Overall: Good Race. I probably won’t do it again… but never say never.
Expo: I did not make it in time for the Expo, so can’t comment on that. It is GREAT that the race mails your bib to you ahead of time. Take advantage of that if you won’t make it to the expo. I also heard from my friends that did go the expo that they met Bart Yasso and sat through his pep talk…I was jealous of that!
Race Tips: You will not need to pack your own hydration for this race. This race had the BEST organized support stations that I have ever seen. Water and Powerade ever 2 miles until Mile 20, then EVERY MILE after that. They were well stocked and never ran out of anything. There is dry and wet towel stations at two mile markers toward the end of the race. “Junk Food” stations at Mile 17 and 22. Also Gu along the way. That said, you may want to train with the nutrition they use if you choose to shed the fuel belt.
Course / Elevation: Someone told me that Richmond was relatively flat… I should have asked “relative to WHAT?” It. Was. NOT. Flat! No giant hills but rolling hills. Then of course there’s the infamous “hill” at Mile 19. I think to call it a hill is being generous – it’s nothing but a slight incline onto an overpass but at Mile 19, it might as well have been Mount Everest. I was well prepared for it so I ran up it, no prob… but everyone I passed was walking. I lost my running partner on this hill… Bottom Line: DO HILL WORKOUTS.
One more thing. The finish line is at the bottom of a pretty steep hill. I guess it’s good to finish down hill – but DANG, it was a sharp decline for Mile 26… My knees actually hated that downhill finish. BE CAREFUL if it’s the same course. You will be inclined to spring down that hill but you may risk injury. I had to slow myself down about halfway down the finish stretch.
Logistics: BOOK THE HOTELS EARLY! I tried to book the hotels 6 to 7 months in advance and the hotels were completely booked. I ended up in a hotel about 7 miles from the start line. It actually worked out well because the parking wasn’t too terrible at the start. A couple of tips:
- HOTELS: Check a week or two before the race. A running friend did and booked the hotel right at the start line – which was great. We hung out in her room until 10 mins before the start and used the nice, warm restroom in her room instead of porta-potties.
- PARKING: If you stay a little ways from the race, do not fear. Race day morning, drive in and park in garages about 3 blocks NORTH of the starting line. We did that and had no problems but saw the traffic jam of cars completely stuck in the road about 1 block or so from the starting race route.
Anything Else? This Marathon is termed the “Friendliest” Marathon. And it was friendly. But I was told by another runner that had ran previously in Richmond that the spectators weren’t out in full force because it was freakishly cold (read: Polar Vortex) this time around.
They put the runners in “waves” but it’s all one start. Meaning, no separate gun starts for each of the waves – which was great because you didn’t have to wait, standing around in the cold, to start 50 mins after the actual start time.
The stretch along the River… Gorgeous. If you do run this race, enjoy that stretch 🙂