Overall Rating
Overall Rating (15 Reviews)
3.9
(15 Ratings)(15 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.1
SCENERY
2.9
PRODUCTION
4.1
SWAG
3.9
The Marshall-St. Mary’s University Marathon is dedicated to bringing the HealthierUS Initiative to the area. Exercise is a key component of this and we want everyone to take part in this event either as a runner, walker, or volunteer. The marathon is 2 loops. This allows spectators and family to … MORE
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Recent reviews

    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '19

    BOTTOM LINE: For a solid, few-frills race through the heart of urban Appalachia, MUM’s the word. Held annually on the same Sunday as the nation’s largest marathon in New York … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: For a solid, few-frills race through the heart of urban Appalachia, MUM’s the word. Held annually on the same Sunday as the nation’s largest marathon in New York City, MUM is itself the largest marathon in West Virginia and a worthy late-season addition if you’re looking to conquer the Mountain State on your 50 States quest. As the name suggests, the centerpiece of race weekend is Marshall University, with the hands-down highlights of race day being 1) the opportunity in mile 26 to leave a white flower on Memorial Fountain to honor the 75 lives lost in the 1970 plane crash tragedy, and 2) the finish on the football field at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

    Aside from those two moments, MUM struggles to convey a distinctive personality or rise above the level of “good enough.” Located at the nexus of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, Huntington isn’t exactly a tourist mecca, and what there is to see (aside from the Marshall campus) tends to be spread out across the city: a park here, a statue there, a small town square with shops and restaurants a stone’s throw from the Ohio River. And nary a grocery store to be found, though luckily I was able to score a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my pre-race breakfast) at the local Speedway convenience store. All this civic distancing was particularly inconvenient for me since I’d registered too late to score a room at one of the two conveniently located hotels near campus (my bad), and so I ended up staying atop a hill nearly four miles away at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott.

    With that in mind, if you do decide to run MUM I’d suggest you a) book accommodations early (though even the closest hotels are more than a mile from the race start/finish) and b) rent a car, because Lyft/Uber rides can be sporadic and tough to come by. (This is especially pronounced if you’re coming from a larger city like Los Angeles, where you’ve been spoiled by a surfeit of rides and short wait times.) In fact, in Huntington the same Lyft driver picked me up four times in a row and drove in from the next county to do so. So I spent a goodly amount of my 40+ hours in Huntington waiting for Lyft rides, though I knew when I saw my dedicated driver’s license plate (LYFT1) for the first time that I was in good hands. Thanks, Dan!

    The TL;DR is that I did enjoy my MUM weekend — the course is largely flat (ironic since this is the Mountain State) and diverse enough to justify two loops. What’s more, the sunny weather but cooler temperatures were exactly what you wish for in a November marathon. The race organizers do rely heavily on the appeal of Marshall University to attract runners (it worked on me!), though there’s also enough to see around Huntington for curious minds (on active legs) to fill a Saturday. All that said, unless you’re averse to running in the heat, I’d recommend the excellent Hatfield McCoy Marathon in June (which starts in Kentucky and finishes in West Virginia) as a more memorable choice for the Mountain State. And I’m not alone in that opinion, since MUM finished as runner-up to Hatfield McCoy for both the best marathon and best half marathon in the state in the RaceRaves Runners Choice polls.

    PRODUCTION: Race production on the whole went smoothly enough, though at the same time the weekend lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, that genuine sense of spirit and enthusiasm that distinguishes similarly sized races like Missoula, Jackson Hole and Clarence DeMar. As mentioned above, the organizers clearly count on the overarching presence of Marshall University to carry the day, from the Marshall-themed decorations at the pre-race expo to the finish on the field at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. (Disclaimer: While I’m a notorious sucker for college campuses and will always err on the side of the color green, the Marshall football team happened to be playing my alma mater Rice University in Houston on the Saturday of race weekend. That said, Rice so rarely wins that another predictable defeat didn’t color my feelings toward MUM.)

    With the exception of Kiwanis Park, friendly volunteers were stationed at strategic points along the course, presumably to keep an eye on and direct the runners. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to the volunteers at the mile 2/14 aid station, who kindly allowed me to stash my bottle of Maurten at their table before the race, which I then claimed on the second loop. Oh, and kudos to the PA announcer whose welcoming voice on the field at Joan C. Edwards Stadium greeted runners as they crossed the end zone/finish line, many of them with football in hand. Near-freezing temperatures aside, I also appreciated the opportunity to lounge on the field for as long as I wanted afterward, an unexpected bonus and particularly when compared with another unnamed marathon happening that day in ew-Nay ork-Yay ity-Cay, where no sooner do you cross the finish line in Central Park than they kick you out the nearest exit.

    Outside the stadium, the reasonable post-race spread featured hot dogs, burgers, Krispy Kreme donuts with Kelly green icing, potato chips, bananas, Coke, chocolate milk and water, plus Bud Light and always unappealing Michelob Ultra. (On that note, I’d urge the social media “influencers” who now awkwardly endorse Michelob Ultra in my Instagram feed to reconsider; I’ve yet to meet a runner whose face lights up at the mention of Michelob Ultra.) Nearby, a vendor offered runners the chance to put their feet up (literally) and treat their weary legs to the latest in pneumatic compression recovery technology.

    Small, quiet and lacking in energy, the pre-race expo was held more than a mile from campus at the New Baptist Church, a converted ice-skating rink where a fleet of cars sporting “FUNERAL” placards greeted us at the entrance. The expo itself consisted of packet pickup, a registration table, a couple of booths selling running supplies and local apparel, a drop-off point for non-perishable donations to the food pantry, and an oversized United States map with pushpins to indicate your state. Given its utilitarian format I got in and out relatively quickly, all the while wondering why this wasn’t being held for convenience sake on the Marshall campus.

    SWAG: The race shirt is a Kelly green Brooks tech tee, comfy though not as desirable as the stylish pullover that had been offered to registrants several months earlier. (With MUM now in its 17th year, I’d urge the organizers to follow the lead of other events and better anticipate participant numbers so that the pullover option remains available after the current July 1 registration cutoff.) The finisher medal is an understated bronze football with an attractive green and black ribbon, while Goodr sunglasses emblazoned with footballs and the Marshall University logo (never again to be worn by this Rice alum, go Owls!) rounded out the swag.

    For a more colorful perspective on Huntington and MUM weekend, check out my race recap at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2020/07/14/marshall-university-marathon-race-report/

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    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
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    usamhall Aug 04, 2020 at 12:46pm

    Now you've done it!!!! Insulted Michelob Ultra, my go to beer. Don't you remember I had two in my hands at Little Rock... See you out there, Michael from Tulsa.

    Now you've done it!!!! Insulted Michelob Ultra, my go to beer. Don't you remember I had two in my hands at Little Rock... See you out there, Michael from Tulsa.

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    I was nervous going in about the double loop but gave me a chance to see things I may have missed the first time around! The sentimental touches were very … MORE

    I was nervous going in about the double loop but gave me a chance to see things I may have missed the first time around! The sentimental touches were very thoughtful and emotional from this BIG Football Fan! I recommend the Chessie House(Airbnb) within walking of start/finish and plenty of restaurants!

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    lcahagu01 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I have not run a marathon in over 6 years. Been running for only 7 years and completed my first marathon in 2013. I've stuck with half marathons since then. … MORE

    I have not run a marathon in over 6 years. Been running for only 7 years and completed my first marathon in 2013. I’ve stuck with half marathons since then. I felt particularly stronger this training cycle and over trained a bit for a half and decided to switch from half to full at packet pick up. Happy with my time. 🙂

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    marshall2021 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Out of the "regular" road marathon options in WV, this is probably the easiest one to get to, find lodging, and best bet to qualify for Boston. Swag is decent; … MORE

    Out of the “regular” road marathon options in WV, this is probably the easiest one to get to, find lodging, and best bet to qualify for Boston. Swag is decent; marathon participants get a pullover and a little something extra (this year was goodr glasses with footballs and the Marshall M pattern). That being said, there isn’t much special about this race. Course is very industrial, repetitive, and quiet. The community does not come out for this race. Fortunately, the volunteers are very energetic and encouraging. You do get to place a flower on the memorial and finish at the stadium. I’m a Marshall student, so I did this one to check the box off; probably would not repeat.

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    bjrobinette FIRST-TIMER '19

    If you are looking for a racecation, then this is not the race for you. If you are looking for a flat, easy run to fulfill your WV race then … MORE

    If you are looking for a racecation, then this is not the race for you. If you are looking for a flat, easy run to fulfill your WV race then this race might be for you.

    The race was well organized with plenty of water stops and the start/finish at the football stadium make parking easy and well within a short walking distance to your car. You do get to carry a football across the finish at the goal line in the stadium.

    The swag was a short sleeved brooks running shirt and a pair of goodr sunglasses.

    The scenery was pretty nondescript. I did like that the people at the animal shelter brought out some of the dogs as you entered the park. I will also give the organizers a thumbs up for having chocolate milk at the finish.

    All in all there wasn’t anything particularly bad or spectacular about this race.

    On a final note, I stayed at the Doubletree and they let all runners have a 2:00 checkout time. So it was nice to have plenty of time to stretch and shower after the race before leaving.

    DIFFICULTY
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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '12

    While the NYC Marathon was canceled due to the hurricane, I did run in the Marshall University Marathon in Huntington, WV. It was a decent last minute substitute. The volunteers … MORE

    While the NYC Marathon was canceled due to the hurricane, I did run in the Marshall University Marathon in Huntington, WV. It was a decent last minute substitute. The volunteers were gracious and helpful. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was another marathon in another state.

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    jsnitko FIRST-TIMER '18

    I loved this race! I picked it as my West Virginia race and am glad I did. The swag was awesome! We got a nice gender specific jacket, stocking cap … MORE

    I loved this race! I picked it as my West Virginia race and am glad I did. The swag was awesome! We got a nice gender specific jacket, stocking cap and duffel bag. The medal is great too- with the Marshall University logo and stadium on it. The course is 2 loops that goes through Harris Riverfront Park, through Huntington, on the John Ritter Trail and through John Ritter Park, through campus and finishes on the football field in the Marshall University stadium. On your last loop through campus at the end you were given a flower to put on the Memorial Fountain in memory of the victims of the 1970 plane crash which was touching. Then when you finished you could carry a football across the finish line which I thought was unique and cool! The race was organized very well! Great volunteers, plenty of aid stations, good post race food and free beer at the finish. The one thing that could be improved was to put the miles on the course map. The stadium was open before the start so you could use the bathrooms in it. And you could park for free at the stadium and have your car very close to the start and finish. I highly recommend this race!

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    ssabol1562 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is a spectacular race and very well organized! They do a great job of keeping everyone updated as race day approaches, the swag was great as we received a … MORE

    This is a spectacular race and very well organized! They do a great job of keeping everyone updated as race day approaches, the swag was great as we received a gym bag, stocking cap, nice long sleeve shirt (with option to upgrade to a pullover) and a really nice finishers medal.

    The course is very flat and fast..this is a great PR race (I had my fastest time of the year here!) Yes..it really is in West Virginia! If you despise hills, this is the race for you! This race has one of the coolest finishes as you run into the football stadium, get a football tossed to you and then run into the end zone where they have photographers ready to take photos which you later get emailed to you for free!

    The course support is good. Plenty of water stops with great volunteers and cross roads are blocked off and watched volunteers and police.

    Post race includes a beer tent, burgers/dogs and the usual spread of banana’s and water.

    If you run this race, make sure you take time to go over to the memorial to the football team lost in the plane crash many years ago. I also recommend watching the movie “We are Marshall” before going to get the context of what you will see while you are there.

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    DonnaS FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race was well-organized from start to finish. Packet pickup was quick and easy and included a technical shirt for half marathoners. The race was on-time and the course went … MORE

    This race was well-organized from start to finish. Packet pickup was quick and easy and included a technical shirt for half marathoners. The race was on-time and the course went through the small town of Huntington. The parts along the river were the most scenic and my favorite. Crowd support was decent considering the size of the area. One of the most fun parts of the race was finishing on the stadium and being handed a football to finish with (and keep). The medal was nice but a bit on the small side. Food at the finish was hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, chocolate milk, cookies, bananas, and water.

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    dalebassplayer FIRST-TIMER '16

    Far and away the highlight of this race is the stadium finish, but a close second is getting to carry flowers to the memorial fountain on campus. The course got … MORE

    Far and away the highlight of this race is the stadium finish, but a close second is getting to carry flowers to the memorial fountain on campus. The course got a bit lonely and boring on the second loop–required a lot of mental strength. I was also not a fan of the gravel paths in the parks. Post race food and beer were great!

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    bjfuller2000 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Very nice race. Course is flat and fairly fast. Good running weather this year and nice bling. Football at the end and running in the football stadium was a very … MORE

    Very nice race. Course is flat and fairly fast. Good running weather this year and nice bling. Football at the end and running in the football stadium was a very nice touch.

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '16

    I ran Marshall for my WV race and selected it for two reasons: first, it fit into my race schedule and second, it's not billed as "hilly and hot" like … MORE

    I ran Marshall for my WV race and selected it for two reasons: first, it fit into my race schedule and second, it’s not billed as “hilly and hot” like another WV race that’s popular out there. The weather was ideal, and the course had only small hills, enough to keep it interesting and not wear out the same muscles for 26.2 miles.

    Race communication was excellent with lots of updates coming from the RD, especially on Facebook. The swag was also great – a nice Asiacs jacket with the logo plus a gym bag, and you could buy a t-shirt for $8 after the race (worth it, it was a good shirt). The medal was cool too, with the head of the buffalo on it (Marshall’s mascot). PLUS race photos are included! Such a nice perk!!

    The course itself is not particularly exciting, but it’s not bad. It’s two loops starting and ending at the football stadium. Obviously at the 13 mile mark, the half marathoners go finish while the full runners keep going for another loop, which is slightly disheartening but not the only race to do it that way. Parts of the course are blah, with old industrial buildings and some homes lining the roads, but a big chunk of the loop is in a park, which is very nice, and makes up for the other less interesting areas. The highlight, I’d say, is finishing the last .1 miles or so inside the stadium where they give you a football to run into the end zone – very cool! Great volunteers and 11 aid stations on the course rounded out the support side, so definitely no complaints on any of that.

    The after-party was small but complete. Massages, water, beer tent, etc. They were also grilling burgers and hot dogs – I scarfed a burger before hitting the road back home, and it hit the spot. You could also buy merchandise that was leftover which is when I got the shirt. As far as parking and getting in and out of the area, that was a piece of cake, especially if you arrived early; lots of parking at the stadium.

    Overall, I thought it was a nice race. The organization and swag were great, the course was pretty good, and the weather was beautiful. There are several hotel options (pretty cheap) nearby, and some good restaurant options as well. Definitely worth doing, and especially a great option for fifty staters.

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    halfmiler99 FIRST-TIMER '14

    This is a two loop course. Make sure to be prepared for a loop course that, if fast enough, you will encounter on coming traffic from the half marathon finishers … MORE

    This is a two loop course. Make sure to be prepared for a loop course that, if fast enough, you will encounter on coming traffic from the half marathon finishers starting the 2nd loop and will have to weave in and out of them. Mile markers are non standard for and at random locations. Overall decent race

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    geddings FIRST-TIMER '16

    This was a pretty good small race of less than 1,000 runners. Not a bad course, but the 3 miles on the limestone trail at Ritter is tight, and not … MORE

    This was a pretty good small race of less than 1,000 runners. Not a bad course, but the 3 miles on the limestone trail at Ritter is tight, and not much room for passing. But it is all about the finish. You finish on the Marshall University football field. They give you a football to carry across the goal line (the finish line). Good water stop spacing. Aggressive start, no spacing. They didn’t really announce the start warning, it was just fire the cannon and go! I’d recommend it if you need the state of WV.

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    troll2069 FIRST-TIMER '15

    I wanted to run this race because my Mom’s side of the family lives just about 10 miles from the run and my Mom not only graduated from Marshall with … MORE

    I wanted to run this race because my Mom’s side of the family lives just about 10 miles from the run and my Mom not only graduated from Marshall with her Master’s degree, but she was a professor there for a number of years. She recently had a stroke and I had not been able to visit her yet, so this was a great opportunity for accomplish both.
    The weather had been chilly, but warmed up nicely on race morning. There were some sprinkles, but they stopped before the run. The course was through the streets of Huntington, mostly flat the whole way. The route wound through the streets, down into a park along the river, back into the streets, and there was a little hill until we emerged on a nice walking trail. There was excellent spectator support, the band was playing in the park, and people on their porches watching.
    I knew the end involved running into the stadium, getting a football, and scoring a touchdown. I did not know it was down and back, so as I ran down the ramp with my water bottle in my pocket so I could easily grab the football, I mustered up the last remaining energy to sprint down the football field. To my surprise once we reached the 20 yard line we turned to run to the other sideline, then back to the other end of the field to finish. I kept thinking don’t fall now! I made it and it was a good time. Another thing I wished I knew was the food being grilled in the parking lot was free. I was hungry, but walked back to my car thinking I left my wallet there…but as it turns out the food was for us.
    I purchased the warm-up jacket and it was nice to have in the morning. The medal was cool, the town is great, and I enjoyed the race. I was nice to be able to get to spend time with my family during the same time. I definitely recommend this one.

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