Event and Race Reviews
This is a growing collection of Race and Event Reviews. All of these reviews were written by our members and represent each author's experiences and opinions only.
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I agree with Dave... and I too had problems with the mile markers, but in my fuzzy brain, I thought I was the one that was off on my pacing... hmm, that takes my race analysis in a different direction!
I didn't get to my corral until after the horn sounded, and so can't comment and the crowds... but it would have been better if all spectators were asked to line the streets in front of the corrals, not around the corrals. They really did impede the flow just before the start.
I agree with everything that's been said and would even go so far as to say that Detroit really isn't that scary.
However, I want to emphasize the problems with the mile markers and the corrals.
The corrals were very confusing and short on space. I was casually standing on the sidewalk when the race started, a definite first. One of the marshalls held off the next corral in order to let through a bunch of people, most of whom weren't in the corral (3:20 marathoners). I needed to be on the other side of the street in corral L (1:25-1:40). Nothing on the website made it known that the races started parallel to each other.
The mile markers were bizarre. I had no idea whether I was on pace or not. I was, oddly enough, a minute behind pace at 5 miles, about 3 minutes ahead at six miles (where I set a world record), and I didn't see mile markers 4, 9 and 11. It's tough to figure out whether to accelerate, back off, maintain the pace when the mile markers are effectively useless. The meaningful mile markers were 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10 and 12. Having deceptive markers made things worse.
Opinions from 2006 1/2:
All the good elements from last year were repeated, although it seemed there were maybe fewer spectators because of the cold and windy weather.
I felt they really improved the start situation by dividing us up into corrals this year. I personally was never impeded whatsoever, despite over 6000 people all starting together.
Nice tech shirt this year.
The city itself seemed nicer/cleaner/safer this year.
A few mile markers were off by quite a bit.
I think they need to think about getting a bigger hall for the expo. It was pretty jammed this year.
I might try a different fall race next year just for the sake of variety, but I'd again recommend Detroit as one of the better Great Lakes area races, and I'm quite sure I'll run this race many more times.
I totally agree with the above two reviews. Detroit Marathon is a great race and a great route. I came into this race knowing what to expect in Detroit and Windsor, I knew there were some beautiful areas, but this race even exceeded my expectations.
The People Mover downtown is a very easy way to get around for only .50 a trip. However not all stations have access for wheel chairs and strollers.
The Race t-shirt was not nice, a long sleeve yellow cotton shirt. I got XL but it was hugh more like XXL and they didn't let me exchange it.
The Finishers medal was fantastic, well worth the 26.2 miles of running for it. Maybe if they showed me that before I started I would have had a better time
Small bands located at almost every mile if not more. Volunteers were amazing.
5 out of 5 stars. A must do.
- Excellent expo. Short lineups and good deals when we were there.
- Interesting course. It crosses into Windsor during the first half, then snakes back to the start area during miles 11-14. The final few miles are through an upscale neighbourhood with good crowd support.
- Very good overall crowd support. Like most races there are barren stretches, but there are lots of big pockets of spectators and they are very enthusiastic. Also there are many musicians on the course.
- Exceptional aid stations: Probably the best I've ever seen at any race! At least 26 aid stations for the marathon, maybe more. It seemed like they popped up every 5 minutes. Well stocked with water, gatorade, GU gels (at some), etc... Very positive volunteers.
- Fun finish area: You finish inside Ford Field, and there is an overall festive atmosphere inside the stadium.
-The city: This would probably rank as one America's top four or five marathons, except that Detroit is just not really a tourist-friendly city right now. Hopefully the Super Bowl this year might spark some civic rejuvenation.
- The freebies: For the US$85 entry fee I would have expected a better shirt and maybe more food at the finish line. It wasn't bad, but maybe not up to par with the rest of the excellent organization.
- Elevation profile: It is a fast course and flatter than most races. However some of the promo material makes it seem that it is pancake flat other than the bridge and tunnel, and that's not entirely true.
Overall I would say this event is as well organized as any race I've ever done.
Dave came up with the idea to do this race after reading good reviews on Marathonguide.com. We registered for this race expecting a flat, well-organized, not very scenic race. I didn't really expect to be disappointed by anything, and I also wasn't really expecting anything terribly impressive. HOWEVER this is a great race! The organization was superb- aid stations at, I would guess, every mile! The expo ran like clockwork, and it was central. The pasta party was really yummy and was held in a real restaurant. The novelty of running across an international border twice (bridge first, TUNNEL second) was cool. The race was quite flat- the bridge was obviously an incline, as was the road leading out of the tunnel, and there were a few very small bumps. Nothing major though. The last 12K or so is actually very beautiful as well- around a park called BelleIsle (reminded me of Centre Island) and through this gorgeous ritzy neighbourhood. The only thing that was a bit annoying in the last half was seeing relay runners sprinting past me on their fresh legs. Many races have relays though, and I did know about it- it still sorta sucked though. The race finished ON THE 50 YARD LINE at Ford Field! It was really, really cool to run onto the astroturf of the field and see myself on the jumbotron (even though the ramp down to the field was actually quite steep- not cool at the end of a marathon). Also I was happy to have somewhere warm to hang out after I finished.
The post-race food would probably appeal to a lot of people (Whole Foods brownies, bananas, oranges, cookies and organic Yop). However I didn't feel like eating and I just wanted a tasteless, boring bagel that I could force down and know it wouldn't upset my stomach. This was NOT there so I hit a Subway on the way home instead.
If you've done all the fall races around the GTA/Ontario and you're looking for a great, fast race, this is an excellent choice. Detroit is maybe the scariest city I've been to (definitely in North America at least), but as an event I would say this marathon is awesome. The Detroit Marathon is probably the same size as Ottawa (about 5000). And in fact, it comes very, very close to being as great as Ottawa. In many ways (crowd support, aid stations) it's better, but the NCM just has such a great race atmosphere, and of course it's so beautiful. Anyway, I think more Maniacs should consider it for next year!