Fall Marathon: What to do…

There are some decisions in life that are hard. What college to accept admission to. What you want to be when you grow up (I’m still making that one). Chocolate, vanilla or twist? To me, picking a marathon is one of these type of decisions.

I pick my races carefully for a lot of reasons.

They’re expensive: No one warns you when you start running that it’s pricey. In fact, most people run because it’s cheap. At first. Then you register for a local race or two, and it gets a little more expensive. Then you take it more seriously, get better gear, but real running sneakers, Then you sign up for a race out of state. Add flights (always jacked up for race weekend), hotel (ditto),  travel expenses and a couple vacation days in there. All of a sudden, that $150 registration fee turns into $1,500.

Training is time consuming: Marathon training takes over your life. There’s no other way about it. Yes, you can still go out and be social. Yes, you can work it around all of your other commitments, but at the end of the day, something is going to get sacrificed for you to train well. There’s a difference between training and training well.

Physical demands: Some marathons are easier than others. This is just a fact. They’re all different, and some will take a bigger toll on your body than others. If you’re going to race in Denver, you need to remember that you’re going to be at an altitude, train accordingly. Running Boston? Don’t forget the hills. Death Valley? Well, you’re just a crazy person and I don’t think we can be friends. Either way, you’re training is going to get shaken up and you’re going to have different physical symptoms during training at points because of it. Plan accordingly.

When I picked my first marathon, Chicago was the shockingly easy choice. No other race really came close. I wanted a Major. It’s a marathon, the rest of the world should view this race like the big deal I do. I also wanted great crowds, a city I had never been to and (most importantly) as flat a course as possible. Chicago fit all this and more. Done and done.

I'm coming back one day. I promise.

Because that race went so well and was everything I was hoping and more, I learned to love marathons and want to race them all. But to race them all at different times, for different reasons.

Which leads me to my current problem: Marine Corp Marathon or Amica Marathon in Newport, RI. As usual, I’ve made a pro and con list. Review, and please advise.

Marine Corp:

–       Pro

  • My grandfather and uncle were Marines. Sentimental value
  • I’ve heard amazing things about the crowds at this race.
  • Good course through DC, brings you past all the sights

–       Con

  • Outrageously expensive to travel there for race weekend
  • Halloween weekend, which is one of my favorite weeks here at home


Newport Marathon

–       Pro

  • Close to home (limited travel expenses)
  • Newport is BEAUTIFUL
  • Family and friends would be there
  • Rated #2 Marathon in the country in 2009

–       Con

  • Not sure what the crowd turnout is like
  • Also has the half marathon same day, which I’ve heard mixed things about races that offer both on the same day.


These are my lists. Marine registration opens tomorrow, and it usually fills up in less than 36 hours. I need your help and I need it now. Please and thank you.


Have you ever been so torn between two races? How did you pick?


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