Overall Rating
Overall Rating (16 Reviews)
4.4
(16 Ratings)  (16 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
4.1
The Gorham Savings Bank Maine Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay event features an out-and-back course with rolling hills and views of the Portland skyline, the Back Cove, Casco Bay, and peak fall foliage. The Marathon is USATF-certified and a Boston Marathon qualifier. The Half Marathon is also USATF-certified and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    venu.vegesana FIRST-TIMER '22

    Packet Pick up is easy and good no of participation Race day parking is easy Start area is good with all water and other amenities Windy at start on lake … MORE

    Packet Pick up is easy and good no of participation
    Race day parking is easy
    Start area is good with all water and other amenities
    Windy at start on lake side.
    Great Course with rolling hills. Lots of crowd first 6.5 miles where half marathon returns.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    pleegenes FIRST-TIMER '22

    I found this race to be surprisingly good! I would recommend it to anyone. There is another one that I really wanted to do, that is more scenic, but I … MORE

    I found this race to be surprisingly good! I would recommend it to anyone. There is another one that I really wanted to do, that is more scenic, but I thought I wouldn’t meet the qualifying time due to the hills. With a 7 hr cutoff, you have a generous time to finish. There are indoor bathrooms to use before the race and parking is close to the start/finish. The course is an out and back and it was fun to see all the runners coming at me but not fun when I made the turnaround and I was pretty much by myself because the slower ones were way behind me. There was also an early start so some of the slower runners may have been there. I opted to pass on the early start because there was a remote chance I would get an AG award and you couldn’t get one if you took the early start. My gamble paid off and I finished 3rd and there were more than 3 in my AG!. I loved the bagpipes at the start and there was a solo bagpiper later in the race. I loved the music at the race, not so much rock and roll but more rhythm instruments and drummers. Aid stations were well stocked but they did not have any gels. I didn’t miss that, I carry my own. The course is pretty, on the Atlantic oceanfront for some portions and in beautiful neighborhoods. There are rolling hills but nothing with steep ascent. There was some fall color and the temp was mid 50s throughout and lots of shade. It was a windy day but the trees provided shelter. I stayed at the Black Elephant hostel. It is amazing!!! It sells out early, I learned about it from another poster here. I don’t usually stay at hostels but after learning how expensive hotels are in Portland and seeing the review on this one, I gave it a try. It was fun chatting with other runners before the race at the hostel. I learned that I came in 3rd later that evening, after I had already left Portland and gone up to Acadia NP. They don’t mail their awards so I emailed the race director and was able to pick up my award on my way back to Boston. Something fun to do the day before the race is go visit Cape Elizabeth and have a lobster roll at Bite of Maine.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '22

    I chose this race for Maine mostly because it was in Portland on a Sunday so I could drive there without taking any vacation days. I drove to NH Friday … MORE

    I chose this race for Maine mostly because it was in Portland on a Sunday so I could drive there without taking any vacation days. I drove to NH Friday night and did the NH half on Saturday and then this race on Sunday. I went to concert in Boston Saturday night so I stayed in a hotel on the NH coast halfway between Boston and Portland instead of staying in Portland. It is a just under 2 hour drive from Boston to Portland so if you are flying and want to fly into a bigger airport it is not a terrible drive. Since I was in NH and Boston Saturday I just got my packet the morning of the race. However race morning was a bit hectic so I’d recommend going to the expo Saturday if you can. There is a parking garage with free parking for runners. I definitely appreciated free parking and a pre-race email telling us exactly where to park. However I don’t think the garage was set up for as large a crowd at one time. I planned to arrive around 6:45 thinking that would give me an hour before the race and would have a relatively relaxing race morning but it took about 10 to 15 minutes from the time I got to the parking garage to the time I parked. Packet pick-up was at the race start about 1/3 mile from the parking garage. Packet pick-up was easy and included tote bag and a nice long sleeved tech shirt with the race logo. It was a nice teal color. However it took awhile to go to packet pick-up and then back to my car and then back to the race start so I ended up lining up with only 10 minutes to spare. Start was well-organized and there were pacers. I was planning to start with the 3 hour pace group to not go off too fast but they did appear to go too fast since I lost them early on and my first mile was exactly 3 hour pace so that would be one of my only complaints. Maybe they were planning to bank time for the hills. The first couple miles are flat with coastal views. Then it is rolling hills in a pretty suburban neighborhood. It is mostly an out and back. While I would call it a scenic course I was a little disappointed in the scenery only because I was so spoiled my last 3 races. I was hoping for more coastal views and running through the city but after the first couple miles it was mostly neighborhood views. It was a very pretty neighborhood and there was nice fall foliage but not as nice as NH and was similar to running in my neighborhood at home. I just wish the scenery was more unique to Maine. The race was great though. Very well marked with closed or coned off streets though a few random cars made it on course probably from the neighborhood. There were plenty of aid stations and tons of on course entertainment. I think there were as many musicians providing entertainment as I have seen in any race. There were a lot of spectators especially for a mid sized race in a smaller city. A lot more than I was expecting making this a great race atmosphere. As it is an out and back with a half and full marathon there were a ton of spectators and entertainment for back of the pack half marathoners finishing with the fast marathoners and also long time limit for the half so very walker friendly. I would definitely recommend this for back of the packers. The course is somewhat hilly though the least hilly of the 4 half marathons I did in the past 2 weekends. Like NH the elevation profile is in the runner’s favor with it being net uphill the first half and net downhill the second half. I knew this would be a slow race given I am not yet back to my normal speed and this was my 4th half marathon in 9 days. I was expecting to finish around 3:30 and was about 10 minutes faster than that. Finish line has a bunch of spectators and you get your medal which is very nice with the race logo. There are the typical postrace food like bagels and granola bars. There are also food trucks and runners get $3 off. I was so excited there was a food truck called the Totally Awesome Vegan Food truck so got a very delicious and filling meal before my long drive home. Overall this was a really great race. While the scenery is nice, I’m guessing there are more scenic Maine races closer to Acadia or more along the coast but there probably aren’t any with better race atmosphere and this is definitely the most convenient race for travel. Also makes a great double with NH. If I lived closer I would do this race again but it was too long a drive for me to do unless I had another reason to be in Maine the weekend of the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    KaelBacon REPEAT RUNNER '22

    This race is phenomenal. Very well organized. Remarkably beautiful course. It was a touch hilly, and VERY windy. Not the easiest of races but beautiful. If you're doing all 50 … MORE

    This race is phenomenal. Very well organized. Remarkably beautiful course. It was a touch hilly, and VERY windy. Not the easiest of races but beautiful. If you’re doing all 50 states I would recommend doing this one for Maine.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    dchaplin1990 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Beautiful views of the bay's, has a super cool medal. Had outstanding community support. Definitely would consider coming back another time MORE

    Beautiful views of the bay’s, has a super cool medal. Had outstanding community support. Definitely would consider coming back another time

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Well organized event. Small expo. Not the most scenic course. LOTS of hills. Awesome post-race party though with craft beers and food trucks. MORE

    Well organized event. Small expo. Not the most scenic course. LOTS of hills. Awesome post-race party though with craft beers and food trucks.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    hseitz FIRST-TIMER '21

    I traveled from central Illinois to run this race. This is the only marathon in Maine that's accessible by public transportation. Everything else, you'd have to rent a car to … MORE

    I traveled from central Illinois to run this race. This is the only marathon in Maine that’s accessible by public transportation. Everything else, you’d have to rent a car to get there.
    If you’re a low-budget travel runner like me, fly to Boston-Logan airport first, then take a bus up to Portland ($25 or so each way). There is only one affordable place to stay within 5 miles of the start line, and that’s the Black Elephant Hostel, about 1.2 miles away. Everywhere else on the Portland peninsula is like $300/night for some reason. Since the Black Elephant was the only cheap place in town, there were 3 other marathoners also staying in my room!
    If staying at the Black Elephant, book EARLY! Reserve a spot in June or July. They were sold out when I called on August 18th. Luckily, one bed opened up a few weeks later.
    If you do have a car, there is tons of free parking at the Hannaford supermarket right next to the start line.
    It was drizzling and ~55-60 F almost all race. You start and finish at the Back Cove park on the north side of Portland, and you run north for 6.5 miles if doing the half, 13 miles for the full. Running within a few hundred feet of the coast the whole time, with plenty of trees on either side of you. It was beautiful. Some minor hills, but nothing crazy. And for every uphill, there’s a downhill.
    There was a minor sideways gradient on some of the road for a few miles around 7-10 and 15-18. Take this into account for your stride, so you don’t hurt your ankles/knee ligaments by running unevenly. But it’s not that steep. Just a small consideration.
    Overall, I loved this course! You run past so many houses, and everyone comes out to cheer you on. Considering Maine is a small state, the crowd support here was awesome, and it feels soooo good to transition to gravel/dirt paths for the last mile into the Back Cove, which takes stress off your knees.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

    4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    pleegenes Jun 22, 2022 at 8:41pm

    Thanks for the tip on the hostel and flying into Boston and taking the bus. So did you walk to the start line?

    Thanks for the tip on the hostel and flying into Boston and taking the bus. So did you walk to the start line?

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    brbender262 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Great Half Marathon experience in Portland, Maine. Beautiful views of Casco Bay, even though it was overcast. If you're looking for a great Fall Marathon in the northeast, definitely check … MORE

    Great Half Marathon experience in Portland, Maine. Beautiful views of Casco Bay, even though it was overcast. If you’re looking for a great Fall Marathon in the northeast, definitely check this one out.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    docdandadio FIRST-TIMER '18

    An out and back, felt downhill both ways (almost), great scenery and very well run race with lots of great volunteers. Very nice medal and shirts and great food at … MORE

    An out and back, felt downhill both ways (almost), great scenery and very well run race with lots of great volunteers. Very nice medal and shirts and great food at the finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    cbielinski FIRST-TIMER '17

    This is a very nice, pretty somewhat scenic course even if it is an out and back route. The race is fairly well organized with a few hiccups like the … MORE

    This is a very nice, pretty somewhat scenic course even if it is an out and back route. The race is fairly well organized with a few hiccups like the line to get your shirt and bag on Saturday before noon was extremely long.

    We got dropped off at the start and picked up afterwards which made it easier to navigate.

    Overall if Maine is on your states to run a marathon I highly recommend this one. A few items:
    – They had white tech shirts with a nice design, I hate white shirts because they get discolored quickly
    – Awesome race hats you could buy!
    – This was my 38th marathon and the first one where the official race photographers did not get a picture of me due to them moving around and running low on battery power on their cameras when I ran by. Not a big deal overall but kind of surprising considering this race has been run 27 times.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    lchristensen44 FIRST-TIMER '16

    I helped pace my daughter at this race and enjoyed every minute of it. I live in the midwest, so I loved seeing the different scenery. The volunteers working the … MORE

    I helped pace my daughter at this race and enjoyed every minute of it. I live in the midwest, so I loved seeing the different scenery. The volunteers working the water stops were great. There was one spot on the course which had some cars on it (I’m not certain they were suppose to be there) but for the most part the half course was car-free. There was one hill around the turnaround for the half. Other than that, the half course was pretty flat. The enjoyed the bag pipers they had at the start and later on the course. The expo was smaller than some I have been to but I enjoyed that runners got free products from local businesses. I certainly don’t think I’ll ever get a can of baked beans at another race. The residents along the course were encouraging too. All in all running the Maine Half was a fun experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey May 12, 2017 at 10:38pm

    Hopefully you saved the baked beans for *after* the race! :) This sounds like a fun one, especially since I'm a sucker for bagpipes. And as a 50 stater I… MORE

    Hopefully you saved the baked beans for *after* the race! :) This sounds like a fun one, especially since I'm a sucker for bagpipes. And as a 50 stater I definitely appreciate the recommendation for Maine. Thanks Leslie! LESS

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '16

    If you are doing 50 states, if you want a great half PR course, and if you want to participate in a well-run, great event that supports its local community- … MORE

    If you are doing 50 states, if you want a great half PR course, and if you want to participate in a well-run, great event that supports its local community- this is the race for you.

    I have done both the half and the full marathon twice. The full and half share part of the same course (the half turns around at about the halfway point).

    This race always has one of the biggest and best swag bags. Participants get a great tote bag full of samples and goodies, many from local Maine companies (what other race will give you a can of B&M baked beans). The race shirts are excellent. The medals are also gorgeous. Post-race food is plentiful- bananas, snack bars, chips, water, pizza. Parking is quite convenient with the nearby university garage.

    The local community is excellent for this race as well. Residents come out and cheer from their houses/yards. The volunteers are excellent. You get the sense that the areas *wants* you there as an athlete versus other races where you feel like a traffic inconvenience.

    In 2015 the race added pace group leaders, and had them again in 2016.

    Advice- if you see a bathroom and you need it- use it. They are spaced out a little.

    For those doing 50 states- if you want to do two races in one weekend, do the Bristol Half Marathon in New Hampshire the day before.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Maine is beautiful and this course did not disappoint. It is not a flat course and there are definitely some challenging parts with rolling hills. But the scenery is beautiful … MORE

    Maine is beautiful and this course did not disappoint. It is not a flat course and there are definitely some challenging parts with rolling hills. But the scenery is beautiful and there was actually a decent amount of crowd support for a smaller race. The swag bag is unlike any other I have received from a race. Plus the city of Portland is just an awesome place to visit.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    mikeyseymour FIRST-TIMER '14

    This was my first ever marathon. There were a lot of positives about this race. First, Portland is amazing! I love that town. Stay in the Old Port neighborhood and … MORE

    This was my first ever marathon. There were a lot of positives about this race. First, Portland is amazing! I love that town. Stay in the Old Port neighborhood and you have tons of hotels, restaurants, and shops at your fingertips. The race is within walking distance of there. The course is scenic. You start on a flat stretch by the bay. Then you spend a lot of time in the woods (on pavement) with occasional ocean views. The medal is a giant moose which is cool. I felt like I got a good sense of Maine from my run.

    The not so great: the course doesn’t really go through the city parts of Portland. I would have liked more of that. The start and finish line are in a bland spot. It’s close to the bay so the views are nice, but it’s just a bunch of asphalt. Many other races finish next to some green space so you can sit down and refuel/relax. Not the case here. I would not recommend trying to PR here as it’s pretty hilly. There are no monster hills, but they are noticeable and relentless, especially on tired legs in the second half of the race.

    This is a race worth traveling a reasonable distance (I came from Boston). Portland is a great place with lots to do. The course has a lot of beauty and gives a good Maine experience. I have now completed six marathons and this race compares favorably.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    dansolera FIRST-TIMER '14

    I was originally slated to run the full marathon but woke up with searing knee pain thanks to the New Hampshire Marathon's banked roads and steep hills. Decided at mile … MORE

    I was originally slated to run the full marathon but woke up with searing knee pain thanks to the New Hampshire Marathon’s banked roads and steep hills. Decided at mile 1 to drop to the half and finished in a very slow time for me. Despite that, the course was very pretty, tree-lined and occasionally seaside. Great organization, which included a great t-shirt, a large and colorful medal, and a swag bag full of snacks (and even a can of baked beans). Perfect weather and seamless organization too.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    katesonn390 FIRST-TIMER '13

    It was a gloomy day, but I still really enjoyed the course! Volunteers were all so friendly and helpful. Great post-race snack table (complete with the usual bananas, pretzels, chocolate … MORE

    It was a gloomy day, but I still really enjoyed the course! Volunteers were all so friendly and helpful. Great post-race snack table (complete with the usual bananas, pretzels, chocolate milk!)

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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  1. Races
  2. Maine Marathon & Half Marathon