They say it’s spring

With apologies to Blossom Dearie.

The hunt is on for a spring marathon. Not just a “spring” marathon, but a marathon that takes place sometime between the dates of April 1 and May 1. Before that is too early and after that is not workable for reasons of familial commitments. So, okay, an April marathon. And not just any April marathon. It has to be within reasonable distance of my home (I’ll fly, but not across the country again), be located within the continental US, and not feature insanely unpredictable weather. And not be in danger of being cancelled or moved at the last minute (see also Olathe Marathon, shown below anyway) for weather or other reasons.

Here are my candidates along with the basic pros and cons based on doing research on MarathonGuide.com and Kayak.com. I know there are lots of other marathons listed for April on the MarathonGuide site, but I rejected many of them because they were at high altitude, or trail (meaning non-paved/technical/mountainous) races, or were just too far away from anything to get to easily. In the case of the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, a local Louisville runner whose opinion I respect said on Facebook, simply: “Total shit. Stay far away.” (Actually, she originally said, thanks to the wonders of auto-complete, “Tot shit,” but I knew what she meant.)

I’m not looking for the perfect race. But I am trying to avoid an expensive, arduous and time-consuming waking nightmare if at all possible.

Please don’t suggest anything in May or June, much as you’ll be tempted to! Those months are just not doable this year. The ones in bold are the races I’m favoring. Yeah. Two races.

Thoughts? Discuss among yourselves.

April 3
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
Knoxville, TN
Pros: small (500 people), fairly easy to fly to (although others are easier)
Cons: hilly, weather can be dreadfull (wind, rain)

April 9
State Farm Charlottesville Marathon
Charlottesville, VA
Pros: small (500 people), predictable weather, fairly easy to fly to
Cons: 1600 total climb, reports of bad on-course support

April 9
Garden Spot Village Marathon
New Holland, PA
Pros: very small (250 people), can drive there
Cons: two enormous PR-killing hills, don’t even trust April for weather in PA

April 10
GO! St. Louis Marathon
St. Louis, MO
Pros: larger/more established (2000 for the full), course is challenging but not horribly so
Cons: direct/quick flights, easy to get around

April 16
The OZ Marathon
Olathe, KS
Pros: small (300 people), flat, direct flights to Kansas City then just a half hour drive
Cons: got moved back a week in 2009 due to weather, lots of course issues: roads not closed, bikepath crowded, end of race clogged with half marathoners and walkers

April 17
Earth Day Marathon
Gambier, OH
Pros: small (400 people), fairly flat but for one hill
Cons: could be hot, can fly there but then need to drive for 1.5 hours

April 17
Glass City Marathon
Toledo, OH
Pros: small (500 people), flat, not terrible to get to (fly direct to Detroit, then drive an hour)
Cons: could be hot or windy (as it’s right on Lake Erie)

Okay, what have I missed?

12 Responses

  1. I’m doing the half at Charlottesville and it’s supposed to be an absolutely beautiful course, so I’m going say you should do that one!

    The big one that comes to mind of course is Nashville Country Music…or are you purposely looking for a smaller race?

    • Charlottesville is tempting, but it’s just too damned hilly to run well on (at least for me — I’m not a great hill runner and that one has a total mile climb ove 26.2 miles).

      As for Nashville: too big, too focused on the half marathoners, terrible reviews. And country music gives me hives.

  2. Before I decided to wait until Vermont City last spring, I was thinking about going to either the Athens (OH) or the Ohio River RRC marathon. Both are in early April, on bicycle trails, and very small, although I remember thinking that at 3:20ish there would be someone at least in sight at all times.

    • oh. and I just saw that you rejected trail races. I had assumed that bicycle trail meant paved, but I suppose I don’t know if that’s actually the case.

      • No, if something’s paved, I’m open to it. I just don’t want to be trying to get a PR on dirt, rocks, gravel, etc. Let me amend the post. Thanks for your feedback!

        Nice job holding things together at CIM, by the way!

  3. None of these look terribly enticing, pr-wise anyway. I say do whichever one has the place you haven’t visited before, run it with half a bottle of wine in your belly, and sign up early for poconos/steamtown/mohawk etc.

    • Ha! Good advice. Yes, I’m leaning toward St. Louis (I have no idea why I listed “pros” as “cons” on that one…need to check my notes, which are elsewhere). The plan, such as it is, for fall is to probably run Chicago.

  4. The marathon course for years the Rotterdam Marathon on 10 April and I would go with you to run a fast marathon running pR ;-).
    Unfortunately, that too much to ask of course and when I look at your marathon list then I would go for the New Holland marathon!, As Dutchman I would like to know how Edit Holland looks like ;-).

    I would not be able to advise and sit on your feelings and make it your choice.

    Much good luck and you have cold weather and better voice ;-).

  5. April 2, 2011: the Martian Marathon in Dearborn, Michigan.

    http://www.martianmarathon.com/

    417 people ran the marathon in 2010. It’s a simple out and back along a wide, paved road through a park. Only a few gentle inclines, as this is Southeast Michigan, what I like to call “flatland.”

    I ran the half here in 2009 and PRed in a big way.

  6. I missed that one, Sarah. Thanks for pointing out to me. I’ll look into it. I hope you’re healing up from your recent encounter with the sidewalk.

    • It’s not so much the close encounter of the concrete kind that’s got me wincing and groaning right now, it’s the marathon I ran on Saturday. I’ve got a fresh batch of pain to deal with!

  7. I liked Charlottesville a lot, and found it a lot easier than everyone made it sound. The hills really were NOT that bad at all – more like going for a few loops around Central Park than anything terrible. And it’s a really pretty course.

    What about Kentucky Derby Marathon in Louisville? I PRed there last year.

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