Which fall marathon?

Which race is the right race?

Which race is the right race?

Ok, it’s pretty funny that after my last post I am going to talk about a fall marathon, but it’s my blog, so I’ll talk out of both sides of my mouth if I want. ;  )

Anyhow–I had plans to run a 50k this November, not a marathon. But I had also assumed that my March marathon was going to go well. Since it didn’t, I have decided to continue on my never-ending quest to improve my marathon time before I’m in a nursing home. Plus, while I have a Boston time for next year, I wouldn’t mind moving up a corral. So a fall marathon it is.

But which one is the question. A few parameters:

  • Because of the way I’m going to train this summer (more on that later) I probably need something in the mid-Nov. to early Dec. timeframe.
  • I’d prefer the course be within driving distance, but I’m open to a not-too-long flight for the right race.
  • While I don’t want something Big Sur tough, I’m not sure I want pancake flat, either. Something fast but not necessarily just flat.
  • The first weekend in Nov. is out of the question.
  • I want something small- to medium-sized–no big “event” races with thousands upon thousands of people.
  • I’d welcome a race I haven’t done before.

A few that I am considering at this point:

  • Richmond–I’ve done this one twice, so not overly thrilled to do it a third time, but I love this race. My PR is here, it’s a perfect size (around 3,000 for the marathon?) and the weather is generally a safe bet.
  • Rehoboth Beach–First weekend in December. I know and like Rehoboth and it’s not a very long drive from here. Drawbacks–I’d prefer not to be racing into December and Rehoboth is flat.
  • Bucks County–This is a pretty new race and also pretty small. But the timing is good and I love Bucks County.  I think it might be an out-and-back course, though, which doesn’t excite me.
  • Madison, Wisc.–Probably the one I’d least likely do because of the distance, but the timing is good and I’ve always wanted to visit Madison for some reason.

What races am I missing for November or early December? Philadelphia isn’t on my list, by the way, because I’ve done it a couple of times and it’s getting really big, which is a turnoff. I’m open to suggestions–anyone know of any hidden gems I’m overlooking?

Thanks for your input.

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  1. says

    It’s funny how one is always looking for a new race to run, this marathon has to be better than the last… I’ve run almost every race Cape Town has to offer and only look at running other marathons if I’m going overseas. (Next Year!) So while I might run the odd half a day away and make a weekend of it, if the marathon was there the field would only be a couple of houndred.

    I guess you guys in the US have more than enough marathon around to keep looking up new ones… I hope you find the perfect race.
    Coach Dion recently posted..SA Champs Jonkershoek 2013My Profile

  2. says

    AGHHHHHHH! Rehoboth and Richmond are BOTH on my short list right now!! I think I will end up scratching the Wineglass in early Oct b/c its only 10 wks after IM. I want to train hard and right for this one. Which means the 50 miler is going to get put on hold. Like you, I have unfinished business with the marathon. LET’S DO THE SAME ONE! =) =) =)
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..NJ Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  3. says

    I have family in Madison and my guess is that it will be a “cold” one that time of the year. I have run Indianapolis Monumental races for two years in a row the first weekend in November and both years they’ve been fairly cold and with Madison about 6 hours north of me, I’m assuming it will be a notch colder as anything Chicago and north of me usually is. Like ear wrap/hat cold. I like cool weather for running, but I ran that marathon a couple weeks ago here in 35 degrees and I wasn’t thrilled with that, even though I had trained all winter. I was hoping more for 45-50 :)
    Christina recently posted..Fitness bicycling as cross trainingMy Profile

  4. says

    I am doing the Veterans Marathon in Columbia City, Indiana, which is Nov. 9. It’s probably not worth airfare but it is a very small local race that is well-run and friendly. I am excited that the finish line is so low-key that my son should be able to cross with me no problem.

  5. says

    I was hoping you would be looking for a flat one in October so you could do Baystate. :) I wasn’t planning on doing a fall marathon either, but now am spending time finding one. Schedule-wise, mine has to be in October so Baystate will probably be my choice. Looking forward to hearing about you crushing your marathon PR this fall.
    Robin recently posted..My Boston Marathon ThoughtsMy Profile

    • MJ says

      Would love to hear about your Baystate experience – it’s on my “possibles” list for a future marathon once I get back to those – working down my half time right now.

  6. Corey says

    Rehoboth is truly a gem. If you want a challenge, try to run a negative split in Rehoboth (check out results to see how rare that is).

  7. says

    Well, I am doing Philly on Nov. 17, but I don’t think that fits into your “small” race category. It does for your course though and time frame.

    My suggestion, out of the ones you are looking at in Bucks County. I think that is a beautiful area and should be a good race.

    Good luck with your decision!
    Nicole@RunningWhileMommy recently posted..Running For FunMy Profile

  8. says

    Fast and Flat, good one up here in Toronto. Sotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, though I’m not sure it’s soon enough for Boston 2014 (if that’s an objective). Glad to hear you are going at it again….awesome…
    Robin recently posted..Mississauga Marathon 2013My Profile

  9. Melinda says

    Well it’s in October, but I do want to mention the Towpath Marathon in NEO. It runs through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and it is absolutely gorgeous that time of year. It’s a smaller race and is nice and flat.

  10. says

    I don’t really know any races in your neck of the woods to suggest. If I were you I would go with your first two choices. I know that you have ran Richmond twice already, but your PR is there and you know the course. I would like Rehoboth because you wouldn’t be doing a lot of your long runs in super hot summer weather. However, you might have to deal with snow which is never fun. The reason why I picked CIM a couple of years ago was to avoid summer marathon training.

    Super tough decisions!
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Should I have said something?My Profile

  11. says

    Personally I have not run these marathons but I’m also on the hunt for a marathon Nov/Dec these two have caught my eye and nearby :)
    -Harrisburg Marathon, PA- (Nov 10) (same weekend as Richmond)
    Its a mostly flat course but the catch is the surface is macadam and fine gravel trails and some asphalt.
    -NCR Trail Marathon, MD- (Nov 30)
    Its also a mostly flat course with some asphalt and then trail surface is dirt and fine stone.
    Holly recently posted..For The Love of RunningMy Profile

  12. says

    Since I am a far distance from you I can’t recommend anything near you. But if you want to travel to the southwest let me know. I may run the Duke City Marathon in October (boring course, not many runners, but it’s where I live) and am considering the Tucson Marathon in December.
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

  13. says

    I’ve heard Richmond is a really good race, it’s definitely on my list! Depending on how well I recover from Wineglass marathon in the fall I might consider doing Richmond as well to knock another state off my list!
    Laura recently posted..Commuting/Adventure RunningMy Profile

  14. says

    I was doing the same analysis not that long ago, and wound up sucking it up and picking a late October marathon that was a bit easier to travel to and let me also pop out of the country for a few miles. Good luck with your selection!
    Mandy recently posted..Flying Pig RecapMy Profile

  15. Lori Connors says

    Soldier Marathon in Columbus, GA on Nov 9. About 1200 folks run….well supported and an awesome course. A few hills in the beginning and then paved bike trail along the river walk.

  16. Mona says

    It doesn’t meet your criteria for driving distance or not-too-long flight:(….but I’m running the Santa Barbara marathon on November 9th. Not hilly and pretty course….

  17. MJ says

    I’ve only done the Richmond half so far, and am again this year but seems like the full would be pretty good. (disappointed that it’s the weekend AFTER Veteran’s Day this year, a week later)

    If you wanted mid-late October, I’d suggest Indianapolis at Lawrence – small, nice course (part through state park), was well organized the years I was there.

    • MJ says

      Forgot – Madison’s a great place to visit. I jumped into a 10k there one weekend and it was a lot of fun. Hard to see going wrong with that one.

  18. says

    I see someone else also recommended these, but Harrisburg or NCR. My hubby has done both, and since you’ve done NCR, I won’t say anything else about it. Harrisburg was great as a spectator and the beginning and end are very scenic, but there are some hellish parts around miles 16-19 or so.
    Kim recently posted..The Grey Areas of For-ProfitMy Profile

  19. says

    I don’t know as much about the races over there…I am running the MCM this year but that one is a pretty big one! However, I bet they still have some charity spots left…. Good luck in your quest! I know how you feel about wanting to always have another race on the calendar!
    Travel Spot recently posted..I Will…My Profile

  20. Kaitlin says

    I know this is a little late, and I’m not sure exactly what area you’re looking at, but I did the Chicamauga Marathon right outside of Chattanooga, TN, last year and loved it. It runs through the Civil War battlefield, it’s in a national park, there are rolling hills, and pretty small but well-supported.

  21. says

    so many people are not voting for the ones you listed! lol. i vote madison. sounded like it had the least “cons” to me. :) i may be too late for my vote to even count… i’m jealous and wish i could be planning a fall marathon!
    lindsay recently posted..An Update and a GiveawayMy Profile

  22. says

    I have run the Madison Marathon 2 times and been apart of the relay races an additional 4 times. If you are interested in more info on Madison, I would be more than happy to share my experiences on them. I think I have a few race reports about Madison on my blog somewhere too.
    Bill recently posted..Thursday Night Long RunMy Profile

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