Overall Rating
Overall Rating (66 Reviews)
4.2
(66 Ratings)(66 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.1
SWAG
4
Join Us For Our 40th Anniversary! The marathon may happen during the third weekend of October, but the journey brings out the best in people year-round. Join the thousands who run for their own reasons and support each other every step of the way. Ready for the full 26.2? Our … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Jodie Sedestrom
    Sedestrom27 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Only race you run a mile under water! Always plenty of volunteers, water stations, and spectators. Great course! Ran this last 8 years and plan on plenty more. Running in … MORE

    Only race you run a mile under water! Always plenty of volunteers, water stations, and spectators. Great course! Ran this last 8 years and plan on plenty more. Running in two countries is quite cool!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Jack Lee
    Maniac5377 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race is very scenic as runners get to go over the Ambassador bridge from Detroit into Windsor and return back to Detroit via the Tunnel bridge. The road condition … MORE

    This race is very scenic as runners get to go over the Ambassador bridge from Detroit into Windsor and return back to Detroit via the Tunnel bridge. The road condition can be better as many are run over hard concrete and with lots of cracks and pot holes. View is breath taking looking over the Detroit river on both sides of the border. There are many fuel stations along the course and volunteers are wonderful. Running in the tunnel is quite humid, so be prepared and head winds that gusts over 25 MPH makes running extremely difficult.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Mike Chekal
    mjchekal REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The tunnel and the bridge are the best part of the event. This year the wind was an issue with all portions of the event. I am looking forward to … MORE

    The tunnel and the bridge are the best part of the event. This year the wind was an issue with all portions of the event. I am looking forward to next year’s event.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Judy Scavino
    jscavino FIRST-TIMER '17

    -Awesome medal with both country flags on ribbon -Pretty royal blue shirt with great logo and no business sponsors all over it -LOTS of volunteers at aid stations -Easy to … MORE

    -Awesome medal with both country flags on ribbon
    -Pretty royal blue shirt with great logo and no business sponsors all over it
    -LOTS of volunteers at aid stations
    -Easy to find race start and corral from people mover (metro)
    -Great crowd support
    -Where else can you run into another country; fun stuff!
    -Sculptures along race course!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Andrea Vendlinski
    avendlinski REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The vibe surrounding the Free Press marathon is fun and upbeat. All of the volunteers at the stations are amazing and there is lots of cheering. It's fun to run … MORE

    The vibe surrounding the Free Press marathon is fun and upbeat. All of the volunteers at the stations are amazing and there is lots of cheering. It’s fun to run past all the people and helpful for motivating on to the next one.

    The course is nicely broken up into different sections, so a runner is able to compartmentalize and sort of check off all the destinations as she continues. However, there are a few really long, boring stretches where a runner just runs straight down the road for way too long. This is especially difficult when there is wind (which there was).

    It’s neat to run through the tunnel, but it’s also smelly and hot. The hill up to the bridge is no laughing matter (and I train on lots of big hills) – so be ready for it. The views are amazing, however.

    The finish line and celebration area were kind of a let down. Once you cross the finish line, you receive a medal and some food/water, but then you’re on your own. There was no music or feeling of celebration. No free beer, either.

    I was especially disappointed with the amount of waste this race produces. There were water and chocolate milk bottles at the finish that would have been very easy to recycle, but there was not a single recycling bin. Why not?! And so many other ways to reduce waste and be more “green,” but there seemed to be no consideration for that. Bummer.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Regina McDonald
    iamdirect FIRST-TIMER '17

    They ran out of medals for the delay finishers and it was very disappointing. The scenery was nice but it was quite windy during the last 3-4 miles. There was … MORE

    They ran out of medals for the delay finishers and it was very disappointing. The scenery was nice but it was quite windy during the last 3-4 miles. There was a bit of confusion with the buses in regards to directions and parking for participants of the 4th and 5th leg of the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    The bridge and tunnel had sharp inclines but the best views. So many incredible supporters along the trail, kept me motivated the whole way! Very organized run! Totally planning on … MORE

    The bridge and tunnel had sharp inclines but the best views. So many incredible supporters along the trail, kept me motivated the whole way! Very organized run! Totally planning on running again!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    Profile photo of Ali Doyle-Hoover
    doyleali FIRST-TIMER '17

    I don't have experience with races, but I do have lots of experience with large events, and this one was wonderfully done. Everything was well organized, well managed, and all … MORE

    I don’t have experience with races, but I do have lots of experience with large events, and this one was wonderfully done. Everything was well organized, well managed, and all aspects of the event were great.
    The course has two elevation changes, but they aren’t that bad (I did, however, train in Pittsburgh…), and it makes lots of turns to keep you engaged. Running across the Ambassador Bridge at sunrise, and then running an “underwater mile,” are two experiences that can’t be beat. I highly recommend this race to anyone – come and see how wonderful Detroit really is!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of kelly zuppke
    kazrn12 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Great race and goes by so fast. Great support and such a unique experience. Running in 2 countries is so much fun ! I love when you cand stand in … MORE

    Great race and goes by so fast. Great support and such a unique experience. Running in 2 countries is so much fun ! I love when you cand stand in both countries in the Windsor tunnel.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Rita Gordon
    pinkshamrocks REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The US half is a flat, scenic course. The marathon and international half go through southwest Detroit to Canada over the bridge, back through the tunnel. It's my favorite race, … MORE

    The US half is a flat, scenic course. The marathon and international half go through southwest Detroit to Canada over the bridge, back through the tunnel. It’s my favorite race, well run, happy people, awesome volunteers., huge medal. Don’t listen to Detroit haters, this is a great race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Angela Brooks
    abrooks FIRST-TIMER '17

    The aid stations are great, volunteers on both sides begging you to take water or gatorade. If you aren't from Michigan or the neighboring states, be prepared for any kind … MORE

    The aid stations are great, volunteers on both sides begging you to take water or gatorade. If you aren’t from Michigan or the neighboring states, be prepared for any kind of weather. The “under water” mile is a really cool thing and to take your picture between two countries super cool.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Nicole Hopkins
    ne.alexander824 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The course is relatively flat with the exception of the Ambassador Bridge (which you should stop and take a selfie on anyway) and has some of the most beautiful views … MORE

    The course is relatively flat with the exception of the Ambassador Bridge (which you should stop and take a selfie on anyway) and has some of the most beautiful views of Detroit you will ever see. The crowds are very encouraging and aid stations were spectacular. If you don’t want to carry water of your own, you won’t need to. Plenty of water and Gatorade at each station, just be careful not to trip over all the cups on the ground as there aren’t many garbage cans! There are plenty of places to eat downtown after your race, just check to make sure they’re open on a Sunday before you go. I do wish there was more of an “afterparty” with more options on where to eat, massage tent, drinks, etc. I was primarily in charity village and there wasn’t much after my marathon and most of the food trucks ran out of food. Make plans for your post-race meal outside of charity village!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Katie Kramer
    kkramer83 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my fourth half marathon, but my first time running this particular race or a race of this size. I think the course is awesome, a lot of variety … MORE

    This was my fourth half marathon, but my first time running this particular race or a race of this size. I think the course is awesome, a lot of variety of scenery to enjoy. Of course crossing the Ambassador Bridge is the highlight, but be prepared, you’re on a steady incline for quite a while there. I burned myself out on the bridge a bit. The tunnel is a neat experience, but very warm and noisy. Also, you have quite a steady incline to get out of the tunnel as well. The crowds of fans when you exit the tunnel help make it better though! The only thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the corral system. Lining up, everyone was so packed that I literally could not get up to my correct corral group. I should have started with F, but ended up not being able to get closer than H. I think this hurt my pace a bit overall. Other than that though, the race was well organized and a lovely experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of LM Riker
    lmriker REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I've never seen so many active ambulances or runners crashing on on the course due to the heat! Was disappointed that cyclists were on the course in multiple areas (no, … MORE

    I’ve never seen so many active ambulances or runners crashing on on the course due to the heat! Was disappointed that cyclists were on the course in multiple areas (no, I don’t mean the handbike guides; I mean friends of race participants riding along runners). I’ve also never so many runners stop to take selfies during a race, and I mean literally stop in the middle of the bridge in runner traffic to take a photo.

    I saw a barrier actually blow through an intersection at one point, possibly because the race volunteer at that corner was on her phone texting.

    I relied on the fans at times for fluids because it was so hot and humid the first half of the course and you are discouraged from bringing your own fluids internationally (totally makes sense). The water stations just weren’t enough. I’ve done this marathon 3 times now and this was the most disappointing in terms of race atmosphere. I’m sure the weather had everything to do with it. The fans that were along the course were absolutely awesome though.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    Profile photo of Darlene Panganiban
    dar_xoxo REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Love the bling/swag. Some water stations were NOT organized this year. Kids would tell us “cups are over there!” causing us to waste time, so sometimes I’d have them just … MORE

    Love the bling/swag. Some water stations were NOT organized this year. Kids would tell us “cups are over there!” causing us to waste time, so sometimes I’d have them just pour it in my hand so I could splash my face. It was so hot for the second year in a row. Otherwise it’s been perfect running weather since 2008. Sometimes the water wasn’t even poured yet. Would’ve made sense to pre-pour a bunch of cups on the table so runners could quickly grab a cup and go. LOVE running in 2 countries. Bridge and tunnel are the best, even if the tunnel was hot the last 2 years. Things that could be improved: 1) cost 2) water stations 3) emphasizing the etiquette that walkers stay right so runners can pass on the left. There were WALLS of walkers we had to get around. 4) eliminate/minimize use of plastic to make it more eco-friendly
    Overall, I’d HIGHLY recommend this race to anyone. The crowd support is awesome. Energy is high running through Windsor. And you get to see beautiful areas of Detroit that you might not otherwise see!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Oct 18, 2017 at 4:36pm

    I agree with emphasizing that walkers stay to the right and runners pass on the left. I had to zig-zag the entire race just to pass walkers. The walls of walkers were frustrating at times.

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    Profile photo of Bruce Cournoyer
    bcournoyer1997 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This event is among the best in terms of organization, from the expo all the way to the finish line! The bridge and under water mile bring a very fun … MORE

    This event is among the best in terms of organization, from the expo all the way to the finish line! The bridge and under water mile bring a very fun and unique twist to the event. The first water station just before the bridge entrance should be double or triple the size as there are so many participants still congested together that getting water at the small station created a major jam up. I would have also liked to see more water stations along the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Donna R
    drr01 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I signed up for this race because the idea of entering into Canada and running back into Michigan sounded like a cool experience. What I did not think of was … MORE

    I signed up for this race because the idea of entering into Canada and running back into Michigan sounded like a cool experience. What I did not think of was the obstacles involved with running across international borders. The rules say that all runners were required to run with their passport, and that liquids are prohibited while crossing international borders. With that said, I did not bring any water with me but wore my fuel belt just to serve for the purpose of holding my passport (which no one ever checked for during the race). I wish I would have brought my water bottles anyways! Although there was an aid station right after the Ambassador bridge, I personally wish I had water with me as I ran up the incline of the bridge. While crossing, I noticed the only people really getting stopped were those who were wearing camel backs. Another thing I did not realize was how long the Windsor tunnel run really was. It was very crammed and stuffy in there and again without having water until exiting the tunnel made it a challenge to get through. Even though the rules say not to bring liquids, I would recommend bringing them. To me its worth the risk of getting stopped or having to throw out the bottles than relying on the aid stations which seem farther apart while you are running than they appear on the map.
    One thing I was pretty disappointed in was the corral assignments and start. It was very unorganized and nobody was “enforcing” the assignments. I was assigned to corral D but noticed a lot of people standing all around me with corral assignments to E, F, G, and even H, even though I was standing in the D corral area. A group of 4 runners standing near me were in corral A but could not even make their way to the corral A sign because it was so crowded and didn’t allow for everyone to fit in the correct areas. The “wave start” was ideally to separate runners into groups that matched their pace, but there was no enforcement and found that to really be a pain the first few miles of the race, trying to get around slower runners than me.
    Over all the course was pretty most of the way and people who lived in the residential areas tried to make it fun for the runners which was nice.
    Once getting to Belle Aisle, it was EXTREMELY windy which is another thing to mentally prepare for.
    Having big crowd support near the finish area was a plus, but I was not overly impressed with finishers snacks that were available, and also noticed there were not very many photographers taking photos of runners with their medals. I never got a photo taken after finishing.
    I enjoyed seeing parts of Canada and Detroit I have never seen and overall liked the route, but am comfortable with saying that running this marathon once is enough for me.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Oct 18, 2017 at 2:10pm

    I agree. I couldn't even get to my wave assignment with all of the people lined up in the wrong place. Better runner education might help. Do people know your chip starts your time when you cross the stating line? I was running past walkers the entire way down Fort Street.

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    Oct 18, 2017 at 3:28pm

    I am glad I am not the only one who experienced this

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    Oct 18, 2017 at 2:11pm

    *starting line.

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    Profile photo of John Reed
    johnluckyman REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Well organized race with 40 years of experience. The expo is large and fun with many booths of displays and vendors. The shirts are nicer every year. The medals are … MORE

    Well organized race with 40 years of experience. The expo is large and fun with many booths of displays and vendors. The shirts are nicer every year. The medals are different and better every year. The course is scenic and challenging with the bridge crossing into Ontario for a 4 miles run there and the back thru the tunnel into Detroit. Lots of crowd support on the re-entry to Detroit! Great cheering sections leading to finish line! All of the goodies you need in the finish area, chocolate milk, fruit, protein bars and cookies. The Conquered after party is a nice area to meet friends and family with beer and food available with free massages for runners!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Meredith Conrow
    merealan FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my third half marathon and the most challenging course I’ve run so far. The hills are frequent and difficult, there’s lots of wind, and the tunnel was pretty … MORE

    This was my third half marathon and the most challenging course I’ve run so far. The hills are frequent and difficult, there’s lots of wind, and the tunnel was pretty brutal this year in the heat, but it’s a very satisfying finish. I think I’d be willing to run it again, now that I know what I’m up against.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Nicole Gerring
    KickitinDetroit FIRST-TIMER '17

    The annual Detroit Free Press Marathon/Half/5K, etc. is a great way to see sights around Detroit and to meet your fitness goals. I've done the 5K in previous years but … MORE

    The annual Detroit Free Press Marathon/Half/5K, etc. is a great way to see sights around Detroit and to meet your fitness goals. I’ve done the 5K in previous years but this year I entered the Half Marathon for the first time. Overall, it was a great experience. Support throughout including well-placed water stations, porta-potties, musicians (including my favorite, a high school drum band!) and crews cheering us on. I particularly appreciated having pacers running the course at various paces, so runners can try to stay with those pacers to meet their time goals (see my photo). Having pacers nearby really helped me start out slow and steady, rather than come out too quickly, and I was able to accelerate toward the end and beat my time goal. The atmosphere was friendly and supportive, and the race accommodates both competitive runners and fun runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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