Event and Race Reviews
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Waterloo Marathon/Half Marathon
I agree with the other posters comments. The rain had a negative effect on the day, but having to go inside to get your finishers medal was very anticlimatic. And no water at the finish area was crappy too.
The course in general I found interesting, I liked the idea of 2 loops for a marathon, I will look for other races like that. Although the second loop after the Half marathoners finished I felt "very unsafe". There were only about 80 marathoners so we were pretty spread out, the course wasn't blocked off, many of the cars coming from behind did come dangerously close in my opinion. Even on the hilly party where there were fewer cars I was being brushed off.
The volunteers at the water stations were excellent, cheerful and halpful on a crappy rainy day.
I won't do the full here again on this course, maybe the half, but not likely, I'll go to another race.
Having said all this I did end up having a very successful race though.
I agree that taking down the booths and stuff while marathoners were still finishing was a bit callous. I liked the look of the course, but it's definitely not flat. I probably wouldn't do it again, mainly because it wasn't that much fun. There wasn't an "event" vibe about it IMO. I felt so bad for the marathoners who crossed the line and saw basically nobody. Part of that was the rain, I'm sure, but still a bit anticlimactic.
The post race food was pretty standard stuff: bagels, granola bars, juice, bananas, coffee, etc... People seemed happy with it.
The only negative in that regard was that they started disassembling the recovery area at around 2:00 (only 4 hours into the full marathon).
(These comments are for the April 2006 running of this event.)
This is a pretty small event in Waterloo, Ontario (southwest of Toronto).
- Excellent start/finish venue. A big, clean sports complex with plenty of washrooms, showers, room to move around. Lots of free parking.
- $45 entry fee for both the half and full, even on raceday.
- Volunteers at the aid stations were real troopers in the rain.
- Cool ceramic medals.
- Fairly scenic course. Mostly rural, with long stretches along the Grand River.
- Not really a fast or flat course as the website suggests. Nothing wrong with a challenging course, but they could be a little more forthright.
- Cotton t-shirts. Again not a big complaint, but technical fabric shirts are becoming so common at races...
- Not a truly closed course. Runners basically use the shoulder of rural roads. I would have liked a few more pylons or something to keep cars further away.
- Poorly marked course. There were several intersections without any directions. If I hadn't had other runners in front of me I wouldn't have known where to go. The course is a 21.1K loop that the full marathoners do twice. Shockingly, there was not even a small sign to direct the half marathoners one way to the finish and the full runners to continue, and it was not obvious to the untrained eye. I saw at least one full marathoner take a wrong turn and add at at least 700 or 800m to his race.
Overall I'd recommend this race to local runners or people who like very small "grass-roots" races, but I probably won't do it again myself.