Which fall marathon?

TetonYellowstone1 080 225x300 Which fall marathon?

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. The Manchester NH marathon is in early November. Not sure of the date but I know a lot who have done it and say it’s “challenging.” Good luck in your search!
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  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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 :)
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  5. I’m considering Richmond this fall! Glad to hear more about it! If you decide to run it again, would love to meet up!
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  6. 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.

  7. bucks county, pa?

  8. If you can go earlier, Grand Rapids is October 20th and Twin Cities is October 6th, both get good reviews typically.
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  9. Wish I could offer you suggestions but St. Louis isn’t great for running in Nov or Dec!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..HappinessMy Profile

  10. 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

    • 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.

  11. 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).

  12. It’s in October, but what about the Wilson Bridge half? I want to do that one, but it is DC Ragnar weekend.
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  13. 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!
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  14. I decided to go big or go home huh lol. I kind of wish I’d chosen a smaller first marathon, but alas I did it for charity with MCM ;) You could just come with me so I can hop on your back?? ;)
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  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. I would LOVE to see you at Philly!! It’s November 17, not too far to drive to, relatively flat but with some hills (I’m told). Perfect, right? :-)
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  18. 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!
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  19. 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.
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  20. Come to MA!!! The Myles Standish Marathon is in Plymouth, MA on Nov 17th! You can come run with the Pilgrims!!! http://mylesstandishmarathon.com/index.html
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  21. Now you have me thinking of my fall marathon. I love all of your possibilities. There is one out here, a very small race called Malibu Marathon, it is flat until mile 20 and then it’s a few gnarly hills. I know it’s too far, but just thought I’d throw it out there.
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  22. i vote madison!

  23. I’ve heard good things about OBX. Never ran it though. It’s the second weekend in November.

  24. Bucks County simply because it’s new! :)
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  25. I always find it very exciting when checking for races on the calendar. Unfortunately I can’t help with your’s. I’m planning my big races (A goals) until 5 years from now already.
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  26. I hear Richmond is a great race! If you decide to do Bucks County I’d be interested to read the review, seems like it could be a great race, as well.
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  27. I did Richmond last year and also LOVED it somuch that I am doing it a 2nd time. I’m also from Wisconsin so I am biased and think WI is DEFINITELY worth a visit :) Can’t wait to hear what you choose!
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  28. 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.
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  29. Good luck finding the perfect race:) I only know West Coast and you don’t want to go that far;)
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  30. 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

  31. Susie Rocks says:


  32. The most complete list of marathons in the US, in my opinion, is here:


    Happy hunting!
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  33. We’re still deciding also. If you do Madison, maybe we’ll join you:)
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  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. I was wondering if you were going to focus on shorter races or do a fall marathon!
    I like that you don’t want too flat- where’s the challenge in that?!
    I hope you find an ideal race!
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  37. OMG so many races!! You’re running some for me, clearly! ;)
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  38. 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….

  39. I can’t wait to hear which one you decide to go with and more about your summer training plans. Because I’m traveling again so much this summer, I don’t think a fall marathon is a reasonable goal for me this year.
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  40. Don’t forget Honolulu! The first weekend in December. :) I know. It’s too far…
    Dianna on Maui recently posted..Maui Stage Race RecapMy Profile

  41. I’ve never done it myself but I really want to: The Kiawah Island Marathon! It’s just outside of Charleston, SC and the island is GORGEOUS! It’s early december!

  42. Decisions, decisions!
    It sounds like (from your list) Richmond or Bucks County are “it” unless you find another race you don’t already know about.
    Good luck with making this choice! I know the early fee-reduced deadlines are quickly approaching!
    Stephanie@nowirun.com recently posted..I returned to the dark side & a recovery run!My Profile

  43. 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.

    • 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.

  44. The Harrisburg Marathon looks interesting.
    Training for a fall marathon is so much more enjoyable than dealing with winter running.
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  45. 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

  46. 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!
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  47. 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.

  48. 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!
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  49. ooh-let me know what you decide. i’ll be looking for some new states and 1/2 marathons to do then too.
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  50. 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.
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