Overall Rating
Overall Rating (9 Reviews)
3.9
(9 Ratings)(9 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.8
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.1
SWAG
3.3
The Manchester City Marathon is a moderately challenging Boston Qualifier that takes runners on a scenic trip through the historic mill district of the Granite State’s largest city. Runners in the full and half marathon will enjoy a run that includes fabulous views of the Queen City, surrounding areas, and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '20

    Normally this 5K is on Sunday the same day as the full and half marathon. However due to covid this year they moved the 5K to Saturday which meant double … MORE

    Normally this 5K is on Sunday the same day as the full and half marathon. However due to covid this year they moved the 5K to Saturday which meant double race weekend! This was well organized with the same format as other Millenium Running Races. It was a modified course this year so no roads had to be closed and was a lovely out and back on the rail trail. Mostly flat just a bridge to go over twice. I thought it was a great 5K course as the rail trail was beautiful but would have been congested with a mass start. I ran this very easy at training pace so obviously was a slow 5K for me. One improvement would be to have an aid station at the halfway point since it was unseasonably warm this weekend. Also there was no additional swag for doing the 5K. 5Kers got the race weekend shirt which is really nice but since I was doing the marathon the next day I already got the shirt and no medal for 5K. I would have loved if they added a challenge medal but they switched the date for the 5K only a few weeks in advance so understandable why they didn’t have one. Would be great if they kept the 5K Saturday for future races and made it a challenge.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '20

    I have very mixed feelings about this race. It was amazingly well-produced, had great swag and I am very grateful to be able to run another safe marathon this year … MORE

    I have very mixed feelings about this race. It was amazingly well-produced, had great swag and I am very grateful to be able to run another safe marathon this year especially given this is a pretty large event. This was one of the largest running events in the US since the LA marathon with well over 1000 participants. However I was not a huge fan of the course at all. Packet pick-up was either at the Millenium Running store or race day morning. I got my packet on Friday with my dad who was doing the half marathon. Packet pick-up was kind of cool as they set it up as sort of a mini expo in the back of the store. There was music and places for pics and some other marathon items for sale and the RD was there to greet runners. Not a true expo with other vendors but you could then buy anything in the store you forgot. Packet pick up included the bibs and a long sleeved tech shirt. Really liked the shirt. Nice blue color with race logo and I am in need of some more long sleeved shirts to run in so will definitely use it. The race started in downtown Manchester. Had the same start protocols as the NH 10 miler and New England half. It was by Veterans Park which was appropriate since this race is always the weekend before Veterans days and raises money for Veteren charities and convenient since there was lots of outdoor area for racers to social distance. The weather this year was unusually hot. My last 3 marathons I was worried it would be really hot and did specific heat training for them. This marathon I was worried would be bitterly cold and windy so bought and tried out all these winter running gear and did a miserable training run in the rain in preparation for this race and ironically this was my hottest marathon. Not dangerously hot but it was slightly uncomfortably hot since as a slower runner I started around 9am and ran in the heat of the day. It was probably nice weather for the faster runners with earlier starts. This race started just about on time and I started really close to my assigned time. The course was modified this year so there was more on the rail trails however I heard they added extra hills. The first five miles of the race were a loop through some suburbs and the paved part of the rail trail. This part was pretty nice. 2 steep but not too long hills in the burbs and lovely running on trail and then looping back to downtown Manchester. The next 8 miles were horrible. A super hilly 8 mile loop through the suburbs of Manchester. These hills were as bad or maybe worse than Amish Country Running Festival and while the suburbs were pretty enough the scenery was not nice enough to make up for the hills like Amish Country. Plus the heat did not help on some of the unshaded hills. There was this awful hill around mile 11 that almost killed me. The end of this section is through some not very nice areas of Manchester. Didn’t feel unsafe as there was police presence but didn’t help the experience. Then you go back to downtown Manchester and I was jealous to see the half marathoners run through the finish line while I had to keep going. Usually it isn’t until mile 16 to 20 that I get sick of running but I was over it after those hills. Luckily the second half of the course is much better with most of it on the rail trail. The rail trail is lovely and the first part on soft pavement and the second part on non-technical trail. It was very pretty and peaceful. Although past peak fall foliage season the trees were still quite beautiful. There were a few off shoots in the suburbs off the trail which were annoying and hilly but in general the second half was much, much better than the first. Unfortunately I was so tired out from the first half I couldn’t take complete advantage of the nice second half of the course. You exit the rail trail and go back to the city and see the finish line at about mile 25.5. You are so tired of running you hope they accidentally measured the course short or you killed the tangents but then your heart sinks and you realize you have to go past the finish line and run around a block and then come back through. My dad who finished his half a few hours ago met me at this section and we walked together a bit and then I ran the last quarter mile or so towards the finish line to get an under 5:50 finish. The medal is amazing. Absolutely huge and it spins. Has the logo with the image of downtown Manchester and is just beautiful. One of my favorites and most deserved medals. I was very happy that even though I was an extra slow turtle this race, aid stations were well stocked throughout race with water and Powerade and 2 with maple syrup instead of gel (yummy and so New England) and there was plenty of food left at the finish area. This year just grab n go stuff like granola bars, fruits and chips along with water and powerade bottles. I grabbed a granola bar and headed to a meal with my parents (not sure what meal is at 3:30 sort of a combined lunch and dinner). My dad (who is a better runner than me) said it was the hardest half he ever did and was 15 minutes slower than his previously slowest half and even he had to walk some of the hills which made me feel better about this being 15 minutes slower than my slowest marathon. As I said I have mixed feelings about this race. If you are looking for a NH race I’m sure you can find an easier course but this one is really well-produced, has amazing swag and is very back of the pack friendly but not the course if you want to PR or BQ. Manchester is also a very easy location to get to. There is a small regional airport in Manchester which is super easy to get in and out of and Manchester is not far from Boston if you can only fly to a bigger airport. I’m actually planning to be in NH again this weekend next year. I am definitely never doing this full marathon again but I think me and my dad may do the half relay or if he isn’t available I might do the half.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 09, 2020 at 6:42pm

    Ah, the irony—you had a race with 1,000+ runners on an unusually warm day in NH, whereas we have zero races just as fall running weather arrives here in SoCal.… MORE

    Ah, the irony—you had a race with 1,000+ runners on an unusually warm day in NH, whereas we have zero races just as fall running weather arrives here in SoCal. Congrats on conquering the hills Amy, there's really nothing tougher than fighting through that feeling of being "over this" by mile 12 of a marathon. And since you mentioned next year, I assume this was the normal course and not a "rerouted due to covid concerns" version? Glad the swag was worth it; I'm a medal guy myself, so I find a memorable medal cures a lot of ills. Congrats to your dad on his half, too... I guess the family that suffers together, gets tougher together! 💪 LESS

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    seagroves87 Nov 09, 2020 at 6:56pm

    The most ironic part is I was initially planning to be in OC this weekend for the rescheduled and then canceled OC marathon which would have been much cooler. The… MORE

    The most ironic part is I was initially planning to be in OC this weekend for the rescheduled and then canceled OC marathon which would have been much cooler. The course had some modifications mostly the first 5 miles with the extra section on the rail trail which I actually liked but most of the hills in the next section I believe are still there. I do think they added a few extra hills this year but it is known to be hilly. I'm happy I did the marathon once but it's a marathon I would only do once but as it was a well-produced race and my dad's half marathon medal was also really nice (although not quite as big and didn't spin) and I visit NH a lot I'd do the half or relay LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 09, 2020 at 7:05pm

    Do let us know when you plan to run out here in SoCal next, we'll have to meet up! Keeping our fingers crossed for Surf City on Super Bowl Sunday… MORE

    Do let us know when you plan to run out here in SoCal next, we'll have to meet up! Keeping our fingers crossed for Surf City on Super Bowl Sunday until we hear otherwise... 🤞 LESS

    Legs333 FIRST-TIMER '19

    The Expo was small, in a nice running store. The parking was tight, but people did not stay long and spaces seemed to open up just in time. The weather … MORE

    The Expo was small, in a nice running store. The parking was tight, but people did not stay long and spaces seemed to open up just in time. The weather was predicted to be really cold, but felt better than the temperature would indicate. I was comfortable in shorts, long socks, long sleeves, hat and gloves. The porta-potties had long lines (including some spectators) and were far enough away from the start, that it was difficult to hear any information from the race director. It also started about two minutes early which left quite a few people late to the starting line. The hills were plentiful, but only one around the two mile mark was a bit steep with a slightly uncontrolled descent. The scenery, especially on the trail portion along the river, was gorgeous although some portions were a bit wet and slippery. I was wearing relatively smooth racing shoes; if you wear shoes with better grips everything would be fine. Going by the finish line two times before actually getting to stop could be disconcerting for people struggling to complete the distance however, it also allowed for spectators the ability to cheer three times without having to go far. Overall, there is nothing to worry about. Go run this race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    HammerinHank FIRST-TIMER '19

    A well-organized and friendly race 1-hour from Boston. Be prepared for chilly weather and colorful fall foliage. Race day bib pick up was a plus for me. Some runners complained … MORE

    A well-organized and friendly race 1-hour from Boston. Be prepared for chilly weather and colorful fall foliage. Race day bib pick up was a plus for me. Some runners complained about the hills. I found them moderate and only in the first half of the course. Great race medal, but no post-race food. Passing the finish at mile 25 is torture. I’m signed up again for next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '19

    It's been awhile since I've run a fall marathon with fall foliage--I'd forgotten how much I enjoy seeing it. This year (2019) was quite chilly, but that only added to … MORE

    It’s been awhile since I’ve run a fall marathon with fall foliage–I’d forgotten how much I enjoy seeing it.

    This year (2019) was quite chilly, but that only added to the “fall-ness” of the race. I found the course to be hilly–and somehow, it always seemed to be uphill, never downhill. You pass by the finish line multiple times, which is especially cruel when it happens around mile 25.

    This is a small race (less than 400 full marathoners), but they really take care of their runners. Special callout to race director John Mortimer. He personally made me feel welcomed and supported during the race. As a back of the pack-er, this is huge! This race also redefines “sweeper” in a way that I just love! Here, the sweeper is someone to avoid or stay in front of. Here, the sweeper stays with whomever is in the last position on the course (so this can change over 26.2 miles). The sweeper doesn’t threaten (“you’ll be taken off the course”), doesn’t say unhelpful things (“run faster”), but instead is there to encourage and to say “you will be allowed to finish no matter how much time it takes. I’m here to make sure you don’t get lost and that you have everything you need.” For several miles I was the last person and I am truly grateful for Esther who kept it real and kept me entertained.

    Swag includes a long sleeve technical shirt (okay) and a big medal (nice). The hotel was mere steps from the start and finish line.

    For 50-staters or anyone looking for a nice, small, fall New England race, I would definitely recommend this marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    richardowein REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is a very hilly marathon and not the option to choose to get a PR or BQ, but if you love a good challenge, you will enjoy this race. … MORE

    This is a very hilly marathon and not the option to choose to get a PR or BQ, but if you love a good challenge, you will enjoy this race. The course is very scenic with long stretches along and across the Merrimack River. The course mixes in a large amount of trail running (that was gorgeous at this time of year). The course has changed slightly (mostly at the end) since 2014 when I last ran it. This change is for the better and allowed my son to see me run by the Elm St portion of the course multiple times which gave me a boost. Very well organized and the citizens of Manchester took pride in the event. This is a marathon to run if you love a great course and are not obsessed with getting your BQ.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    Shearwoman FIRST-TIMER '17

    I ran the marathon relay, so I can only speak to my portion of the race, which was primarily on the rail trail from Goffstown. It was a fun race, … MORE

    I ran the marathon relay, so I can only speak to my portion of the race, which was primarily on the rail trail from Goffstown. It was a fun race, great energy, wonderful support stations and volunteers. Great swag and afterparty. Loved it!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    pgillis REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Since Millenium Running took over and re-designed the course, this has become a much more runnable race and much fairer in terms of being able to PR, which I did … MORE

    Since Millenium Running took over and re-designed the course, this has become a much more runnable race and much fairer in terms of being able to PR, which I did by 8 minutes last fall. Starting downtown, which admittedly isn’t the most scenic place, the race gets out of the main part of the city and onto the bikepath along the river, before heading back downtown and onto a nice tour around the city’s recreational trails and hilly streets. For spectators it is nice because the runners pass through the downtown area a few times along the way. Perhaps the nicest addition is the 5-6 mile portion near the end along the newly renovated Goffstown rail trail which is virtually flat and is a welcome relief after running some pretty hilly portions up to that point. The race got a bad rap for years because it was very difficult and too hilly but they recently amended the course and it made it faster. Some pretty fast runners have recently pr’d here and if you give it a shot, it’d be a nice way to check off New Hampshire on your 50 state list.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    1

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    bibster FIRST-TIMER '16

    No expo beforehand but it was an easy no-frills way to pick up your bib and shirt at Millennium's store quickly. I think Millennium Running tried their best to put … MORE

    No expo beforehand but it was an easy no-frills way to pick up your bib and shirt at Millennium’s store quickly.

    I think Millennium Running tried their best to put on a good experience for the runners. There was a Marathon, a Half Marathon, a Relay Marathon and a 5K all on the same day. The sponsor tent area was good and Veteran’s Park made a good athletes village. But there were only 584 runners in the marathon, with maybe a matching amount of half marathoners. When the half peeled off you could really feel the difference. I wasn’t a fan of the relay going on at the same time. It was discouraging to see the fresher runners on the same course – it was the first race I’ve seen that with that format.

    The first half was pretty brutal – really hilly and mainly uphill. The 2nd half wasn’t as bad but the Goffstown Trail was a gradual uphill for 2 miles before looping around the women’s prison and coming back. The hills and trail had you pretty beat up by then but looking into the yard at the women’s prison you realize it could be worse. It was a lot of runners to put on a fairly narrow stone-dust trail be careful of the roots and rocks. I saw a couple face plants. Besides for that loop, you actually had to pass the finish line on Elm Street and run a loop across Bridge Street (2 miles) before coming back to the finish. So discouraging to see the finish and then find out you had 2 more miles to go.

    Water stops were good – Powerade at every station with Gu’s at two of them. Volunteers were very nice. More spectators along the course than I would have thought. Overall, I hated the course and other runners I talked with on the road were not fans either. Shirt was very nice! Parking was plentiful and close to the starting line.

    This could be a nice race if a friendlier course can be mapped out. To be clear, I thought the course was terrible but everything else about it was good.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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  1. Races
  2. Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay & 5K