Beginners and Beyond

12

I am considering my first marathon... (Read 119 times)

cmb4314


    I'd vote for Long Beach.  3000 runners is not that big -  that will thin out pretty quickly and you won't feel crowded.

     

    I don't know that I'd ever want to go through the logistical nightmare that is a mega race like NYC or Chicago, but even running something as big as Twin Cities (limited this year to 12,200 people) I'm not sure I ever felt like the crowds were impeding me other than maybe it being a little crazy at the first water stop.  There were always runners around me, but I always had plenty of personal space and never felt like I had to dodge anyone.

     

    I think that at the times I was hurting the most, having no one around would have made it really depressingly hard.  And I'm someone who is usually a solitary runner.

     

    It is also SO NICE, particularly for your first marathon when you're more nervous, to be able to cook your own dinner, sleep in your own bed, etc. the night before the race.

    My wildly inconsistent PRs:

    5k: 24:36 (10/20/12)  

    10k: 52:01 (4/28/12)  

    HM: 1:50:09 (10/27/12)

    Marathon: 4:19:11 (10/2/2011) 

    MrNamtor


    DON'T TREAD ON ME

      Never ran a marathon but I have run all over chicago and chicago is FLAT. Real flat. Chicago marathon is big, tons of people on the street, it's in the fall and the weather/temp is usually perfect for it. Plus if you want to carbo-load, there ain't NO better place for it than chi-town.


      Bad Ass

        I'm doing Chicago.  Are we going to FE?

         

        Never ran a marathon but I have run all over chicago and chicago is FLAT. Real flat. Chicago marathon is big, tons of people on the street, it's in the fall and the weather/temp is usually perfect for it. Plus if you want to carbo-load, there ain't NO better place for it than chi-town.

        Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

        Blog

        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

          My first marathon was overseas (in Jerusalem, Israel; I live in the Boston area) and very hilly. But I'm crazy like that.

            I would recommend the closer race, but I can't really do that since I've never run my home course. I have run the half though, and it was so nice to roll out of bed and make the 5-minute trek to the starting line. Good luck with whatever you decide. It's your first, so I would go with whatever is logistically easier, so you'll have less to stress about race weekend.

              I would go for small-town, having done one of each so far.

               

              Even though the "big" city race in Cleveland was logistically very smooth, the small-town race in the Adirondacks was just awesome.  I parked for free within .25 mile of the start, had room and time to warm up, got in a last pee 5 minutes before the gun, and was able to go fetch warm clothes immediately after finishing.  It felt like a supported training run rather than a circus.

              MrNamtor


              DON'T TREAD ON ME

                I'm doing Chicago.  Are we going to FE?

                 

                 

                That would be so fun!

                Jack K.


                I love sponge cake.

                  Thanks, everyone. As of now, I think I am leaning towards the one in Long Beach.

                   

                  dark streets: That is a cool web site.

                  T-rod: I haven't even thought of a plan yet. I want to peak at around 50-55 mpw with two rest days a week.

                  2014 races

                  Santa Anita Derby Day 5k - 5 Apr  

                  Mountains to Beach Marathon - 25 May

                    I like races of 500-1,500 or so.  Big enough that you are never completely alone on the course but small enough that you're not dodging people, getting spit on, getting splattered on, etc.  Given a choice between a small race and a big race, I'd almost always choose the small one.  I think one of the things I love about smaller races is the time you spend with other runners after the race in what becomes something of a temporary community.  In large races, you get lost in the sea of humanity and unless you are there with family or friends, are just left to wander around on your own.

                     

                    And, as Shirfan noted, I like parking within throwing distance of the start.

                    Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                    Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                    Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                    ap4


                      Hey Jack,

                       

                      I did Long Beach as my first half in 2011 and am signed up for the full in the Fall.  Overall, it's pretty well organized and flat.  Chip timing with cooler stats, although I thought the t-shirt the last two years was ugly as anything.  The course itself is quite flat and pretty.  The race is local to me, so the drive and am traffic were expected and planned for.  However, the 35 minute port-o-potty wait at the beginning was not.  The parking was within 1/4-1/2 mile of the start.  The half and full marathoners start at the same time, which does make it more crowded at the outset.  You'll be fine as long as you start with your appropriate wave.  There's a  pretty nice aquarium and harbor area within walking distance, which may be nice for the kids.  Let me know if you have any other more specific questions.

                       

                      Damaris- I've done Surf City the last two years and have loved it both times, already registered for 2014.

                      monkkey


                      I admit nothing

                        Has anyone seen this site?

                        http://findmymarathon.com/

                        I only stumbled on it recently, so I'm not sure if its new.  But it has been a nice one-stop shopping for marathons and good for comparisons.  Of course they don't have details for every race just yet.

                         

                        Paso Robles and Long Beach:

                        http://findmymarathon.com/compare.php?compareName1=Paso%20Robles%20Harvest%20Marathon&compareName2=Long%20Beach%20International%20Marathon

                        Not much info on Paso Robles.  But 94 finishers?  That's crazy small.

                         

                        For my first I would probably go with Long Beach.  There are certainly negatives in dealing with the big crowds, but that is part of he experience.  There is something about the energy of the masses and yes even the crowds at the start and finish that is worth being a part of.

                         

                        I like that site for marathon shopping (and it's where I went to find out the size of the races being considered).  I don't trust their calculators though.

                         

                        It's definitely clear in this thread that "small" is subjective when it comes to marathons and 3000 finishers could be considered small or huge depending on your perspective.

                        running Pride Run 5M 6/28, Finger Lakes 50k 7/5

                        Jack K.


                        I love sponge cake.

                          ap4: I am only about 45 min from Long Beach so I would not need a hotel. It is sounding better, though the one in Paso Robles sounds good as well. That one might be "too" small for a debut marathon.

                          2014 races

                          Santa Anita Derby Day 5k - 5 Apr  

                          Mountains to Beach Marathon - 25 May


                          Mmmmm...beer

                            I thought about traveling for my first, but decided to stay local, keep the logistics simple.  Plus, between the Rock n Roll half and the Shamrock half, I have now run the entire course that I'll be running for my full, so that's nice.  I vote for flat and better crowd support (both of which I'll have at my first too).

                            -Dave

                            My running blog

                            2015 Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-37 10k | sub-1:23 HM | sub-3 M

                            ap4


                              ap4: I am only about 45 min from Long Beach so I would not need a hotel. It is sounding better, though the one in Paso Robles sounds good as well. That one might be "too" small for a debut marathon.

                               

                              Plan for it taking an extra hour longer to get to parking race morning than it took to get to the expo the day before.

                              12