Saturday, 5 November 2011

Recommended marathons part 1

Following Rob Mackey's invitation to post onto the blog here goes.
On the eve of running my 20th marathon tomorrow I thought it may be useful to add some race comments.
Firstly thanks to Sandbach Striders for tommow's marathon - 105 laps around a track in Crewe. I don't think there'll be a danger of getting lost, the race profile looks reasonably flat, and there are 105 support stations; but the scenery may be well ... other runners.

Recommended marathons in no particular order
1 Chester - do it , it would be rude not to ! Its so close and it comes into Wales. Its our home marathon. Last year i loved it , as i broke my 20year pb for the second time in a few weeks. It was run out & back on the Chester to Deeside greenway. How good is it to run a marathon on the route where i usualy do my long runs.
But with plans of making it a 'Venue/ Desination marathon' this year the route was from the Racecourse, through the city , starting early before the shoppers arrived, then out on the half marathon route- Handbridge, Eccelston, Old Wrexham Road, Pulford, Rossett, then Trevalyn, towards Boras (outer Wrexham) then to Holt across the River Dee to Farndon to Aldford, Huntingdon and back into Chester with a finish in front of the racecourse grandstands. VERY well organised, well marshalled, good support at water stations, and great coming back into the city. Scenic- rural lanes. But - some slight inclines, Farndon, then toward Aldford, and Sandy lane getting into the city in Chester. Emphasis- these are slight compared to real hills, but a little energy sapping after 17 miles etc.
For the organisation, the local quiet lanes, the cameraderie, the grandstand finish, this is centainly a recommended marathon. In fact most of the rate the run feedback on runners world is very positive. for me it was a 4hr 38minute run - i think Berlin 14days earlier was still in my legs!

2 Berlin Marathon
Lovely City, not too expensive. Great variety of accomadation from hostels to hotels. The marathon is busy 35-40,000 people. I've run this in 2010 and 2011. In 2010- i felt a little lost amoungst the crowds trying to find the baggage area, but once that mild panic was over no problem. Very supportive crowds, lots of Brits, Irish and other visitors to Germany, i think the biggest visitor group were the Danes.
The BEST EXPO ever, in aircraft hangars in the old Templehof airport , amsolutely amazing. Did i mention free beer- alkohol free, on some stalls at the expo; AND at the end of the race.
A very flat course, with crowds throughout, good support stations, though a little crowded, they were so big i didnt go at the start in the scrum!
The best things
- the expo
-the flat course
-the supportive crowd
-the supportive other runners
-the free beer after finishing
- the amazing finish, after a few corners in the road then there is a 1kilometre straight to and through Brandenburg gate. My daughter ran her first marathon here this year- and has a great photo near the finish with Brandenburg gate in the background.
Some challenges
-its 26.2 hey its always a long way
-its busy, hey its a capital city marathon
-its busy at the start, only 1 start - London has 3
-its busy in the race, so a bit challenging to go past people, but that can also helpyou not go off to fast.
Weather- as everywhere can be changeable! In 2010 i was rained on until about 16miles. This year it was hot- and i slowed a lot near the end - kept stopping to get water, to pour on my head and in my cap - and a minute or 2 later - hot again.
Summary- great city, great race, busy, very tempting to go back again.

Looking forward to reviews of other races by other members.

oops - quick edit to say this is written by Rob Davies

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