I'm running somewhere tomorrow. It's going to be beautiful. I can't wait.
I picked Louisville because I wanted a late April marathon and the two main choices that fit my schedule were CMM and Louisville. Louisville won because is was closer (I am driving) and I have also heard it is flatter...not sure if that is true. Trent, have you done the marathon before? Any words of wisdom to pass along? More importantly got any ideas of a good post race restaurant where I can pig out and have a couple of beers after the race?
JN, no marathon is as good as HHFMM. None. So just toe the starting line and get er done. CMM is just fine, alothough the HM is a bit too big.
I have not run Louisville, but have heard good things. It is a medium sized marathon, and includes a trip to Indiana and a run through Churchill Downs. It does have quite a few rolls and (JN, pay attention) a few miles through boring parts of town. Louisville is typically cooler but more humid than Nashville that time of year, so the weather conditions are a wash. I too would love to hear what you think.
Where are you staying / eating and how long will you be in town?
Modified to add: the run to work thing is working out great!
Do tell, you running Kroger to Kroger in 12 days? It is one of the best Nashville runs, on the old Music City Marathon course...
Well-Organized - but Rather Average - and Hilly! (about: 2006)
Course: 3 Organization: 4 Fans: 4
J. K. from Nashville, TN (5/2/06)
2 previous marathons | 1 Country Music Marathon
To be fair - you should take the following with a grain of salt. First, I have only the Chicago and Huntsville (Rocket City) Marathons to compare the CMM to... and this course kicked my ass. I was hoping for a significant PR; instead I had a personal WORST by half an hour. I hurt and hurt bad... still do... so my comments might be a bit harsh.
For the record, however - I've lived in Nashville for 5 years... so you think I'd be biased in favor of the event. But, well... it was average.
SUMMARY: A well-organized, problem-free race, with a course that is far too hilly; the half-marathoners are the focus of the race and get the attention, leaving the marathoners a bit out in the cold. The bottom line is that this is a big half-marathon with an average marathon tacked on. For those doing 13.1, I suspect it's a pretty great race; for marathoners, you can find much better. After Huntsville in December, I was underwhelmed in my hometown.
And for the price, the goodie bag is dismal... and the t-shirt is embarrassing. I'm wearing it right now, about to go mow the lawn. About all I'd wear it for.
Starting with the PROS - the good stuff!:
1) Very well organized. Expo volunteers were recruited from the soldiers at Fort Campbell (they got a 72-hour liberty out of the deal!). Can't do better than the military for disciplined, organized volunteer staff.
Note: if you can do it, GET TO THE EXPO ON THURSDAY. ON Thursday afternoon, it was empty; I heard it was a mess Friday night.
2) PLENTY of water stations! It seemed I was tripping over water stations every five minutes. I heard it was every 1.5 miles, but it seemed like twice that many. For those averse to tap water, you might not have been pleased (come to think of it... that may have been part of what made ME sick!). If that isn't a problem, you'll have plenty of water. Almost TOO much!
3) Lots of music - and some of the bands were pretty good! (Although I'd sure rather they all played tunes with pounding beats.... Sappy country love songs at mile 18 didn't exactly make me feel like I was in a Rocky training montage, if you know what I mean....)
4) The spectators (when they were around) were generally pretty enthusiastic. The best were some of the frat boys getting wasted on whiskey at 10:00 a.m., offering to share! The cheerleaders were nice.
5) The MEDAL - hard to beat that medal. It weighs about half a ton, and looks sharp!
6) One nice thing about the course - getting a chance to see the front-runners at a few points. That was pretty cool. It was interesting to count the Kenyans and Ethiopians that went by before the first American appeared!
Sadly for a hometown boy, that's about all the good stuff I could think of... and now the not-so-good-stuff:
THE CONS - stuff that was average or could be improved:
1) THE GOODIE BAG: Dear Lord, some people paid a HUNDRED bucks to run this thing. I paid half that in Huntsville and got a great hat I actually wear training and an awesome high-quality technical shirt. What do you get at Nashville? A crappy t-shirt that you'd frown at if you found it at a local 5K race. It's that bad. And that's ALL you'll get. Oh - and a couple bags of those goofy gel beans. And some airplane peanuts. And you can BUY a finisher shirt, if you'd like... but that's crappy, too. Seriously. Picture a cotton Hanes undershirt with a stick-on decal. There's your hundred bucks. Oh, and you'll get those HORRIBLY overrated Spenco flip-flops, in day-glo... green and yellow. And they HURT.
Thank goodness the MEDAL is so nice. For the money, I'm assuming it's gold.
2) The COURSE: this course was decidedly... average. Uninspiring. I live here - and this town is truly beautiful in parts. Some amazing parks to run through on perfect trails. Historical sections of town. This course carefully avoids ANYTHING interesting. Seriously. Picture running NYC, and then picture a course that makes sure you miss the Statue, the bridges, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and every other landmark. That's the CMM. Bo-o-o-ring. Basically it's three out-and-backs.
One good thing - they take you by the naked statues that caused a bunch of controversy here in the Bible Belt a few years back. Try not to giggle when you run by.
Although the corraled started WAS effective, the course is still over-crowded because of the half-marathoners at the start... and then becomes empty at the end. I mean empty. Between 13-18 and 20-26, spectators are almost non-existent. There were more spectators in Huntsville (can you tell I liked Huntsville?) in 25-degree weather than there were on mile 15 of this race.
Which brings me to:
3) THE COURSE PART II: That !%!%!^#$ little hill at mile 15.5 when you come down off the river trail.
(Speaking of the river... it was BEAUTIFUL. I live here and never noticed how awe-inspiring the Cumberland was. The best part of the course by far. Ignore the complaints about the trail - it's very nice. But there's a problem: with the river comes WIND! There must have been 40 mph headwind gusts there. On the plus side, I stopped and rescued a baby turtle trying to cross the path. And yes, that was my favorite part of the whole race. )
Back to that stupid little hill when you come off the trail.... I laughed when I read about it, laughed at all the whiners. I even laughed when I saw it - hell, it's maybe 40 yards long, if that.
But it is steep. Dangerously steep. It kills the quads. It is stupid. Doesn't belong in a BQ marathon. Fix it. Speaking of hills....
4) The COURSE - PART III: this course is HILLY. I know this town, I train here. I'd read the comments here, with half the people griping about the hills and the other half saying they weren't bad.
Make no mistake - it IS hilly. Not necessarily steep hills or dramatic hills, but they never end. It seems you're always going up or down. I thought I was ready. I wasn't. Consider yourself warned. Hilly, hilly, hilly. Not necessarily a bad thing... but don't believe a word of the "not too hilly" stuff.
5) The medical staff: remember the Great Turtle Incident of 2006? Right about the same place, I came across a woman clearly in distress, having some kind of asthma attack. I had no cell phone (I was the only one who stopped by the way... nice, huh?). So I had to run ahead to the nearest aid station. Which just happens to be at the bottom of that frickin' little hill at 15.5. I tell the staff there's a woman who might really need help... and they basically blew me off.
"Oh, we've got someone headed back there in a while," they say, then go back to gossiping and chattering.
Color me unimpressed. If you have any medical conditions, you just might wanna bring your own cell phone on this course. Self-rescue might be more efficient.
6) The frickin' half-marathon and the half-marathoners: To be fair, it's not their fault - but if you've only run full marathons before, the half-marathoners will bug the heck out of you. I'll repeat what I said above: this is NOT really a marathon at all... it's a HALF-marathon with a smallish marathon tacked on. There were almost 15,000 half-marathon finishers; there were just 4,000 marathon finishers. You can do the math and guess where the emphasis is, right?
Just be ready for it. It's not necessarily all bad, just different. The pacing is different, the attitude is different. Be ready for a lot of people around you to start picking up that pace at mile 10 or so. It was a bit disconcerting (especially since I lost that cutie I was following since mile 5!).
It goes from being frustratingly overcrowded at times... to suddenly empty after Elvis (no joke) splits you off from the halfers. Suddenly it's damn near empty. I mean really empty. Very, very little crowd support from 13-18 and from 20-26. Lots of hills and no cheering. Maybe that's why so many people were walking so slowly. At points it looked like a History Channel special on the Bataan Death March. But with numbers and cool visors.
Maybe it's just me... but from now on if I'm doing the marathon, I'm looking for events that are JUST marathons, or run the events separately. This was a BIG con for me. Might not be an issue for some... but then again, I didn't think it'd bother me. It did.
I suppose that leads me to a final note on the course: splitting off at 11 so close to the halfers' finish is just plain cruel to the full marathoners; running RIGHT BY the finish at mile 20 is downright malicious. Again, might just be my personal preference... but I'd sure rather not see the finish... until I'm finishing.
And all those chipper half-marathoners so happy to be finished milling about everywhere? Ugh.
There you have it! I'd probably recommend this race for first-timers and walkers - and like I said, I think it's probably a great race for the half-marathoners.
For a marathon, it was decidedly average. Well-organized but otherwise unimpressive.
But I will be back. Because I lost this round. CMM 1 - me 0. That course kicked my ass... which may explain some of the above. But I'm BQing here next time around... and then never doing it again.
There are better races. Lots of 'em. And frankly, there could be a much, MUCH better one right here in Nash Vegas. Maybe next year. I heard it was actually a lot worse in years past.
Did I mention I got a nice medal out of the deal? (There, I ended positive!)
The 11.2 x 2 is great, but 3 weeks before a marathon may be a bit agressive. Kroger to Kroger is a fabulous training run and does include some of PWP, as well as Old Natchez along the Harpeth River and mansions along Chickering and BMB. Plus there are fluids out every 3-4 miles, waiting for you.
Your CMM review? You mean this? I particularly like your comment, "on a course that is far too hilly". Ha, I'll bet your perspective is different now.
Hey, did you ever post on marathonguide about that one?
(And FYI, I really am gonna post a review of the Monkey one of these days. After the pain fades completely).
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