Overall Rating
Overall Rating (14 Reviews)
4
(14 Ratings)  (14 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.5
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
3.9
SWAG
3.4
The Colorado Marathon (formerly known as the Fort Collins Old Town Marathon) is a gorgeous race held annually in Fort Collins, Colorado. The majority of the course goes down the Poudre River Canyon in northern Colorado; the marathon advertises itself as “America’s Most Scenic Course”. The course is slightly downhill … MORE
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Recent reviews

    mpmateja FIRST-TIMER '22

    What a great event! Here are the pros and cons: Pros: Great communication, logistics, road support, scenery Cons: Really can't think of any The 1/2 marathon course is 3-4 miles … MORE

    What a great event! Here are the pros and cons:
    Pros: Great communication, logistics, road support, scenery
    Cons: Really can’t think of any
    The 1/2 marathon course is 3-4 miles down the mountains, a couple of miles on open roads, and the remainder on a hike/bike trail. Really only 1 short uphill portion to speak of. Just a great event!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    shullrd FIRST-TIMER '22

    This was an adventure… we drove out from Kansas City on Friday after work. We drove through tornadoes, crazy winds, dust storms all before we made it to Fort Collins. … MORE

    This was an adventure… we drove out from Kansas City on Friday after work. We drove through tornadoes, crazy winds, dust storms all before we made it to Fort Collins. We earned this medal… and we’ll never forget it.

    The expo was ok. It was well organized, but kind of small. There was a decent selection of race gear available for sale and a couple of running related vendors. We were in and out quickly, which isn’t a bad thing.

    Race morning was smooth. We had to board buses by 5:15AM which made for a really early start to the day. But the transportation was comfortable and well organized. The bus ride for the half was about 25 minutes and then there was a staging area. It had water, coffee and hot chocolate… but the hot chocolate ran out before I could get any. It would have been welcome, because it was a chilly morning.

    As the sun came up the absolute beauty of the area became apparent. This is what running in Colorado should be about. The race started at 6:30.

    The beauty of this course is that it is almost entirely downhill… but that presents challenges too. Those muscles got a lot more work in today than they usually do. And I’ll definitely be feeling it.

    The first half or so of the course is in the mountains alongside the river. It is beautiful. Then you get into town and are greeted by spectators and volunteers cheering you on to the end. Great atmosphere at the finish and good snacks to refuel.

    The swag here is split. I love the medal. I hate the shirt. But this course is worth it for the scenery alone. Definitely one to check out for Colorado.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    kirstenhamilton FIRST-TIMER '21

    The 2021 Colorado Marathon was a well-organized, lovely race through the Poudre Canyon and Fort Collins in northern Colorado. Packet pick-up was easy and straight forward with plenty of parking. … MORE

    The 2021 Colorado Marathon was a well-organized, lovely race through the Poudre Canyon and Fort Collins in northern Colorado.

    Packet pick-up was easy and straight forward with plenty of parking. There were great freebies like Hearts of Hemp and koozies. The t-shirt was long sleeved with a cool logo. I scouted out the parking situation the night before the race using the information from the race website, which included a helpful map of the parking sites. I’m glad I went the night before, because google maps gave me roundabout directions that had me going through the middle of very busy streets full of pedestrians. To give you perspective, I was coming from La Quinta by I25. I imagine others will use the hotels along I14. All you have to do is continue down this road, which turns into W Mulberry, and then take a right on Remington St. It was super easy to get to and there was plenty of parking on race day.

    Buses were close to the parking and lined up along Mountain Ave. Again, easy to find and well-organized. It’s about a 45 minute bus ride up to the start line. I HIGHLY recommend you bring warm clothes and/or a blanket with you. Depending on which bus you catch, you could potentially wait about an hour at the start before the race begins. It was pretty cold and I was lucky I had lots of layers. It was easy to drop off your bag (as well as get it at the finish line). You’re allowed to eat/drink on the bus and they have bathrooms. At the start, there were also lots of port-a-potties and free coffee/water.

    The race starts up in the canyon and you follow along a river the whole time. It’s a peaceful decent into the valley. You’re always going downhill but it’s never steep. I should note that the road was canted for a decent amount of the canyon. At least for me, this aggravated my nagging tendon issues. Things level off in the valley, and then, you weave your way through the town parks. It’s an awesome way to tour Fort Collins by starting in nature and ending in the cute downtown area.

    I never pay attention to the parties at the end. I’m pretty sure I heard a band playing. There were tons of food trucks and beer vouchers. It looked fun! From the race director to the participants, everyone involved with the race were fantastic. Everyone was friendly and encouraging. I had problems getting into the marathon, and the race director went above and beyond helping me. You could always count on water and Nuun appearing every 1-2 miles. There were no fans in the canyon due to the logistics of closing off the road, but there were lots of fans along the valley/town section. The race’s motto was to leave the course looking better than when it started. Racers were respectful and there was minimal litter along the course.

    Overall, it was an awesome race! I loved the relative solitude the first part of the race brought. I was able to truly take in the beauty of the canyon without working hard due to the steady decline. The dreaded “wall” came right when the majority of fans appeared to carry you to the end. Again, the organization and thoughtfulness that went into this race were top notch. Combined with the beauty of the course and the friendly people involved, this is a marathon not to be missed!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    enigma20 FIRST-TIMER '21

    The race usually takes place in May, but in 2021 it was postponed until October. So, the weather and scenery could be a little different. Not sure if they usually … MORE

    The race usually takes place in May, but in 2021 it was postponed until October. So, the weather and scenery could be a little different. Not sure if they usually have pace groups, but this year they did not. Most races have not had pacers lately due to Covid.
    The packet pickup was at one of the local running stores. Nothing fancy, but easy and quick. Not a bad place to be in case you forgot to pack any gels or other necessities.
    Full and half racers took chartered buses to the start line. They were much nicer than school buses and they had a restroom on them. The waiting area at the start of the full had lots of port-a-pots and had coffee and water. Although I didn’t use it, the bag dropped looked easy and convenient.
    The race started on time and followed beside the Cache la Poudre River. The fall colors and canyon walls made it very scenic at least for the first half. The second half wasn’t as scenic, but it was still nice.
    The race is significantly downhill. The first half went well, but by mile 14 or 15, the quads were in bad shape. I had really bad positive splits. I’m a flat lander from Ohio, so the 6000′ elevation probably had an impact as well. The course seemed easy at first, but the downhill and elevation caught up to me.
    The weather was great. It was around 40 at the start and the sun was behind the canyon walls for the first 16-18 miles. There was a slight headwind at times, but nothing unmanageable.
    Race shirt was a long-sleeve drifit short, but seems a little thin. Overall, it was nice as was the medal. There were plenty of drinks and snacks at the finish. I won my age group and the reward was a nice glass. Awards ceremony was a little late in the day, but it was to accommodate the full marathoners. It did go quickly though and there were drinks from Odell Brewing.
    It was a nice race, but be sure to prepare for a lot of downhill and elevation.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    dansolera FIRST-TIMER '19

    I had wanted to run this marathon since before I became a diehard. Thanks to annual family trips to Colorado, the state had a special pull, and the thought of … MORE

    I had wanted to run this marathon since before I became a diehard. Thanks to annual family trips to Colorado, the state had a special pull, and the thought of running a picturesque marathon always called to me. The fact that it was downhill served to mitigate any worries I had about running at altitude.

    The race starts around 6,000 feet and descends along the Poudre River to Fort Collins. It flattens out right at mile 17, gives you one big hill at mile 19, and then coasts until the finish line. Those first 17 miles are gorgeous, surrounded by green peaks, a steady river, and plenty of shade. In fact, on a sunny day, you won’t see much of the sun until after the halfway mark.

    The aid stations were well placed, the buses to the start were part of a swanky, comfortable luxury fleet, and the post-race area was fun and well-attended. I definitely ran a positive split thanks to those opening downhill miles, but I had fun the entire way.

    If I were a local, I’d run this again. The price was a bit steep (in the neighborhood of $150), but that’s to be expected for eponymous state marathons these days. All in all, I loved my experience both at the race and in the lovely town of Fort Collins. Bring your beer gut, because this town delivers!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    jdhunt FIRST-TIMER '19

    You can almost say the Colorado Marathon is a story of two races. The first half is an incredibly beautiful downhill race through the gorgeous Poudre Canyon. It was shaded, … MORE

    You can almost say the Colorado Marathon is a story of two races. The first half is an incredibly beautiful downhill race through the gorgeous Poudre Canyon. It was shaded, peaceful, and fairly easy going (of course, the downhills eventually get ya!). Constant glances of the national scenic Poudre River and the surrounding canyon will make those miles go by in a flash. Yes, it does start around 6000 feet – so if you aren’t used to the altitude it may affect you a bit. I live at 5400 so it didn’t affect me at all, but altitude adjustment is pretty personal. The second half, on the other hand, is when things get a bit more difficult. After a few more canyon miles, the course flattens out a bit and the sun shows up (most years, anyway – Colorado is a sunny state). By the time you get to mile 20 your legs are probably tired from the downhills, and the sun adds into the beat down that you so richly deserve for deciding to show-off and run a marathon. You do follow the Poudre River a lot of the way and run through a park on the Poudre Trail, but it was a bit odd since you were sharing the trail with recreational bikers and non-race runners. But again, by this point you could be running by yourself and there weren’t *that* many people on the trail, so I didn’t find it to be a big problem. And finally, you do end the race in Fort Collins, which is a very nice city in its own right.

    This is not a race that thrives on crowd support. In the canyon the only non-runners you will see are pretty much course support and the people working the aid stations. Out of the canyon it doesn’t improve a great deal. There are a few groups of people once you get into Fort Collins, but even then this ain’t the Boston Marathon!

    The logistics of the race seemed to go off without a hitch. Since this is a point-to-point race, we needed to take buses from Fort Collins to the start-line. The buses were lined up right outside of my hotel, so I just followed the line to the first one. They loaded the buses from 4:15 AM to 5:00 AM, which is ungodly early, but at least they were comfortable and convenient. There were no starting corrals, but it wasn’t needed with the size of this race. I just lined up close to one of the race pacers who was close to my target time, and I was able to go at my own comfortable pace without dodging and weaving people who were too far up. Communications leading up to the race were minimal, but they were enough (probably the race’s Facebook page was the best way to keep up to date). The expo was small but easy to navigate.

    You don’t get a lot for completing the race – we got a very bright neon short-sleeved Brooks tech shirt (picked up at the expo), plus the medal. The shirt has a nice logo, and even though it is super bright I will have no problem wearing it on runs. There was only one shirt for all races (the 5k runners got the same shirt as the marathon), but whatever – still a pretty nice shirt. And of course we got the medal, which I really liked. It was a pretty nice view of mountains with the Colorado state flag on top. Plus, it has a bottle opener! So, not a lot of swag – but who runs this gorgeous race for the swag?

    Overall, this was a fantastic race. Since I do travel for races, I really like a race to reflect where they are held. If it’s a big city race I like to get a feel for the city. In Colorado – you want scenic beauty, and the Colorado Marathon delivered!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    sletou01 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Pros: - Cool start and shade going thru the canyon. - Hearing and seeing the river rush up to the half Cons: - Altitude and sun zap the engery - … MORE

    Pros:
    – Cool start and shade going thru the canyon.
    – Hearing and seeing the river rush up to the half
    Cons:
    – Altitude and sun zap the engery
    – 4:30 Pacer dropped out
    – Confusion race morning getting on the correct bus.
    – Wear sunscreen. Need some shade from mile 17 on!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    kbaker21 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Pros: 1. The scenery is beautiful. 2.. Aid stations were plentiful and volunteers were awesome. Cons: 1. Race Production. So for this race you have to ride a bus up … MORE

    Pros:
    1. The scenery is beautiful.
    2.. Aid stations were plentiful and volunteers were awesome.

    Cons:
    1. Race Production. So for this race you have to ride a bus up the course. A UPS truck that was supposed to serve as the gear-check was running super late. So the organizers had to improvise until the truck finally made it.
    2. I am a turtle runner. When I hit mile 20, I was approached by a man saying I was 5 minutes late to the check point and I may not get a medal and an official finish time. I FREAKED OUT! They said “we will keep the finish line open as long as possible, but….you may not finish.” Now, I initially thought I missed something on the website about this checkpoint, but after searching the website I did not find a single thing about this. This was my 7th Marathon, so I am familiar with these type of check points and I alter my running/walking to account for them. Not making the checkpoint system blatantly clear is a huge mistake. I came all the way from New York to run this race and it was extremely stressful to be told I may not get a medal and an official finish line when I only had 6.2 miles to go.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    aronowp FIRST-TIMER '18

    Hard downhill with banked corners all on road and concrete path. I had to walk more than 12 times the last 6-7 miles (never walked in race before except in … MORE

    Hard downhill with banked corners all on road and concrete path. I had to walk more than 12 times the last 6-7 miles (never walked in race before except in trail races with steep trails)! Way harder than you’d expect since it’s mostly downhill out of mountains. Beautiful scenery first 5-8 miles. Well organized race and Ft Collins was a wonderful place to spend a weekend—good restaurants, great breweries, friendly people—fun! If you’re big into marathons, this race worth notching but my legs would die if I told them to do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    frankhwu FIRST-TIMER '17

    I ran the Half Marathon. It was a personal record for me at 2:20. That was about 60 Half Marathons into my running career; I'm at 72 now, and I … MORE

    I ran the Half Marathon. It was a personal record for me at 2:20. That was about 60 Half Marathons into my running career; I’m at 72 now, and I have not topped this finish.

    Four notes.

    Altitude. I had chlorophyll drops. I asked a Ph.D biologist if that would help. He said, “If you’re a plant.” They were recommended as a regimen by a New Age-y young lady. They didn’t hurt (though they did turn my poop green). I was gasping the whole way. Be warned. That didn’t prevent a very fast race. But I would not want to run every race this way.

    Start. You ride a bus 30 minutes to a canyon. It’s a cool place, literally and figuratively. It was too cold to be comfortable, but unless you discarded your sweats (as some do), you would be shivering. It also was cool in the sense of wow, the sunrise!

    Downhill. It’s a slight, not great but slight, downhill the whole way. I am sure that accounts for my speed. It’s just enough to feel. But not enough to worry you re knees.

    Train. Stupid train. It would have been a 2:17 or 2:18 at worst except for the freight train. I could see the finish. Made me think about that movie, Edge of Tomorrow, and trying to roll under a vehicle. Maybe 50 of us affected. Not the fault of the organizer. Just part of a funny story.

    I would run this race if I were in the area. I run all over, but I usually tack on a race while traveling. I’ve never done a “destination” race. I could see this being that for some folks, and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 03, 2017 at 8:40pm

    Congrats, Frank! Great job on the PR and loved the review. Your PhD buddy (I'd love to know who it was, since I worked in a research lab at Berkeley… MORE

    Congrats, Frank! Great job on the PR and loved the review. Your PhD buddy (I'd love to know who it was, since I worked in a research lab at Berkeley for many years) sounds very sage. :) I have my own high-altitude (10,000+ feet) race in Colorado coming up next weekend, so good reminder to listen to my body and run smartly. I've seen a train interrupt a couple of other races, including the Carlsbad 5000 down here in SoCal – not the RD's fault as you said, but brutal to have to stop mid-race, especially so close to the finish. Colorado sounds like a race you'll remember for a long time! LESS

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    robrien0215 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Though this race says it's downhill, that's more for the marathon than the half marathon. The half was mostly flat. Participants should note there is no cell phone reception at … MORE

    Though this race says it’s downhill, that’s more for the marathon than the half marathon.
    The half was mostly flat.
    Participants should note there is no cell phone reception at the start so I was not able to sync my fitbit so I was unable to get my mile splits.
    Race course was pretty, not outstanding-roads were not closed so instead of letting runners go, at times you had to dodge or wait for cars to pass.
    Hotel shuttle going to the race was smooth and fantastic (used several coach buses) Way back, was really delayed and there was confusion on where to get it. In addition, they sent a van which could only hold 6 people at a time.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    erowings REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This race was almost my first full marathon, in 2014, and I was back two years later for a couple of reasons. I really wanted to break 3:30, which has … MORE

    This race was almost my first full marathon, in 2014, and I was back two years later for a couple of reasons. I really wanted to break 3:30, which has been a daydream goal since that first time out, and I wanted to improve on my time in 2014 as well. Kind of like going back for my revenge, or something.

    After having built a base for three plus years I learned something new about this course that I didn’t know two years ago; all that downhill in the first 17 miles really doesn’t do you all that big a favor. The day ended up cold and snowing, which was outside of the race’s control, but between that and my effort to pace the first half caused me a lot of pain that I gritted my teeth through in the last 6 miles.

    The race is not really well attended by the townsfolk except in one or two places, if you care about that sort of thing. And one thing I found odd was being handed my medal suddenly when I was just a few steps past the finish line; I almost missed the handoff. Maybe this is a small picky point, but I’ve been lucky enough to have it draped over my head almost every other time previously, so it struck me as a little odd and unfriendly.

    I will say the Cache La Poudre river canyon is way beautiful, and if you love pretty scenery while exercising you can’t beat the first 16 miles of this race.

    I wrote a lengthy race report on this one, if you’re interested in the full story. Thanks!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    The first 16-18 miles are GORGEOUS - you run a gentle downhill route through a canyon. The last 8-10 miles are much tougher - you come out of the canyon … MORE

    The first 16-18 miles are GORGEOUS – you run a gentle downhill route through a canyon. The last 8-10 miles are much tougher – you come out of the canyon and it becomes hot and exposed right as your nice downhill runnable surface along with most of the scenery is gone, so it just makes for a hard second half – especially mentally. The cost of this one is also pretty high compared to other Colorado marathons and I’m not sure why – nothing really stuck out to me that made it any better than Revel Rockies or Loveland Marathon (both also downhill courses in Colorado). Definitely a pretty course though that I would do again someday.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    jessas FIRST-TIMER '11

    This was my first half and it checked all the marks! For the half, the downhill is not extreme as the full. You get dropped off up the Poudre very … MORE

    This was my first half and it checked all the marks! For the half, the downhill is not extreme as the full. You get dropped off up the Poudre very early and it is pretty cold, but they do not make you wait too long for the start. The finish line party is one of the best I’ve experienced.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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