Overall Rating
Overall Rating (77 Reviews)
4.2
(77 Ratings)  (77 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.2
SCENERY
3.2
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
4
The Mesa Marathon (previously known as the Mesa-Phoenix Marathon) is the premier race in Arizona. Runners receive the race experience and perks of a major marathon as well as the personalized service and local flavor of your favorite hometown race. Race day is all about the runner, from industry-leading shirts … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Feb 08):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  57  67  73  74  71
L (°F)  43  45  47  48  44
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Recent reviews

    rayalanchow FIRST-TIMER '24

    This race was extremely organized. The expo was easy to navigate to and I also liked that there was a coach who offered tips for the course. On race day, … MORE

    This race was extremely organized. The expo was easy to navigate to and I also liked that there was a coach who offered tips for the course.

    On race day, there were plenty of shuttles so I did not have to wait. We were also allowed to stay in the shuttle because it was raining.

    Our race was delayed because it was raining. Good thing they offered heaters that we could stay under to keep warm. The course itself was a gradual downhill with plenty of aid stations. This course is fast and I was able to obtain my BQ on this course. I would recommend this race to anyone looking to run a fast and organized course.

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    GoRunGolf FIRST-TIMER '24

    Organization for parking was atrocious. It was a total mess. The race started late due to the inefficiencies of the parking situation. Thought I was going to miss the race, … MORE

    Organization for parking was atrocious. It was a total mess. The race started late due to the inefficiencies of the parking situation. Thought I was going to miss the race, and was at the parking corrall 2 hours prior to start time. My gear check was ‘lost.’ Someone else found it, thankfully. The ‘scenery’ of Mesa was not good. In fact some areas felt a little scary. The burger at the finish was nonexistent, the line was so long there was no way I’d ever wait in it. For an established race, it sure felt as though total newbies were holding the reigns. I left thankful for the gift of running and ability to move my body. I wouldn’t repeat this race, I certainly wouldn’t travel for it. This was half marathon number 51 for me, so I have been around the block and the country with racing experience.

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    I went into this race with such high hopes but sadly disappointed. It was pretty expensive to fly into Phoenix and the hotels were outrageous. There were not nearly enough … MORE

    I went into this race with such high hopes but sadly disappointed. It was pretty expensive to fly into Phoenix and the hotels were outrageous. There were not nearly enough supporting hotels with special rates available for so many runners coming to Mesa. The expo was sad with very few vendors or merch to purchase. There were many options of extra shirts to purchase for the race itself. The race shirt was great although I had to pay five dollars extra for long sleeves. The location of the expo was also the finish area. In order to get a secured spot on the bus to the race start – we had to be at the pickup at 4:00 am. That’s so hard because no one feels normal at that time of the morning in the complete dark in a strange place with freezing weather. Also, it didn’t help that it was pouring rain – (which I totally understand was out of their control). At the top of the Half course – there were plenty of bathrooms and a few heaters – but not nearly enough to accommodate the number of runners. The course was net downhill elevation but having done Mt. Charleston – this downhill was not noticeable. The worst part for me was how BORING the course was. Running down the main road of Mesa for 13.1 miles with basically nothing to see. The temps were in the low 40’s the entire time and with being wet also made for a pretty miserable race for back of the pack runners like me. There were plenty of water stops and bathroom. No course support but plenty of volunteers. Photographers were also pretty good. I was too miserable to participate in the after party and the parking lot was total chaos. I’m sad that I chose this for Arizona – should have done the Rock n Roll or Saguaro.

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    derek.lee FIRST-TIMER '24

    This is a super fast course and great for a BQ. You do have to train for a sustained downhill start because it’s a real quad burner. I flew down … MORE

    This is a super fast course and great for a BQ. You do have to train for a sustained downhill start because it’s a real quad burner. I flew down the first 4 miles and banked time . My legs were not trained for that so by mile 19 my quads got tight and my pace slowed. Luckily They never cramped and I got a BQ. Overall a great event. It does start super early and traffic can get bad if you show up late.

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    kenmaas FIRST-TIMER '24

    Route is downhill overall. My legs got very sore and the flat portions did not feel flat after that. Weather is unpredictable but they do have heaters at the start. … MORE

    Route is downhill overall. My legs got very sore and the flat portions did not feel flat after that. Weather is unpredictable but they do have heaters at the start. Arrive early for the busses you can always stay on them longer. Expo and swag where great and packet pickup was fast and simple.

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    MarMil FIRST-TIMER '24

    The down was not as steep as I thought so don't go out to fast. Couldn't notice the different after mile 14. Just pace yourself and run your race if … MORE

    The down was not as steep as I thought so don’t go out to fast. Couldn’t notice the different after mile 14. Just pace yourself and run your race if you have any left you can pick up the pace later. 26.2 miles down is still 26.2 miles!

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    jstick FIRST-TIMER '24

    fast mostly downhill course with a decent ~2mi hill at mile 6. The first ~8 miles are scenic ins the desert but its dark so you can't see much. After … MORE

    fast mostly downhill course with a decent ~2mi hill at mile 6. The first ~8 miles are scenic ins the desert but its dark so you can’t see much. After that’s is running through commercial and residential areas.

    Parking was really bad. Poorly communicated and no signage. Give yourself plenty of time to park.

    Lastly, having to run though the half-ers for the last ~6miles was very annoying as they often blocked the entire road.

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    kalyke FIRST-TIMER '24

    Very organized race in terms of the communication leading up to race day and the expo. The start time for the marathon was delayed by about 30 min, however there … MORE

    Very organized race in terms of the communication leading up to race day and the expo. The start time for the marathon was delayed by about 30 min, however there were heat lamps and lots of portable toilets. The first half of the course was quite scenic, passed by nice neighborhoods and landscapes, and the second half was mostly cityscape. It was rainy and cold which made it tough, but I was impressed with the positivity and enthusiastic support from the volunteers (13 water stops!) and hardcore spectators who stood in the rain for hours! Good race for AZ if you’re trying to do 50 states, hopefully the weather is better in the future!

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    rkgranzow FIRST-TIMER '24

    First I want to start off by saying that I always try to find something positive about all races. I signed up for the bird right after it opened the … MORE

    First I want to start off by saying that I always try to find something positive about all races. I signed up for the bird right after it opened the previous year. All of the reviews bragged about the course being downhill and scenic. Other than one hill, I felt like I was running on flat elevation (not what I had anticipated). The scenery was rows of houses or businesses on unevenly blacktop roads. It wasn’t the picturesque desert scenery that I thought.
    I came in injured, so my only goal was to finish. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible-unseasonably cold, rain, rain, and more rain, so not much spectator support (not their fault-it was some very cruddy weather).Biofreeze was promised at every stop, but they ran out an mile 11☹️and heard runners being told they were out of a certain flavor GU gel (my issue with this is you know how many people are signed up to race so be “over-stocked”. I felt bad for the volunteers (most were teenagers) having to hang around in such nasty weather. The rain finally stopped near the end of the race but 🥶
    Because of all the rain, the finish fest was more of a mud fest! The volunteers were awesome about over-stocking us with snacks👍
    The main meal was the burger and fries – stood in line for over an hour -ran out of condiments. Even if you only ran the 1 mile fun run, you got the burger-something probably needs to be rethought on that plan.
    The expo was small-medium and well organized. They were selling previous year’s race shirts for $1.99 – who doesn’t love a race shirt!!!
    Bus pick-up was easy and if you run the marathon, you can stay on the bus until the start-there are also plenty of patio heaters.
    If you don’t want to worry about parking that morning (which I heard from many was a nightmare and delayed the race by 25min), stay at the Sheraton Wrigleyville West or Courtyard Marriott (bus pick up is there). We stayed at the Hyatt (nice hotel and friendly staff), parked at Cracker Barrel and walked .5 miles to busses.
    My husband was there as a spectator, and we drove the day before to all of the designated spots according to the race packet. He tried parking where the designated spectator spots were and was told each time, he couldn’t park there🤔 We are from out of state and sooooo many streets were shut down that Google Maps was even lost. I’ve never seen a race with specific designated spots for spectators that they can’t get to, and then he couldn’t get back to the finish fest. He had to park the car miles away, so the walk after running the marathon iniliated what was left of injured leg😢
    At least I can check Arizona off as one of my race states😊

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    Profile photo of Kim Manturuk
    manturuk FIRST-TIMER '24

    This is a very fast course, but there are some real pacing challenges. Your quads are likely going to hurt a lot in the last five miles so I figured … MORE

    This is a very fast course, but there are some real pacing challenges. Your quads are likely going to hurt a lot in the last five miles so I figured I might as well go hot on the downhill (miles 1-4 & 7-10). The uphill between miles 5 and 6 is steady but I thought it was nothing of note. Caveat being I live in a hilly area. I started to really feel the fast downhill miles in the second half.

    The race is well organized with excellent on course support. I carried no gels or fluid – gel every 4 miles at the aid stations. The start area has plenty of toilets and heaters. The signage was clear and accurate by my watch. I liked the extra fun signs too. The expo was really nice with good quality branded swag for sale and all the extras. I loved the little luggage tag for BQ finishers at the end!

    One thing to prepare for is that the first half of the race was beautiful but the second half (which is all of the half marathon course) was running down a four lane city road with only gas stations and strip malls for scenery.

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    joeverellen FIRST-TIMER '24

    Efficient but Long bus ride. Down hills are steep enough to bite you in the end if you are not careful. There were heating lamps while we waited at the … MORE

    Efficient but Long bus ride. Down hills are steep enough to bite you in the end if you are not careful. There were heating lamps while we waited at the start.

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    sra183919 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Several races all park and take buses at the same place. From one road in. I live five miles away and it took me an hour. Backed up on the … MORE

    Several races all park and take buses at the same place. From one road in. I live five miles away and it took me an hour. Backed up on the highway. If I did the race again, I’d leave my house at like 2 am and park and sleep in the parking lot. No portables where you wait for the bus. Not enough at the start line either. Too bad because the course is fast and the start at Usury Park is beautiful

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    semodlin FIRST-TIMER '23

    This race starts in the desert and it is dark, so it was unique and cool! The expo was at the Cub's training stadium and there were tons of vendors … MORE

    This race starts in the desert and it is dark, so it was unique and cool! The expo was at the Cub’s training stadium and there were tons of vendors and volunteers! There was one vendor that sold oranges, which was unique. I took back way too many freebies! The course was downhill in the beginning, but it flattens out kinda quickly. There were a decent amount of spectators since it’s not a huge marathon. The finish line area was in a huge park and it got sunny/hot by the time I finished. I would definitely run this course again!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
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    5

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    TatumBurke FIRST-TIMER '23

    Great weather, especially coming from all the snow we got in Utah. The first half felt all downhill and second half was mostly flat the entire way. The course was … MORE

    Great weather, especially coming from all the snow we got in Utah. The first half felt all downhill and second half was mostly flat the entire way. The course was well marked, great volunteers, and plenty of stocked aid stations. The beautiful sunrise was memorable. Runners can stay on buses at the start though it wasn’t that chilly (well appreciated for the option) and then there’s fireworks at start. The course is fast and many runners BQ here. Then finish with a huge festival with lots of food and fellowship. Love it and will be back again!

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    DonnieKilometer FIRST-TIMER '23

    As with the last time I ran this race, it was by far the most well-organized race I've run. It is a big event, and everything reflects that from the … MORE

    As with the last time I ran this race, it was by far the most well-organized race I’ve run. It is a big event, and everything reflects that from the race swag packet, to the directions and parking, to the expos before and day of.

    The weather was again beautiful, as was the scenery running through Mesa. Strangely though, this time myself, and my son both ended up having some pretty bad knee pains that eventually become hip pains. Mine started around mile 5, his started sooner. This made at least half of the race not only more difficult than necessary, but actually quite painful to run.

    I don’t know what caused it, but since then we have run other races of this distance and had no issues. So I can only assume it was either our gait that day, or this course puts a consistent pressure on the body that I had not trained for.

    This definitely affected what was otherwise a positive experience for both of us.

    One last other note: I didn’t use the bag check (which I should have). I had a cobra kai warm-up hoodie that I’d become quite attached to, as well as two brand new 3M knee braces I planned to wear. During the warm-up before the race, I realized this was not going to work. So I did what I could to hang onto these items, but eventually I started asking police and volunteers along the course how I could get them to the end of the race. I was instructed to leave them at a hydration station. I stopped and did so, confirming with the volunteers there that my items would get to the end of the race.

    I was foolish and mistaken. My items are now lost, which represent at least $100 in gear. After a month or so of back and forth with the organizers, they finally told me these items cannot be found. We even waited after the race at the expo, tried to find the lost and found (which basically doesn’t exist), and eventually gave up after being told that I would have to wait until they unpacked the trailers after race day.

    So that was another sour spot. I get that I could/should have used the bag check. However, whomever is telling volunteers that runners can leave their items at hydration stations is setting people up for disappointment and loss.

    For the above reasons (the unexpected hip-down pain from this course), as well as my items getting lost; I’m not sure I’ll run this again next year.

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    thestudadam FIRST-TIMER '23

    I chose this race based on both the good reviews found here and the large # of people that I follow on social media posting about running this race and … MORE

    I chose this race based on both the good reviews found here and the large # of people that I follow on social media posting about running this race and raving about the merits of the race. Having now run the race myself I think I made a great choice choosing the Mesa Marathon for state #16. An interesting thing about this race is how large the Marathon field is compared to the half marathon field. 2200 Marathon runners, 3200 half runners, 1200 10k runners. I think the fast flat course appeals to BQ chasers but I was still surprised that the # of participants at each distance was so similar.

    EXPO/PACKET PICK UP:
    I was quite impressed with the EXPO for this race. I have run quite a few races of similar sizes and this was one of the more complete and impressive EXPOS. It was held in a baseball stadium, I was told that this was the first year for this. The stadium was Sloan park which is the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs and also serves as the home stadium for their Rookie league affiliate. The expo was held the day before the race with a 9hr pickup window. Parking at the stadium was more than plentiful and we parked close and walked straight inside. The first thing you did was pick up your bib, the volunteers appeared to High School Army Jr. ROTC cadets who while slightly slow were extremely polite and helpful. After my friend and I picked up our bibs we were directed around the concourse towards the expo proper. The first thing you did was cross over a timing matt which let you verify that your bib timer was working properly because it displayed your name, race distance, and home town on a monitor. Next you were greeted by several big signature boards (something I have usually only seen at major marathons). They had 8 boards to sign concerning where you came from, who you are running for, what music you listen to while running etc. Next there was a giant wall with every runners name printed on it where people were coloring their name or doing something similar. There was then a large Mesa Marathon gear sale area followed by at least 30-40 different vendors which lined the concourse from home plate to center field. At the end of the expo they had a large wooden 13.1 and 26.2 that people were using to take pictures. Just a well done expo all around.

    Parking/Access: Parking at the same baseball stadium that held the expo was more than plentiful…once you got into the lot. The buses to the start run from 4-5:15 am. They specifically state on their website to get to the parking lot no later than 4:30. We got there at 4:30 and the lines to get in were very long and had me stressing that we would miss the bus. In the end we got parked about 4:50 and made it to the line to get onto one of the plentiful buses minutes later. I strongly advise you to use their advised route to get to the start area and then get to the parking lot early. You can always stay in your car a while instead of getting in line for the start area, save yourself the stress of not getting there last minute. Point to Point races where you have to take a bus always add some stress to a start.

    T-Shirts/SWAG: The medal for this race was really nice, it is well made and sturdy and has the race logo surrounded by cacti and Arizona’s state bird. The color of the medal changed depending on the race, Gold for marathon, Silver for half, Bronze for 10k. The medal had what I always hope for in a race medal, it looked good and it had elements to it that were unique and represent the state I ran the race in, I was happy all around in that regard. The ribbon for the medal this year also gets high marks from me. (See attached Photo). The shirt this year was a tech shirt that was very well made and soft. The color this year, I guess has a southwest brown and red type theme but I’d say it is the only thing keeping me from giving the SWAG 5/5 shoes. (See attached photo). I generally wear the race shirt during the race and I did so during this race as well and found it quite comfortable. I also need to make a quick comment on the race bib, it was a bit oddly sized, more a square than a rectangle but I really liked how every bib was personalized with the name of your choice but it also included a blurb at the top that said “4th Mesa Marathon” or equivalent to denote how many times a person had run the race. A nice personal touch.

    Aid Stations: The aid stations were well stocked and plentiful. There were 8 aid stations on the half course and 14 on the full. That might be the most aid stations I have had during a half marathon. Every single aid station had water and Gatorade. 3 aid stations had Gu for the half, every aid station had bathrooms and medical attendants. There were also a few aid stations with Bio-Freeze, Fruit and frozen treats. I didn’t hear anything about supplies running out at any time during the race. I was near the front so I was never really in a group, but the number of volunteers was more than enough. My friend who finished in 2:10 around the highest volume times said there there were some real slow downs at aid station as volunteers were filling and handing out cups as fast as they could pour them but I think that was just some bad luck/timing at early aid stations for him and I really have a hard time criticizing volunteers. The volunteers were really clear about who had water or Gatorade. If I could make one critique it would be to have a few more garbage cans 100 yards after the stations so you could have time to finish your drink before trying to toss your cup.

    Course Scenery/Elevation Difficulty: The course for the half starts in and around some industrial office park area on the outskirts of town. Not very scenic but very spacious. But it really wouldn’t matter if it was pretty because the race starts at 6:30am and it is completely black outside so you couldn’t see anything anyways. I found plenty of room to warm up. They had a very long start chute with large spacing between pace groups. The course is basically flat. It drops about 100 ft over the course of 13 miles so you don’t really notice it one way or another. The half marathon course isn’t very scenic, although for the first hour it will be too dark to notice. You mostly run through light commercial and residential areas. They have lots of cones protecting the course with lots of police helping to direct traffic so I never felt as though I was running near traffic. Once the sun was up I got a brief sunrise view of the mountains around mile 9. My understanding is that the marathon course starts higher up into the valley and is more a downhill during the first half with some really great sunrise views of the area.

    Weather: 48 degrees at the start area which is pretty standard for February.
    I’m from up north so I found this to be perfect start weather that wasn’t really cold. If you were cold at the start every expo bag provided a pair of throw away gloves and a foil blanket. They also had a ton of tall propane heater towers that people were standing around. The one time I went up to them I had several rows of people in front of me and I was plenty warm. I’m not sure how the people in front of me didn’t cook. If you are a slow marathoner you might find some issues with the heat around the 5+ hour mark as temperatures by then were approaching 70 but you can’t really do much better than those temperatures in a state this far south in the desert.

    Race Management: This Race was very well run, especially so for a medium to large-ish race. I found their website to be the best source of info, they also email you a few bits of advice. Other things to compliment this race on: They had age group awards as well as prize money for top performers. This race attracts elite athletes and has an elite start. I was able to say a passing hello to Molly Seidel, aka the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Bronze Medalist. Distance running and track and field fans would notice that there were 4 2021 Olympians in the field, very cool to share a course with. They had plenty of busses to take people to the start areas, there was a line to get on but I found it to move very quickly. They had port-o-potties at the finish to use before the bus and at the start, the lines seemed a bit long but moved quickly so I think they had the numbers correct especially if you moved past where they dropped people off from the bus I would say that had at least 100 bathrooms at the start. The start area had a bag check truck by the start line that was open until nearly the starting gun (the website said 6:00am it would close but it was definitely open later).
    I know some people complained about it being cold at the start but it was perfect PR weather and they had tons of heat lamps that people to stand around. They had pace setters from 1:30-2:20 in ten minute intervals. For the full because this is very much advertised as a BQ course they had a pace group for every single male and female BQ age group then 3-4 other pace groups for the back of the pack people (Yes, they had 14 different pace groups). They also gave a special BQ luggage bag tag to anyone who got a BQ. The finish had plenty of the usual finish line fare (bagels, water, electrolytes, oranges, granola bars, chips, fruit cups and ice cream). Your race bib also included a ticket for the beer garden at the finish. The finish area also included several vendors, lots of photo ops, a PR bell, a place where instead of just entering your race bib # to see your finish time they gave you a print out of your finish time and place on a nice race logo card stock. There was also a concert happening on the large stage they had set up. They have 6 timing mats set up along the half marathon course which is a lot for a race of that distance but meant lots of stats for looking at your results page in terms of pace and time. They also have free race Photos which they post on their website which I always love. My only critiques: their race app for tracking people is utter trash, don’t even bother with it, eventually I gave up and signed up for text message tracking for my friend but by that time he was 4 minutes from finishing. They could use a little more traffic and parking help before the race but if I had shown up when they told me to it would have been zero stress. Finally they could help themselves at aid stations with garbage cans further from the aid stations and some more pre staged water cups especially during peak runner waves.

    Overall I would say this race is a fantastic way to check Arizona off your 50 state list. You won’t find many races that are run better with so many amenities. Also if you are going to run in Arizona this is 100% the time of year to do it and with Mesa being right by the Phoenix airport hotels so getting there was really easy. I highly recommend this race.

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    UofMFan67 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Well organized mega race. Starts early (6:30 am) so you beat the heat. Flat and fast. Nice destination race. Usually cool at the start (52 degrees this year), and was … MORE

    Well organized mega race. Starts early (6:30 am) so you beat the heat. Flat and fast. Nice destination race. Usually cool at the start (52 degrees this year), and was still in the low 60’s at finish.

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    validus FIRST-TIMER '23

    The half marathon start seemed borderline abandoned. There were no race crew to be found except two volunteers at the bag drop (which moved at least once) The announcer could … MORE

    The half marathon start seemed borderline abandoned. There were no race crew to be found except two volunteers at the bag drop (which moved at least once) The announcer could only be heard at the start line. The folks lined up at the 2:10 hr pace mark couldn’t hear anything, no volunteers to pass on instructions or anything. The course itself was well marked and the finish area was well laid out. The app did not work for me, but spectators were able to track me.

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    dlmartin REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Overall an easy, flat course encompassing Mesa's variety of residential areas. The course is exceptionally well supported by Mesa's police and city services. This year (2023), the course was changed … MORE

    Overall an easy, flat course encompassing Mesa’s variety of residential areas. The course is exceptionally well supported by Mesa’s police and city services. This year (2023), the course was changed slightly and bus pickup and the finish line were in a new location, Sloan Park. Production aspect that could be improved on is parking and bus organization. Also hope they improve the half’s start line wait time (after bus drop off). Waiting 1-2 hours to start is a long time in the dark and cold.

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    dvsanders1 FIRST-TIMER '23

    The course is great. It is very fast. Miles 0-4 all downhill. You can bank sometime here that you will need later but don’t go out too fast. Mile 5 … MORE

    The course is great. It is very fast. Miles 0-4 all downhill. You can bank sometime here that you will need later but don’t go out too fast. Mile 5 is all up hill. I lost about 25 seconds from my average pace here. Mile 6 starts uphill but then pivots downhill toward the end. The rest of the course is flat or subtly downhill. There is some nice downhill around mile 23,24,or 25. I can’t exactly remember. I suggest you stay in a hotel near Sloan Park/Riverview Park. I drove from an hotel about 10 miles out and there was a lot of congestion. It took me over 50 minutes to get to the parking area and I followed their advice of not taking highway 202. This is the fastest course I’ve run. It was even faster than CIM and that is a wonderful marathon course.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

    3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    MattyIce Mar 14, 2023 at 11:25am

    Very helpful review. I'll consider this for a bona fide Boston attempt.

    Very helpful review. I'll consider this for a bona fide Boston attempt.

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