Hi, I ran my first half marathon in Baltimore, MD a few weeks ago. Though I was very happy with my time, 1:56:13, I did not realize the course was so hilly and I was ready to give up around mile 11. Also, I was told that the Baltimore Marathon is one of the challenging marathon course. My body wants to run a marathon but my mind is telling me that I am crazy. So I wanted to know if anyone knows of any marathon courses that are good for first-time marathoners.
I have also run a couple of half marathons and have been training for my first full marathon. I asked several people in my area who were more experienced in running about a good starter course. The one I heard over and over was the PF Changs Rock-n-Roll marathon in Phoenix (scheduled for Jan. 13, 2008 - http://www.rnraz.com/home.html). The people I talked to primarily gave three reasons: 1) the relative flatness of the course (the course only has a 150 foot elevation change that is spread out over the course of 12 miles); 2) the temperature, which is usually in the 40s at race time but quickly shoots up to the mid 60s; and 3) no humidity.
Hope this helps!
The Marine Corps Marathon was my first marathon, three years ago. If you like cheering crowds and great views, its a good first marathon. And its relatively flat. I ran the Frederick Marathon this spring. It is well-organized by the same folks who administer Baltimore. I really enjoyed it and its an excellent small field marathon. Its hillier than the MCM, but not as hilly as Baltimore.
I agree with your assessment of Baltimore. If it had been my first marathon, I'm not so sure I'd have finished it. Now, however, I look forward to running it one day.
If you're going to be traveling far for your first marathon, make sure to pack all your running gear in your carry-on bag -- you don't want to risk losing your luggage and having to buy new sneakers right before the race! If you travel with gels (depending on where you're going, they can be hard to pick up once you get there), you can stick them in your quart-size plastic bag with the toiletries. If you use sports tape to prevent chafing, you can bring along a nail clipper to cut the tape (since you won't be able to fly with scissors). FYI, I've sometimes had problems with my heart-rate monitor going through the carry-on bag screening machines -- the transmitter conks out -- but sometimes it's been fine. Not really sure what's going on there ...
Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.
I ran the St George Marathon in Utah as my first marathon and I thought it was great. The marathon drops from about 5,000 feet to 2,000 feet over the course of the marathon. The downhill creates a different experience from a flat one, but the views are breath taking, you don't have to try and find your way around a big city that you have never been to and there are only about 5,000 participants. After the marathon Vegas is only 2 hours away or Zion National Park is only 45 minutes away.
My first Marathon was Los Angeles and it was a TOTAL BLAST! Mostly downhill - (Starts at Universal Studios in Laurel Canyon). I lived in New York at the time but wanted something slightly less intense. I'm running Miami this year in January and will probably return to LA in march. Good Luck!
I have to agree w/ theoskaris. The PF Changs marathon in Phoenix is a great one. The weather is perfect, (although a rare 27 degrees at the start last year), and the course is fast and flat. Lots of enthusiasm along the course! They offer a 1/2 as well, so if your training gets interupted, you could always do that. Plus, you can hit anyone of the nearby spas for a little postrun relax!
Thanks to everyone for responding to my question. So far, the PF Chang one is the one I am thinking about but it will not be until 2009 because I am not ready yet. Thanks for the spa recommendation because that was my plan when I run the marathon and also my next half:x
Who here has run the San Francisco marathon? What can you tell me about the course and what might be recommended to prepare with this as a potential first marathon destination?
I ran the SF Marathon this year in July. It was my first. The course is hilly, and for longer than I thought it would be. I think I had heard that it flattened out by mile 15 but I recall wondering when it would ever end. The steady incline up to GG Bridge and another hill after are the hardest, then it is more gently rolling. I trained on hills but still found it very challenging. I am 47 and not a fast runner. I had hoped to finish in closer to 4 and a half but it took me 4:51. But for a first marathon, they say you are supposed to just worry about finishing!
The great thing about SF is that the weather in the summer is almost always foggy and cold. The sun came out just as I was finishing. The scenery is great. It is wet and a little slippery going over the bridge but everyone seemed to love going through the mist.
I would say be sure to train on hills and if coming from out of town, book a hotel room early. I live only 30 miles away but stayed there the night before. Parking will be limited and expensive and the runners in the first wave start at 5:30 AM!
Thanks for the detail on the hills...that's what I was afraid of. I live many many states away so yeah, I would certainly stay DT if I could (SSF if needed) and taxi, BART, MUNI, or whatever to near race location. I have no finish time expectation other than the 6 hour window the course is open. I think I must be crazy looking at this one as my first but that's my goal. I think I've started in enough time to prepare slowly and steady enough.
Please feel free to post more details or info if you think about it or feel up to it. Same goes to anyone else. I need to be just as mentally prepared for this as the physical part.
Well I have decided that I am going to run the marathon between the months of September and November because the training ends in October. Someone told me that if I plan to travel, to make sure I take someone with me just in case of any injuries. I think for my first one I want to stay close to home (within driving distance) so my family and friends could come along.
I just ran my first marathon in October and my family and friends cheered me and my other runners on. Its was very helpful and motivating to have them there. I would recoomend to keep your first marathon close to home. I had a full body massage the next day and I felt great by the end of the week. Good luck on your training! PEEB