stops, but more importantly to many people, there were TONS of beer stops. There were nearly as many beer stops as water stops, and yes, I did stop and took imbibe in more than a couple, sampling the local beer. The course finished very close to where it started, and once across the finish line, you have draped around your neck, possibly the largest medal I have ever witnessed. I would guess it was close to 3 pounds? And after running 26.41 miles, the last thing I want draped around my neck was a 3 pound medal. Luckily for me, since I ran the 5K the day before, I was given a medal that showed that I completed the “combo”, which was of “normal” medal size. I kept this medal, left the 3 pound medal behind and headed to the “after marathon” party, held in the basement of the Marriott. More beer, lots of food, t-shirts and other souviniers to purchase if you missed them at the expo. It was a nice party. All in all, this was a nice, well organized marathon. If looking for a nice race in March, head to Little Rock.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Let’s Go Haiti Marathon

Let’s Go Haiti Marathon

Haiti is a wonderful place. Unusual in every sense of the word. A big city, little diversity, the very rich and the very poor. This marathon will be possibly the … MORE

Haiti is a wonderful place. Unusual in every sense of the word. A big city, little diversity, the very rich and the very poor. This marathon will be possibly the most unusual experience ever, as a marathon. The race website states “capped at 1000 runners”. Anticipating it to sell out fast, I signed up early. Imagine my surprise when at the dinner/briefing the evening before, I learned there were 15 runners, approximately. Now there were reasons it was smaller than “normal”. The date had been changed to accommodate the presidential election. Many people dropped out. But only 15 marathoners, approximately. 7 countries were represented. We were informed at the safety briefing that “It was best to run together”. Wasn’t certain what was meant by that. The time of the marathon was originally scheduled for 4 a.m. due to the heat. Somehow it was changed to 5 a.m., but then several runners complained and the time was returned to the original 4 a.m. time. It was Haiti, in the caribbean, after all, and the heat and humidity could be stifling, even at 4 a.m. So at 3 a.m. we were picked up at the host hotel, the Royal Oasis, and shuttled a short distance to the start line. It was dark, it was warm, but not hot. A slight breeze was nice. There were “approximately” 15 of us at the start line. By 5 a.m. we were ready to go. The marathon started out high in the hills of Petionville, a rather large suburb of Port au Prince. The first 13ish miles was run slowly and steadily downhill. The final 13ish miles were run back up those same hills. In the dark of the morning, we will be running downhill, and in the heat of the day, we will be running uphill. Hmmmm. Listening to the safety meeting advice, although also planned beforehand, my friend Carrie and I ran together. We took our time running downhill. This was Haiti, and all around Haiti one will see animals. Not wild, just wandering animals. Pigs, goats, cows, sheep and chickens. Wandering. Everywhere or anywhere. Wandering. We were promised water stops every 2 miles, and signs would be posted at any point that the runner must turn. If you do not see a sign, DO NOT TURN. There were maybe, 3 water stops in the dark, on the downhill portion of the marathon. The signs were also quite obvious and this made the route, obvious. My friend Carrie decided to only run the first 13.1 miles, and luckily, we had a police escort which was quickly followed by a medical vehicle, behind us. So she jumped in. The privilege of having only 15 runners, approximately, meant very personal service and escorts. I was now alone, and I am guessing that there were about 10 runners somewhere in front of me. Since the water situation had been fairly regular, I handed my camelback to my friend Carrie, and took off to make up some time on the 10 people or so in front of me. BIG MISTAKE. First of all, I did not see another water stop the rest of the run. The signage also came to a complete halt. I ran, and walked, and ran, up a very steep hill. I did catch several other runner/walkers, but continued on. Because there were no signs, I never turned, I just ran and ran and well, mostly walked. I am now in the heat of the day, sweating profusely, certain I am lost in a very large, crowded congested city, and oh yeah, very thirsty. Around mile 19, a policeman on a motorbike pulled up alongside me and somehow managed to ask if I was with the marathon. I answered “wi, wi”, in my best creole. I then demonstrated that I was incredibly thirsty, and he took off. Thank goodness he understood, because about a mile later, this nice police officer showed up with 2 baggies of water. I quickly drank one, and saved the other, because I still had 6 miles to go. He escorted me the next 3 miles, and although I never did see a sign, he was able to get me on the right path, and on my way to completing this grueling run. When I did cross the finish line, my garmin showed 24.5 miles, which means either I was never on the course and the man in the uniform just escorted me to the finish line, or else, the course was considerably short. There was no fanfare at the finish. I had to beg for something to drink. Eventually the director found me and asked how long I had been done. As it turns out, I later found, that nobody ran 26.2 miles, most people never even finished, and no one was even certain who was still on the course.
I travel to Haiti once a year to volunteer at a medical clinic. I absolutely adore this country and the resilience of the people. They have been dealt a very short stick, corrupt politicians, and poverty at levels that I have never witnessed anywhere else that I have traveled. But they have a marathon. Still in its infancy, with a lot of improvement in its future, it is nonetheless, a real, bonafide marathon. When I asked the race director (of Haitian descent, but lives in New York), why he runs a marathon here, he stated “Every great country deserves to have a marathon”. Haiti is indeed a great country. So with everything I have just reported, the dysfunction, lack of signage, no water stops, animals and vehicles in your pathway, why would one ever decide to travel to Port au Prince to run this marathon. My answer is simple. This is the greatest experience that I have ever had at a marathon. You get to see this country, bare bones and all, you see the poverty, the congestion, the real Haiti. And you get to see it over a 26 mile (more or less) run through a great city. Do NOT run this marathon alone. Bring along a friend and run together. Walk if you must, but experience Port au Prince like no one ever has. I will even join you, if you ask. I feel this strongly about this country and what a marathon can mean to the people here. My favorite part of the marathon? In the last couple of miles, you walk through an extremely congested market. I literally jumped over chickens and produce laid out on blankets. I became part of the culture and I enjoyed it immensely. Run this marathon for an intense experience, but please, do not attempt to set any records. You will be sorely disappointed.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Honolulu Marathon

Honolulu Marathon

The marathon is started and finished in Waikiki, the tourist area of Honolulu. The expo is within walking distance of most every hotel in the area. This is the way … MORE

The marathon is started and finished in Waikiki, the tourist area of Honolulu. The expo is within walking distance of most every hotel in the area. This is the way large city marathons should be organized. The Honolulu marathon offers a very inexpensive sign up, but you need to sign up a year in advance to get this offer.
Expo: Close to hotels, nice sized, lots of goodies to buy, crowds are large, but the expo is in a large auditorium.
The Race: Starts at 5 a.m., when the sun is still 2 1/2 hours from rising. This is a good thing, because it can (and did) get quite warm in Honolulu, even in December. This is a large marathon, and lining up at the start is completely on an honor system. If you are a first timer, and if you did not read the fine print CLOSELY, you might not be aware that faster runners line up first. I found that I was passing those walking the course for the first 2-3 miles. This marathon has absolutely NO CUT OFF time to complete the race, therefore there are a very large number of walkers. BUT….. you are in Hawaii, and this is a marathon that you should enjoy, so although in some marathons I get frustrated with walkers starting up front, I was completely ok with the laid back feel of this race. I did not find the course to be the most scenic of courses, but at the same time, if you looked around, it was enjoyable and beautiful. I was fortunate to run with a friend the first 13.1 miles, before taking off on my own. Once on my own, rather than take off and run hard, I continued to enjoy the crowds, visiting with a few others along the way. Again, I will repeat, run this marathon slow and enjoy the laid back atmosphere, because that is what most of the participants were doing.
The shirt and medal, were both given at the end of the run. That is, you receive a “Finishers T-shirt”, which I wish all marathons would resort to. There was a party atmosphere at the finish line, and I have no idea how long it went on, because people were still on the course 18 to 19 hours later.
This is a fun race. It does get warm, and it does get crowded. Enjoy Hawaii, and enjoy the course.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

To be fair, I am not a fan of Vegas. Do not like the crowds, do not enjoy the noise, not a gambler. Therefore, my review might be tainted, but … MORE

To be fair, I am not a fan of Vegas. Do not like the crowds, do not enjoy the noise, not a gambler. Therefore, my review might be tainted, but I will do my best to support my review. I am also not a big fan of the Rock n Roll movement.
Sign Up: Easy, quick, fairly inexpensive for a Rock n Roll.
Expo: The expo was centrally located, but most hotels were not so centrally located. That means, if you knew the way, you could walk, or you (as I did), could pay $5 each way to/from the expo. It really should be a little easier to get to.
The race itself: The race started at 4:30 p.m., just as the sun is setting. This is good and bad. One might be under dressed to begin with, as Vegas can be quite warm. Once the sun sets, it gets chilly, and fast. I am a warm runner, so was fine, but heard a few complaints from others that they were freezing. Southerners?!? The course begins midway along the strip, runs to one end, turns around, and runs the length of the strip. Large crowds, plenty of lights, it was the best part of the race. I actually greatly enjoyed the first 5 miles or so, and was looking forward to an enjoyable run. Unfortunately, once you leave the strip, you are running through dark streets, canned music blaring, with very few spectators. I found that I was watching the ground for the next 18 miles or so, because at times it was quite dark. I would also expect a few more “live” acts along the course. The canned music is hideously boring, and the volume was turned up so loud, that I personally would have been happier had there been no music whatsoever. At once point, I think around mile 16 or so, we spend 3-4 miles running loops through an abandoned parking lot, with, you guessed it, canned music paying incredibly loud. The final 1-2 miles had the runners once again on the strip, which helped to pick me up and finish strong.
There are far more half marathoners, and one thing the organizers did right, it they separated the half from the full marathoners so the finish was not so congested.
Swag: A nice medal, a decent tech shirt and a surprisingly nice, light jacket.
Pre Race entertainment was Snoop Dogg, who was quite entertaining. I enjoyed his music, although if I had a child with me, I would not have been too thrilled. I think he used the “F” word at least once in every sentence he muttered.
Post Race party was nice, lots of snack opportunities, music, drinks and spectators joining in. Again, advertising as a Rock n Roll marathon, lets see a few more live bands, rather than playing canned music.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half Marathon

Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half Marathon

This was an absolutely beautiful course. Run along the Columbia River (Oregon side), sweeping views up and down the river. Run on a paved road, you run amongst a old … MORE

This was an absolutely beautiful course. Run along the Columbia River (Oregon side), sweeping views up and down the river. Run on a paved road, you run amongst a old growth forest but still get glimpses of the views the majority of the run. It WAS hilly. Up and down, the entire course. A small race, I think around 225 marathon finishers, one never felt crowded. It was easy to visit with others because of the small number of runners, which made the run go by quickly.
START: 9 a.m. start, but they also offered an 8 a.m. early start. A surprising number of runners took the early start. Parking is plentiful, and then they bus you uphill to the start. Precisely 2.5 miles uphill. You will appreciate this start location around mile 24.
SWAG: A light 1/4 zip jacket and a beanie given to all runners.
POST RACE PARTY: If you like a taco bar, 2 types of home made soup, beer, water, and other drinks and a multitude of locally picked fruit, you will enjoy the food. The organization also allowed runners to sign up for other races that they sponsor at a nice discount.
MEDAL:. The medal was nice sized, heavy and showcased the autumn leaves falling around.

This was a beautiful course. Definitely one of the nicest I have ever run. Although a tough race, I ran a negative split (my second ever) and ran my best time for 2016. Speaks well for small crowds and conversation.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

First off, the city of Detroit is nothing what I had expected. The downtown is built along the Detroit river, separating the city from Windsor, Canada. A beautiful city, with … MORE

First off, the city of Detroit is nothing what I had expected. The downtown is built along the Detroit river, separating the city from Windsor, Canada. A beautiful city, with several professional sports teams, and a history dating back to the late 1600’s (city established 1701).
EXPO: Nothing spectacular, offering one the ability to purchase shirts, shorts, cups, decals, whatever you could possibly want, to remember your marathon experience. At the expo you can meet with both the USA and Canadian Border Patrol, asking questions regarding crossing the border. I was advised to carry my Passport, or in my case my Global Entry card, and without it, if stopped, I would not be able to continue the race. The reality is, there are so many runners bunched together early in the race (you cross the border around miles 3 and 8), that there is no way you could be stopped. As long as you have a bib on front, this is a non issue.
LODGING: I stayed at the Crown Plaza, which turned out to be great. Located about 3 blocks from the start and about 6 blocks from the finish, this hotel is about as close as you can get. I did see a Holiday in close by, as well as a Marriott. The point is, get a downtown hotel, they might cost a little extra, but it will save you all kinds of time race day. I left my hotel at 6:30, race time was 7:00 and I had to sit and wait 20 minutes.
THE RACE ITSELF: This is a beautiful course, mostly because you are running close to the Detroit river much of the way. Close to the end of the marathon, around mile 20-23, you enter and run around Belle Isle, making the course even that much more spectacular. The first couple miles are run in Detroit, which takes you to the Ambassador Bridge, crossing into Windsor, Canada. The views are amazing, take the time to look around!! This is your biggest bump on the course, and though it does last for a while, it is a gradual climb and not as bad as it looks. The next 4-5 miles are run in Windsor, where the locals really come out to support their neighbors to the north and the course they share. Again, most of this takes you along the river, although you do run into a few neighborhoods. The worst part of the course, and I would say most unusual and I am glad I had the opportunity begins about mile 7.1 and ends at the 8 mile marker. The runners actually run UNDER the Detroit river, through a tunnel, crossing back into the USA. It was very hot and humid, and definitely affected my race. I was informed later that they pump cool air into the tunnel, but you must run on the left hand side. I ran on the right, because it was less congested, and suffered from the heat. Next time?? The tunnel is closed to traffic and it did make the course more interesting, just to tell your friends you ran 1 mile under the river. The rest of the course spends time alternating along the river, running through some high end, as well as lower end neighborhoods, finally around Belle isle and then finishing the last couple of miles through downtown. It really was a beautiful, and entertaining course.
SPECTATORS: There were spectators almost everywhere (not in the tunnel), yet there were never large crowds. I actually found it more enjoyable that there spectators to the point of being lifted up, but not loud and obnoxious (hello NEW York).
FINISH LINE: You finish about a block from where you started, and the finish line was evident as you made the final turn. It was about a 1/2 mile finish, seeming to get further away, the closer you got. The finishers Medal was nice, definitely show casing some of the history of Detroit. Not too large, but rather heavy. A few snacks were offered at the finish line, and a small celebration ensued.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I did enjoy this race. Not a big fan of big races, this course never felt overly crowded. 26,000 or so participants, split between the full, USA half, international half and marathon relay made one feel comfortable with the crowds. I wish I had spent more time to explore the city more, as Detroit definitely has a great vibe to it, and lots to see. I would say this was one of my favorite larger marathons.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

For a big time, big city, 38,000 participant marathon, this race was really well run. Although getting in is via lottery or through a tour agency, the fact that it … MORE

For a big time, big city, 38,000 participant marathon, this race was really well run. Although getting in is via lottery or through a tour agency, the fact that it is one of the 6 World Marathon Majors, makes this race extra exciting.
Expo: busy, crowded, jammed into a fairly small venue. I could not get in and out fast enough. I was very concerned about the race itself, and the anticipated large crowds after going to the expo. Definitely treat yourself to a “cocktail” prior to the expo, just to be relaxed. 🙂
Race morning: if you stay downtown, the race starts and finishes very close to the Potsdam Platz area. Easy to walk to and from the race and local hotels. I stayed at the Marriott, but there are several close by hotels to stay at, and the bus/subway station is also close by and easily used race morning.
The Berlin Marathon course: flat, easy to run, tons of spectators, very well organised as far as 8 groups, and spacing out the start. Except for the first quarter mile, i always felt that i had plenty of room to run. After the chaos of the expo, i had concerns about the race course. No worries! The start was in a large fenced off park area. As i arrived early, i had lots of room to just lay on the ground and relax before the race. Lots of activity going on, but plenty of space to feel comfortable and relaxed.
Crowds and spectators: almost the entire course is run to enable spectators, and there were plenty, cheering and encouraging the runners. I never felt claustrophobic, as i felt in the London marathon.
Swag: you must purchase a t shirt if you want one. The medal is nice sized, and a definite tribute to the city and a previous runner. Otherwise, NO SWAG.
The course, as advertised is flat and fast. Running through a bit of history, one really needs to look at your surroundings. I would say the Berlin marathon was one of my most enjoyable of the large marathons. Being one of the majors, made it that much better.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Mesa Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

Mesa Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

First off, the registration fee is low, and you get additional discounts for everything. I think they ended up paying me to run. Expo: no real expo as this small … MORE

First off, the registration fee is low, and you get additional discounts for everything. I think they ended up paying me to run.
Expo: no real expo as this small town race, they set up a table outside the elementary school. The ladies handing out race numbers were super helpful and friendly. I was able to choose my race number, and since this was my 31st marathon, i chose bib #31.

Race day: free breakfast for runners. Breads, cereals, yoghurt, fruit, coffee, juices and more. What a treat. A chance to visit with other runners, before boarding the bus to the start.
Once the bus arrives to the starting point, you have the option of sitting on the bus up until about 15 minutes to race start. As it was a cool morning, this was helpful. Plus, there was a toilet on the bus!
The course map itself shows steep downhill except a steep uphill miles 17-20. I was concerned about the downhills, but it really was not even noticeable until between mile 13-14, otherwise very gradual. The uphill was pretty steep, and lasted more like mile 17.5 to 19.5, and then again, a very gradual, almost unnoticeable downhill to the finish. The only part of the race that i found uncomfortable, was that the first 9.5 miles was on gravel forest service roads, so you really needed to watch your footing.
Medal: a small wooden medal. I hate the monster medals thay so many races try to entice you with, this medal was great.
Finish: for a small town, quite a large number of people cheering you on at the finish. Probably mostly family and friends, but it was a treat. Spectators along the course were minimal mostly because of running forest service roads, but at times there were cheering crowds.
I would be remiss if i did not mention the huckleberry milkshakes that all runners are given. They are freaking delicious. A real treat after 26 miles. You do not have to get immediately, rather, are given a certificate to pick up at your convenience.
If your goal is 50 states, this is the marathon to run in idaho. The scenery beautiful. The local people, friendly. Right along the grand tetons, and a quick trip to nearby Yellowstone park is possible. I sent an email to the race director, and he responded immediately. Hotels are scarce, you might need to stay 20-30 miles away, but not really a big deal. Drive in early race morning, park at the elementary school, eat a nice breakfast, and enjoy the race.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Vancouver USA Marathon & Half

Vancouver USA Marathon & Half

First off, the Vancouver USA marathon is run in CONJUNCTION with the local Beer Fest. The expo is relatively small, and is adjacent to the first day of the beer … MORE

First off, the Vancouver USA marathon is run in CONJUNCTION with the local Beer Fest. The expo is relatively small, and is adjacent to the first day of the beer fest held in a beautiful park (outdoors) in downtown Vancouver. Pick up your race packet and sit down and enjoy a beer.
Geographically, Vancouver is just a few short miles from Portland, so flying into Portland is the best way to get here. I live in Portland, so drove over 45 minutes before the race and found parking plentiful. If staying in Vancouver, there is a hotel (Hilton) across the street from the start and finish lines. Expensive, but convenient. There are others close by, so do your research to save money, or pay for the extra convenience. The expo is fairly small, mostly touting other local races, but there were a couple groups selling souvenirs.
The course was quite nice. For the most part, you are running on paved trails, although you run on a road periodically. Safety was never an issue, as the roads were either closed off or blocked off for the safety of the runners. I never felt boxed in or crowded on the course. There were 400-500 marathon runners, and about 1500 half marathon runners. Marathon runners started at 7, with the half runners starting at 9, so you do see the half marathon runners, starting around mile 15. It never feels crowded though. If you hate being passed by “fresh” runners, you may not like this race, as the half runners race right on by the tired full marathoners. As I mentioned before, the race starts and stops in Esther Park. The beer fest is in full swing at the finish. All runners get 5 free glasses of beer (bring your ID for any age). It is one big party after the run and you are awarded with a large medal at the finish.
This is a great race. The course is beautiful most of the way. There are a few hills at the end, especially at mile 20, but nothing overwhelming and a course that I truly believe will grow in the future.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

Located in Deadwood, South Dakota, this marathon is run for the most part on the famous Mickelson trail system. The expo was fairly small, (yes!) and therefore you have the … MORE

Located in Deadwood, South Dakota, this marathon is run for the most part on the famous Mickelson trail system.
The expo was fairly small, (yes!) and therefore you have the ability to walk through leisurely and not feel pressed to get in and out quickly. There were about 350 marathoners and 1500 half marathon runners. The races started at the same time, so the marathon runners only saw a handful of half runners in the last couple miles of the race. The first 13 miles of the marathon was a net climb, and though the elevation climb is substantial, it occurs slowly over miles 4-13. I never felt crowded on the course, yet there was almost always someone around to visit with while running. The course was absolutely beautiful, with trees along the course that helped with the heat, although it was unfortunate that the temps were close to 70 by the start, so very warm. It is a trail run, so I had to stop a couple times to empty debris from my shoes. This was fine for me, as I had no intention of running fast. In fact, I was here to purge a demon from my past. The only marathon I have ever entered and failed to finish was on this course in 2012. I made it past the 20 mile mark, but dropped out. My primary goal in this marathon was to finish, and to enjoy the scenery. I accomplished both goals, and therefore this race was a major success.
Most all hotels in Deadwood are very close to the finish line, and if you still do not want to walk back to your hotel after the marathon, shuttles are free on race day, so you can jump on, and jump off all day long.
Beautiful course, in a nice western town. If you like to gamble, this is your race as there are casinos everywhere in Deadwood. Just do not expect to PR.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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London Marathon

London Marathon

Guaranteed entry through marathon tours(MT) was the best part of this marathon. The expo was large, very large, and very crowded. It would set the stage for the race itself. … MORE

Guaranteed entry through marathon tours(MT) was the best part of this marathon. The expo was large, very large, and very crowded. It would set the stage for the race itself. Due to the long lines in the expo, I chose to walk through as quickly as possible. I stayed at the Intercontinental, a 5 star hotel which was one of the choices through MT. The hotel was great, but because I stay at a lot of the IHG brands, I was given an upgrade room, which included a large outside deck. The bad side to this large deck, a very small room. No where to sit suitcases, no drawers to unpack. No where to plug in the coffee pot.
Race day morning was a breeze. getting to the start line was not a problem. Unfortunately, the finish line was more than a mile away, and after running 26.2+ miles, I had to walk a bit over a mile back to the hotel.
The race itself was in one word, CROWDED! The first 3 miles were so crowded, I had to expend tons of energy avoiding being punched and prodded. I tried to stay on the periphery of the crowds, but this was not always possible. I actually got punched in the eye (courtesy of a taller, elbow flailing runner), and ended up with more than a couple bruises at the end of the race. In addition to the large crowds of runners, 5-6 times throughout the run, the course was altered so that the road was narrowed for no apparent reason, forcing the runners to bunch up and slow way down.
The spectators were AMAZING. I thought New York had large crowds of spectators, London was non-stop crowds cheering the runners on. This was great for encouraging the runners, but if you are looking for a quiet peaceful run, this is not the marathon for you.
Although this review is mostly negative, London is a great city. I just felt overwhelmed with the crowds of the race, and the spectators alike. It is definitely worth the trip to run one of the most iconic marathons in the world. I would just suggest that you run it once, and never consider a second time.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

From the start, you notice that the organization of the Tokyo marathon is awesome. The expo was large, covering 2 floors, but spread out enough that you weren't overwhelmed. Lots … MORE

From the start, you notice that the organization of the Tokyo marathon is awesome. The expo was large, covering 2 floors, but spread out enough that you weren’t overwhelmed. Lots of souvenirs were available with the chopsticks, labeled “Tokyo Marathon 2016” quite popular. Because it is run in winter, there is a late start, 9:00, so getting up at 3 a.m. is not necessary.
On race morning it was still pretty chilly. Though they break the runners into a number of “gates”, it still seemed very crowded and chaotic. Nonetheless, you knew where you were to go, and at what time. They had quite a few Porta potties, including a number of “Western style”, so if one needs to go poop, they can choose their style. And they were plentiful along the course, although at times you had to go a ways off course to get to them.
The course was awesome. Obviously you ran the streets as you are in a city of several million. They traversed the city well taking the runners by a few beautiful sites. By train, it takes over an hour to get to the finish line so I believe the organizers gave the runners a great tour through Tokyo.
As in many big city marathons, the finish line arrives, and then the long trek through the stadium begins. I believe it added 2 more miles to my run, but heck, I walked and I ate. The best peanut butter sandwiches ever!
The crowds along the course we’re amazing. Every step of the way you had locals and visitors cheering you on. Although there was a plethora of water stops, the beautiful people of Tokyo were also handing out drinks, oranges, candy bars and a whole bunch more options. I would say the locals LOVE the marathon and are proud to display their beautiful city. As they should be.
And finally the swag. The t-shirt was just okay. White (ugh) and a funny textured material. A finishers towel was given upon completion and then the medal. Simple, but gold and elegant. One of my favorite medals.
The Tokyo marathon is a fantastic destination race.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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First Light Marathon & Half Marathon

First Light Marathon & Half Marathon

Since this was my second marathon in as many days, I had no idea what to expect. I had spent the previous week realizing that running back to back marathons … MORE

Since this was my second marathon in as many days, I had no idea what to expect. I had spent the previous week realizing that running back to back marathons was NOT BRIGHT, but then it was too late, the day has come and I had 7 1/2 hours before my flight.
The bus from Jackson, MS took us directly to the expo, which also happened to be a block from my hotel. Perfect. The expo itself was quite small. As soon as I entered I spotted the “Back to Back” booth so went right over to get checked in The “Back to Back” booth was for anyone running marathons in both cities. At check in, I was immediately given a hand made plaque designating me as a “Back to Back” finisher. Great! Now I do not even have to run 🙂 . Getting to my hotel was a breeze, where I checked in right away and then met up with my Indiana friend, Jeff and went out for dinner.
The hotel unfortunately was a nightmare. Turns out, I had been upgraded to a room on the 16th floor, one floor below the Mardi Gras party and the same floor where the Mardi Gras celebrants were staying. Somehow, I had not been listed as a marathoner, but as a bona fide Mardi Gras participant. The music finally was shut down at 2:42, giving me exactly 1 hour and 48 minutes to catch some sleep. When I finally went downstairs to ask about the noise in a hotel, the room was quickly comped, but make certain the hotels know you are there for the marathon.
The course was nice. Some big hills in the second half of the course, but it was nothing in comparison to Jackson. This was a good thing. After all my worrying about having the ability of running a second marathon, I did fairly well until around mile 12. At that point, my body literally crashed. Kind of like the first marathon I had run. I slowed down, recouped and finally pulled myself together after a couple miles, and then finished the final 6 miles fairly strong. The course was through a number of neighborhoods, lots of turns, which to me makes running much easier. There were not a lot of spectators, but they did seem to be there when you really needed encouragement. Water and fuel stops were adequate.
This is a well run race, especially considering that it is quite small. I definitely liked that the start and finish were very close to the hotels. I also LOVED the party at the finish line. Though I did not have a whole lot of time, I did grab my 2 complimentary beers, Coors light. Coming from the microbrewery capital of Portland, Oregon, I did not know they still made Coors light, but after a marathon, I was very appreciative. But the food, it was excellent. Sausage and rice and beans, Quite delicious, and annually made by a local group. This was a community that enjoys its marathon and makes everyone feel welcome.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

I loved this run. The course was challenging. Lots of rolling hills, nothing big, just several of them from the beginning to end. Definitely needed to keep an eye on … MORE

I loved this run. The course was challenging. Lots of rolling hills, nothing big, just several of them from the beginning to end. Definitely needed to keep an eye on the road, as parts of the challenge of the course was dodging pot holes. But running through the neighborhoods, the spectators along the way, the perfect weather made the marathon perfect. Because I was running again on Sunday, I took off slowly, ran an even pace, and barely slowed down the last few miles.
The expo was fairly small. There were items to buy, but getting through the expo took but a couple of minutes.
Water and fuel stops along the way was amazing. It literally felt like there was a stop every mile in the last 10 miles. Definitely no need to carry water or fuel, unless you absolutely needed something special.
The only complaint might be, they had a bus that took you from Jackson to Mobile, Alabama shortly after the marathon. Nobody at the expo seemed to know anything about the bus, what time it left, or where it picked you up at. I was able to get online and get the needed information, which was clearly explained, but was surprised that there was not a booth at the expo.
One other concern. Do not pick a hotel based on distance from start and finish line as stated on the marathon website. My hotel was supposed to be 0.4 miles from start and finish. Turns out, a few years ago the course changed, yet they never updated the mile posted on the website. I was just over 1.5 miles from start and finish and walking back to the hotel after the run was a long haul. Nonetheless, this is a very well run marathon.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Small expo, especially considering the size of the marathon. Not a big deal to me. To get to the expo, you must catch a small ferry, which takes you directly … MORE

Small expo, especially considering the size of the marathon. Not a big deal to me. To get to the expo, you must catch a small ferry, which takes you directly across the river to the expo. Kind of a fun experience. The organization seemed well done. The forecast weather was for a hot and humid day. They were not joking. I decided to just go out easy, drink lots of water, and pour as much cold water over myself at every step. It seemed to work, as I had a decent run in the hot weather. The race was cut short for a large number of people, although I was fortunate to stay ahead of the closures. I think I had heard they had finally closed the course altogether due to a couple of deaths. The finish line was well marked, but the park was a big party. The swag included a finishers jacket, which the lines were incredibly long to get to. One free beer, but again, the lines were not worth it. Food sampling and other drinks everywhere, but because there were such large crowds, it was difficult for the runners to get any of the freebies, unless you were patient. I unfortunately had to catch a flight, so ran back to my hotel. Overall, a great race in a beautiful city. Unfortunately the heat and humidity will be what most people remember.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

The expo was overwhelming, very New Yorkish. I had planned on at least looking at a few items to buy, but the crowds to purchase were large, the number of … MORE

The expo was overwhelming, very New Yorkish. I had planned on at least looking at a few items to buy, but the crowds to purchase were large, the number of checkers small. The race was on a warm, slightly humid day. I unfortunately ran under the bridge the first couple miles, at the time I did not know what that meant. I learned that it would be quite warm the initial miles. So much so, I actually was chilled miles 5-8, but not too any extreme. I recovered, ran easy and enjoyed myself. The crowds were AMAZING!!. I have never enjoyed saying hi, waving, fist pumping as much as I did in this race. There were spectators absolutely at every turn. I was glad I decided to run easy, because it made it easier to enjoy the crowds. The route was well marked, including at the finish where you get the opportunity to finish the last couple miles running through the cheering crowds of Central Park. My only real complaint, after finishing, you are put in a narrow chute, that seemed to go on for miles. Of course, people had their phones out, walking slowly, blocking the pathway, and making it seem even longer. I could not get out of the park fast enough. The race itself was well run, well organized and enjoyable. I ALMOST forgive them for the fiasco on how they handled the cancellation of the 2012 marathon. ALMOST 🙂

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

A great city to run in, but don't expect any crowd support. The first 20ish miles, the few spectators we came upon, were probably more surprised to see us than … MORE

A great city to run in, but don’t expect any crowd support. The first 20ish miles, the few spectators we came upon, were probably more surprised to see us than we were to see them. The final 6 miles, there were lots of spectators. The race is a fairly flat course, although there are a couple long hills, just not super steep. The expo, although small, was one of the most organized expos I have ever seen.. You enter at one end, and how the expo is set up, you literally walk through every single display that is at the expo. Kind of set up “IKEA” style, for those that have been to Ikea. The T was given at the exp, and was of okay quality, nothing special. The medal was also nice, but of no special significance. The truly best part of the marathon was the city itself. Cape Town may be set in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. Definitely a beautiful city. Run it for the scenery, not for the spectators or the swag.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Utah Valley Marathon

Utah Valley Marathon

Run in Provo, Utah, which has to be one of the most scenic cities in America. It was gorgeous. This was a point to point course, and starts early enough … MORE

Run in Provo, Utah, which has to be one of the most scenic cities in America. It was gorgeous. This was a point to point course, and starts early enough in the morning that it was freezing! Wish I had taken plenty of warm clothing, but instead huddled up to one of the many bonfires the organizers had set close to the start line. I had read that it was a downhill, fast course, but this turned out to be a detriment to me. Did not train for so much downhill. The course itself was beautiful!! The whole way!! For 21 miles you run through some of the most scenic hills that Provo has to offer. The final 4-5 miles is pretty flat, right through downtown, people watching, so you don’t dare walk ( I did ). The expo was very small, but the few that were there gave out a few freebies. Although I have learned my lesson about downhill courses, I would love to return to this city and enjoy its beauty.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Great Wall Marathon

Great Wall Marathon

The course is a tough, challenging course. The first 5 miles and the final 5 miles are tough, although the miles in between are not so bad. It can tend … MORE

The course is a tough, challenging course. The first 5 miles and the final 5 miles are tough, although the miles in between are not so bad. It can tend to be a little warm, a little humid, a little crowded early on, but the crowds disperse quickly, the heat and humidity are tolerable, the people along the course are appreciative, the views are spectacular, and oh yeah, YOU GET TO RUN ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!! The tour associated with the marathon may have been even tougher. Although the organizers do a great job trying to get you around your chosen cities, one realizes too late that you spend a LOT of time on the bus. The food is the same almost every meal. If you enjoy Chinese food (I do, a lot), then you are going to be happy.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Eugene Marathon

Eugene Marathon

The Eugene Marathon is run on a great course. A combination of city side streets, bike and walking paths, one gets to enjoy plenty of scenery. The marathon itself is … MORE

The Eugene Marathon is run on a great course. A combination of city side streets, bike and walking paths, one gets to enjoy plenty of scenery. The marathon itself is for the most part flat, although a few tiny hills, but nothing to slow the runner.
EXPO: The one negative to the marathon was the Expo, or that is, the lack of an Expo. Maybe 20 vendors, not even sure what they were selling, but wasn’t what one would expect at Track Town USA.
Check In: Easy, walk in, pick up your number and T-shirt and out of the Expo in a minute. T-shirt was a decent tech shirt, but……. white.
Course: Beautiful course. I would say it is one of the nicer courses I have run, mostly because you run on bike and running trails as well as side streets. Lots of turns, meaning you don’t look out 2 miles down the road which to me gets cumbersome.
Post race party: A nice party. After receiving your medal, you are then given a cloth swag bag, filled with a few simple food and drink items. A bagel, an orange, peanut butter, nuts, water and an electrolyte drink. Shortly thereafter, you are offered pancakes, HOT pancakes. Not a big eater immediately after running, but it was a nice touch. A few vendors selling beer and advertising future races, actually a better expo than the expo itself.
The medal was nice sized, heavy and well designed.
I would definitely recommend this marathon for others. Just don’t expect a big expo.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Great swag (double sided medal, tech shirt and quality backpack). Although a bit hilly, none were overwhelming. Cincinnati puts on a great race. The expo was of great quality, not … MORE

Great swag (double sided medal, tech shirt and quality backpack). Although a bit hilly, none were overwhelming. Cincinnati puts on a great race. The expo was of great quality, not too big, not too small, and not too crowded. I never felt boxed in during the marathon. The pulse start worked perfectly, with plenty of space even at the start. Crowds were spectacular every step of the way. The only complaint, the medical tents were very difficult to find, not well marked and once you found one, they basically had Vaseline and not much more. Injured my back, asked for some Biofreeze and at 3 medical tents, they had never heard of it. Otherwise, a great, well put together marathon. Also, a 5K, 10k, and Half.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Always nervous going to a new city, trying to find the expo, negotiating a good hotel close to start and finish and just worrying about getting to the start on … MORE

Always nervous going to a new city, trying to find the expo, negotiating a good hotel close to start and finish and just worrying about getting to the start on time is always a big concern of mine. The Chevron Houston Marathon made it easy. I chose not to stay at the host hotel, but stayed at a hotel close by with which I am a loyalty member. From there, my walk to the expo was 2 bocks. The same 2 blocks got me into the (indoor) clothing drop off, porta potties (indoor), last minute fuel station (indoor) and headed directly to the start line. The same 2 blocks took me from the finish line back to my hotel. At the finish line, food, beer, water, medals, etc… were all held indoors. I left my hotel room at 6:15 to get into my corral which closed at 6:40 and I actually got there early. I ran 2 races while here and the swag was a bit much. I walked away with 2 cotton t’s, 1 technical finisher t, a beer glass, 3 medals, lots of food and a great time. Although there were plenty of restaurants within easy walking distance, Houston itself is not a great city to just hang out downtown. The crowd support was, well amazing. I cannot say there was an empty block over the 26.2 mile course. I never once felt crowded, as the roads are wide. I always felt like running, because the crowd support was tremendous. My only complaint, and this is picky, I hate running 26.2 miles and receiving a white shirt. And at the Chevron Houston marathon, the finisher technical t-shirt was white and boring. Nonetheless, this is a mostly flat, very fast, very fun course. I would recommend runners of any skill level to consider this as a marathon to consider.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Portland Marathon

Portland Marathon

Portland is a gorgeous city. Lots of greenways, 2 rivers, parks galore. Runners world regularly rates the Portland marathon as one of the best. Maybe this was my problem. Finally … MORE

Portland is a gorgeous city. Lots of greenways, 2 rivers, parks galore. Runners world regularly rates the Portland marathon as one of the best. Maybe this was my problem. Finally running in my adopted hometown, I was expecting the world. It was fun, don’t get me wrong. Starting and finishing downtown, there are spectators everywhere!! Strangers yelling out your name, encouraging you to push on is a great motivator. I was disappointed though, that the first 10-12 miles runs through the industrial, very boring part of Portland. I was expecting so much more. With the williamette river running right through downtown, one never really got to see it. I realize that there is a lot of factors that dictate the course of a race, but I think the Portland marathon could be so much more if it utilized more of the natural beauty of the city. I did LOVE the spectators, lots of porta-potties and lots of water stops. Beer in little cups were served in several locations, this is after all PORTLAND. The swag cannot be beat. A beautiful long sleep finisher technical T, a handsome medal, matching pendant, finisher coin, a tree seedling, and a rose to all finishers. This is Portland and they do know how to put on a good party, but again, the scenery was disappointing.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Bellingham Bay Marathon & Half Marathon

Bellingham Bay Marathon & Half Marathon

The Bellingham Bay marathon was a treat. Starting at 7:30 on the Lummi Indian reservation, we were treated to a short song and dance by some of the native dancers, … MORE

The Bellingham Bay marathon was a treat. Starting at 7:30 on the Lummi Indian reservation, we were treated to a short song and dance by some of the native dancers, followed by a prayer in their native tongue. The marathon ran along the bay for a good 10 miles before cutting inland just a short bit. Unfortunately, although you could easily see the bay and the beautiful landscaping surrounding you, the fog was HEAVY for about 20 miles. I tend to really absorb my surroundings (i.e. space out) and was able to watch bald eagles hunting in the bay and retreat to tree tops along our route to devour their catch. With approximately 500 marathoners, you have plenty of space to enjoy your run until around the 18 mile mark when the half marathoners join in (they start 2 hours after the marathon starts). The field gets crowded and as they are fresh, are whipping past the marathoners. The finish line one is treated with a smorgasbord of food options, but you must prepay or carry cash with you to purchase “scrip” at the finish line. Great technical shirt, a nice medal and a fun party at the end. A great time.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Montana Marathon & Half Marathon

Montana Marathon & Half Marathon

The race began 26 miles away from the city of Billings in Molt. The first 15 miles you run literally alone, with beautiful scenery, rolling hills, antelope frolicking, cows mooing, … MORE

The race began 26 miles away from the city of Billings in Molt. The first 15 miles you run literally alone, with beautiful scenery, rolling hills, antelope frolicking, cows mooing, but sometimes you feel you are out on a Sunday afternoon training run. Once you finally hit the outskirts of Billings you begin to see a few people, but you realize soon that most “spectators” are just out for walk and are not even aware there is a marathon taking place. Only 101 runners started the marathon this year so no surprise that there is very little fan support. There is an adequate number of water stops, porta potties (thank God!) and the scenery is worth looking at. The final 10 miles runs within neighborhoods which adds a few spectators and mixes up the scenery. Lots of rolling hills in the first 15 miles, but with a net downhill, this is a fairly easy course. The finish line is uneventful, although you do receive your finisher T as well as being greeted with a pancake and sausage breakfast. Overall, a good marathon to run, especially if you don’t mind running alone.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Rio de Janeiro City Marathon

Rio de Janeiro City Marathon

First of all, you are in Rio de Janeiro. Second of all, the marathon takes you along some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Forget that it is … MORE

First of all, you are in Rio de Janeiro. Second of all, the marathon takes you along some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Forget that it is run in the southern hemispheres winter months. This ensures cooler temps. The race itself was well organized. Plenty of water and electrolyte stops. Not a large contingent of spectators, but enough to motivate one to continue running. The first 8 miles is run on cobblestone which was difficult, but once you survive that, the rest is run on paved roads. Big enough of a race to always have another runner close by, but small enough that you have plenty of room to move about. The expo was scary. Too many vendors packed into a very small area. Seemed confusing and I grabbed my race packet and bolted as did many people in our group.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Cadbury Marathon

Cadbury Marathon

Run in January on Tasmania Island, the Cadbury marathon is a great destination race. Although there were large parts of the marathon with little or no spectators, you had beautiful … MORE

Run in January on Tasmania Island, the Cadbury marathon is a great destination race. Although there were large parts of the marathon with little or no spectators, you had beautiful scenery much of the run. I chose to sign up for the VIP experience, a decision that I will never regret. Porta loos a plenty, snacks, water and yes chocolate. Lots of chocolate. The course Is predominately flat, scenic and not crowded at all. The swag (other than chocolate) was lacking. The t-shirt was optional, you had to pay for it at the time of registration. The medal was nice. The staging area prior to the race was slow to set up. Coffee, water and a few snacks were promised at the start of the race, but by the time I left for line up, much of it had not even been set up yet. Definitely a race to run though, as the course runs along the waterfront for much of the marathon. A little sprinkling, a few windy gusts, but a small and organized marathon to enjoy.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur International Marathon

The Big Sur International marathon was one of my favorites of 2014. The scenery was beautiful, from almost the beginning to the very end. The race was well organized with … MORE

The Big Sur International marathon was one of my favorites of 2014. The scenery was beautiful, from almost the beginning to the very end. The race was well organized with plenty of water and porta-potty stops. Spectators were plentiful, especially as you got to the 2nd half of the marathon. The strawberries at about mile 21 were exactly what my body needed at that point in the race. I opted for the “Runners World” VIP, so we were to treated to a nice breakfast after the race, as well as extra porta-potty before and after the race. The medal was a ceramic medal rather than the usual metal. A more difficult marathon because of the number of hills throughout the run, but you quickly realize that every hill comes with some of the most beautiful scenery the coastal area could share.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Bagan Temple Marathon

Bagan Temple Marathon

The Bagan Temple Marathon was a tough, tough run. The course was run on thick mud, dirt trails with deep crevasses, paved roads and narrow paths. You pass a large … MORE

The Bagan Temple Marathon was a tough, tough run. The course was run on thick mud, dirt trails with deep crevasses, paved roads and narrow paths. You pass a large number of the 2,000 temples that Myanmar is so well known for. The people of Myanmar were great hosts. My favorite memory of the course was deep into the marathon, running on a very narrow lonely path, and turning a corner and an elderly woman is sitting just off the course, clapping and cheering for every runner who goes by. The downside of the race was the heat and humidity, something I tried to prepare for but by mile 16 had brought my run down to a slow walk. One more point of interest, although this may have been a one time occurrence. The pasta feed the night before the marathon resulted in about 15-20 people getting food poisoning and unable to run the following morning. Be careful of what you eat!! A great race in a beautiful country. Run it for pleasure, not for a fast time.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon

Antarctica Marathon & Half Marathon

A once in a lifetime experience. After a 2 day boat ride across the Drake passage, which might have been the most difficult part of the race, day 3 finds … MORE

A once in a lifetime experience. After a 2 day boat ride across the Drake passage, which might have been the most difficult part of the race, day 3 finds you landing on King George island, where you are guaranteed to see (during the marathon) the first of many, many penguins. The race is run among the Chilean, Chinese and Russian scientific research stations and a number of their staff also run. The best part of the marathon trip to me was the friendships made. After 10 days on a Russian research vessel, talking about running with other runners, life cannot get much better! After the marathon, you then have another week at sea, exploring the frozen continent where you most certainly will see whales, more penguins and fur seals. A must do run for the adventurous marathoner!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon

Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon

The expo was probably the only drawback, as it was so far from anywhere. Once you get there though, food and drink was served. I ran the first edition of … MORE

The expo was probably the only drawback, as it was so far from anywhere. Once you get there though, food and drink was served. I ran the first edition of the Charleston marathon, and there were a few kinks to be worked out. The director was Charles, and when I shared my concern of getting from the airport to the expo to my hotel, he volunteered to pick me up at the airport. What personal service! The swag was nice, although I always cringe at seeing a white shirt, but it was definitely in the theme of “the blues”, and celebrating Charleston’s musical history.
The course was very scenic, as is the city itself. I had the opportunity to run with a wonderful man, who 2 days later was donating a kidney to a perfect stranger, which would prevent him from running for at least 6 months. We ended up running together for much of the race trading stories.
The party at the end included gumbo, beer and a large finishers medal.
Run this race to see the beautiful and charming city, as well as the welcoming people of Charleston.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

This was a beautiful point to point marathon, ending in one of Anchorages beautiful downtown areas. Along the route, you have beautiful views, great chances of seeing wildlife (I saw … MORE

This was a beautiful point to point marathon, ending in one of Anchorages beautiful downtown areas. Along the route, you have beautiful views, great chances of seeing wildlife (I saw moose and bald eagles, but others saw a black bear). It is a fairly small sized marathon, so you never feel crowded, yet since much of the course is run on rocky trails, you are in close proximity, enough to visit if you desire. The one issue that I had, and it is a big issue, the shuttle buses were full before they got to my locale, so after about 120 minutes of waiting, I decided to hitchhike to the start line. Having grown up in Alaska, I felt very safe to do so, but know that this might put others off. I am certain some of the 40-50 people waiting, did not make it to the start on time. Overall, a beautiful, safe and pretty comfortable course to run.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Tucson Marathon

Tucson Marathon

The expo was so small, that I could not even get in the door. It was a small room with several tables set up, and only 2-3 people could be … MORE

The expo was so small, that I could not even get in the door. It was a small room with several tables set up, and only 2-3 people could be let in.
The course started early in the morning, where runners were bused. The first 2-3 miles were down an extremely steep hill, and then leveled out. The course itself was actually somewhat enjoyable, minus the first couple of miles. The shirt was a white poorly printed cotton shirt. Mine was so tiny, I asked for a larger shirt, which I was told I got what I ordered. I ended up leaving it behind. After the race, I wrote to the organizer and explained to her my issues with the shirt, and she promised to send my a larger one. I wrote her 3 times, and all 3 times she made the same promise over a 30 day period. Each time she acted as though she had never spoken to me before. I never did get a shirt, which was not a big deal, it was white cotton with a black iron on. The cheapest running shirt I had ever seen, even at this time.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
3
SWAG
1

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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

I ran a marathon in 2006, with the only goal of qualifying and running at Boston. The expo was the most awesome experience. So many runners, so many things to … MORE

I ran a marathon in 2006, with the only goal of qualifying and running at Boston. The expo was the most awesome experience. So many runners, so many things to look at and buy. I had never experienced anything like it, and I think I ended up going to the expo 3-4 times. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the big race was not so great. The night before the marathon, the forecast was for heavy precipitation overnight. The temperatures in the low 30’s. In other words, the forecast was from several inches of rainfall with a possibility of 2 feet of snow. For the first time in years, runners were warned that the Boston marathon MIGHT be cancelled if the precipitation was snowfall. The organizers did a great job keeping runners alerted, even throughout the night I would turn on the local stations and get updates. Fortunately, it rained, and rained, and rained, and by the time I got to the start of the race, I was soaked, thoroughly, and the temperatures hovered in the mid 30’s, so I was cold.
Like a miracle though, about 15 minutes before the start of the race, the skies cleared, the rain stopped, the temps raised ever so slightly. It was the most perfect of running conditions. That is, if you were able to stay dry. I wasn’t.
The course was nonetheless thrilling. The history, the crowd support, everything I had ever read about Boston, every known group along the course, they were all there. I had wasted a lot of energy shivering before the race, but it did not matter, I had a great time running Boston. My time wasn’t the best, but the atmosphere and enjoyment was fantastic. This is a race I will definitely run again, someday.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Newport Marathon & Half Marathon (OR)

Newport Marathon & Half Marathon (OR)

Inexpensive, small town marathon, that has been written up in several Runners World articles, as a fast course. The setting begins along the ocean front on the south end of … MORE

Inexpensive, small town marathon, that has been written up in several Runners World articles, as a fast course. The setting begins along the ocean front on the south end of Newport, Oregon, and after a short loop through a small neighborhood, the runners head down to the south waterfront. The run continues east, running along a small highway, which has one lane closed for the marathon. It is scenic the entire course. The run takes you east until about mile 16, where you then make a U turn and head back on the same highway going west. You have the ability to see and cheer for other runners, and both directions you have a confluence of ocean and river water to the south of the highway. At mile 11, and again at mile 19, runners are offered, and in fact encouraged, to stop for “oyster shooters”, already prepared so that you barely have to slow down.
The race finished down on the south waterfront “old town waterfront”, where crowds of locals, but mostly friends and family greet the finishers. For a small town marathon, they did a great job organizer this race. I have never repeated a marathon, but this is one I am considering.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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