Decisions, Decisions.

On Tuesday, Colby and I officially found out that we did not get into the NYC marathon through the lottery.

This is my fourth time losing out in the lottery. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone at NYRR knows about all my Red Sox gear. I’m taking it personally.

So, we have spent the past few days (along with our BRF, Diva Cindi) trying to figure out where we are running this fall. Decisions, decisions. Here’s what we have considered. Open to suggestions, comments, recommendations. Our criteria: we would prefer not to have to fly. We don’t like the heat. Doesn’t have to be a major marathon, but we don’t want to go too small. Would like something well run and either local or a place we’d have fun visiting.

1. Chicago Marathon. October 11, 2015. Lottery opens March 10 and closes April 21. Entries announced April 28. I would love to run this race. I want to run this race someday – I just don’t know if this is the year. I have a busy fall ahead and don’t think it is the year for me to fly to a race. Colby feels the same way. I’m wavering on whether to throw my name into the lottery. Fortunately, I have time.

2. Marine Corps Marathon. October 25, 2015. Lottery opens March 13 and closes March 23. I think entries are announced shortly after the lottery closes. Both Colby and I have run this race. We LOVE this race. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We could drive to this one and tear up DC. Lots of positives. The main negative is that we have already run it. I don’t think I’m going to be someone who runs 50 marathons. Do I want to repeat one? Not sure.

3. Baystate Marathon. October 18, 2015. No lottery – you can just register. Registration opened March 1. This one is looking like a strong contender. It is fast and flat. Timing is good. It is in MA, so logistics of getting there are easy. We can head into Beantown for cocktails afterward and I can see my family. Negatives? I guess the main negative is location of the course and the size. We have only run bigger marathons in big cities. Will the support be good? Energy be what we want? I have heard really good things about this race, though, so I suspect the answer to both questions is yes. If anyone has run this, please chime in.

4. Newport Marathon. October 11, 2015. Registration is open – no lottery. Timing and location are good. Should be puuuurty. I have heard glowing reviews of the half marathon, but mixed reviews for the full. It seems like the half might be the bigger race than the full here, and race support could wane as the day goes on. Not sure I want to spend the last 5 miles arm-wrestling for the last cup of water at the stations. Hmmmm. Again – anyone run this? Please give us your thoughts.

Decisions, decisions. But it has been a good distraction from the fact that the Boston Marathon is in 46 days and I am not running enough. Yes, it is snowing and icing. Again. Yes, my kids are home from school. Again. Yes, I will be taking my workout indoors today. Again. Aaargh!  

What has been your favorite fall marathon? Thoughts on the above? Any suggestions for races we may not have thought of? Where the hell should we run this fall????

37 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions.

  1. I’m currently laying in bed drinking coffee watching an incredible amount of snow fall. IN MARCH. I’m also milling around Marathon Sites. My two strong contenders are: MCM and Baystate. The timing is good (October) and we wouldn’t have to embark on an Epic Adventure to get there. It’s not that I’m opposed to Epic Adventures with you, I’d just rather them involve tropical locales and running to the bar for a bucket of beers instead of a marathon.

    Besides, I want to run another ultra and need to sort that out as well.

    I’m pouring myself another cup of coffee.


  2. Those are my top 2 contenders as well. Glad we are on the same page. Might we actually run a marathon together? It would be a first!!! EPIC! Agree that we should save flights for tropical locales – Key West Half, perhaps? And we’ll bring the boys?
    This snow is killing me. “Training” for Boston has been like one long modified taper. Please tell me that I run better on low mileage. Please?

    • Tina.

      I have no doubt you will run Boston swiftly. You are going to be on Cloud 9. Actually, Cloud 10. Is your goal to run Boston for another BQ or PR? Or, is it to run well, enjoy every single second, take in the crowds, high five kids and lose your shit as you turn into Bolyston? This is The Race of Your Lifetime. And I’ll be there screaming my guts out for you. Enjoy it. Soak it in. And don’t stress about missing miles. You’ve earned this.

      • It’s more of a lose your shit race for me. From what I’ve read, you shouldn’t go into Boston expecting a BQ or PR (even though they can happen with the right conditions) because its unpredictable and overwhelming. And starts at a weird time. So I’m in it to soak up the experience. That said, I would not like the experience to involve puking, seizing muscles or failing to finish. Capisce? I would like to enjoy every minute and finish with my head held high. I’m not sure that my lame training will enable me to do that. I’m afraid I might be pained every minute and crawl across the finish.

      • Were we at the same race? I recall having all over shaking, purple lips,residual swelling and hives, and a crazy look in my eyes at the finish. Dignity nowhere to be found.
        But I did finish.

  3. I”m thinking about Chicago because I have qualified. But Sarah (pickyrunner) wants me to do Newport. But that costs $$ to go to. But then again Chicago costs $$ just to run. BAH

  4. I’ve had my eye on the Mount Desert Island marathon (Bah Hahbah, Maine) for a while… supposed to be epic-ly (is that a word?) scenic. Pretty sure someone called it the “Big Sur of the East”. (maybe Big Sur’s pathetic little cousin?). Probably not a super fast course if you’re looking for a super-fly fast time or BQ. October 18 –

    P.S. – I’m sure I can rustle up some sweet trail races for ya 😉

  5. Dang- what a bummer about NYC! NYC and Chicago are on my bucket list, though the idea of a huge marathon kind of terrifies me. Hopefully Boston will cure me of that 🙂
    The Baltimore Marathon is awesome! It maxed out at 5,000 marathons, but it’s a whole festival with other races that day too. The October weather is nice & while crowd support isn’t huge, everyone out there is beyond enthusiastic.

  6. Columbus Marathon is my favorite fall marathon. I like it way better than Chicago. It’s got the big marathon feel without the price tag of a BIG city like Chi-town. Its flat and fast with really great crowd support to the very end! Fun!!!

  7. I second Baltimore based on Baltimore, I haven’t actually run it. I suggest Richmond, which I have run the full once and am planning to run again in 2016. I’ve also run the half four times and the 8K once. Great race, enthusiastic crowds if not huge crowds, and the post-race fun is now on Browns Island. The 5-6 mile stretch outside of the city along the James River is beautiful.

  8. Wow- Baltimore is loved!!! So many rec’s! I couldn’t stuff my face with crab afterwards because I have some allergy issues, but Colby could. And where there is crab, there is usually beer, so we’d both be happy.
    I actually had not heard much about the Baltimore marathon before except I think reading that some guy ran it in flip flops a few years ago? Am I making this up? Now I definitely will check it out. And we would, of course, have to meet up afterward for refreshments.

  9. Baystate is a terrific race, PR’d & BQ’d there last year. Very well organized and managed. They’re serious about the FOR runners, BY runners part. Double loop course is different, as is the fact you’re running in a SMALL shoulder of the road (not all roads closed) at some points. On-course aid just fine. Spectators in certain locations, others not really but some people do go out near their houses or park on side and cheer. There were some fun road markings in areas with less spectators. It’s not totally flat, and there’s usually some wind. They’re focused on helping you get PR/BQ. I love it in part because of the small size. They’re great at answering questions ahead of time. (I blogged about my race experience last year ) Nicole @GrlWhoRanEvrywr will be running it for 5th or 6th time, loves it, blogs about it. I’m definitely considering going back.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! Will go read. I’m ok with small crowds. At MCM, everyone warns about a highway bridge at mile 20-ish because it’s a little uphill and no spectators are allowed. I found it peaceful – go figure.
      And I love myself a well-run race.

  10. Running it in flip flops would be so Baltimore. One of the things I really like about the city is quaintness, weirdness, and outright goofyness is not only tolerated and appreciated but often encouraged.

    Corrected url for Richmond:

  11. I’m going to go out on a limb here, Tina. I’m going to say that you should run for a charity in NYC. I’ve run the race the last two years — 2013 I got in through the lottery and last year I ran for a charity. Running NYC for a charity was the best thing I ever did. Even though I have my own entry through the lottery this year (2 out of 3 years ain’t bad), I hope to raise funds for the charity I ran for last year, although it’s not a partner this year.

    But the reason I suggest you run NYC this year is that you never know what is going to happen in your running career. Career ending injury, family getting in the way, etc. But I feel if you only do one marathon in your life, NYC is the one to do. You can’t understand how well NYRR moves 50,000+ bodies — 40-45 percent first-timers and 40-45 percent international entries — through all five NYC boroughs in a city as complicated and chaotic as NYC until you do the race. 50,000+ runners from over 115 countries — with the assistance of over 2,000,000 spectators — laughing together, suffering together, achieving the impossible together in that epic journey together through all five NYC Boroughs — including through some of the most trouble-stricken neighborhoods — that is the NYC Marathon. Strangers cheering strangers from half way around the world. Mankind — even in difficult times — being united across all five NYC Boroughs. NYC and humanity at its very best. If you never do another marathon after NYC, you’ll be glad to say to your children and grandchildren you were a part of this grandest of grand event.

  12. Hey Newton!! So happy to see you here! Very good advice. I would not hesitate to run for a charity IF I wasn’t already riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. I’m shooting to raise $8K for the PMC already, and the PMC is so, so important to me. As you may know, it isn’t a race, it’s a ride and really is “just” a fundraiser. And such an important one to me. I have very generous family and friends, BUT I don’t think I could take on a second fundraiser unless I was willing just to donate the minimum amount myself. And I’m not. I appreciate your advice, though, because you are right. You never know what the future holds. So I am looking at the NYRR race schedule to see if I can do the 9+1 program this year and be guaranteed for 2016. Thanks again because your words have motivated me to see if I can do this and not have to worry about the lottery next year.
    Aside from Boston, which I have watched a zillion times, NYC is the only marathon that I have ever watched from the sidelines – I used to live right off First Ave. It is an incredible event and you are right – I HAVE to run it. Thanks again for stopping by!

    • Totally get the sentimental value to you of PMC.

      Btw, my dad has a colleague at work who did 9+1 while she was a grad student at Harvard and then when she was working in DC. Don’t know how she managed that. She’s a 7x NYCM finisher.

      I’ve obviously watched Boston from the sidelines. Run up the Newton Hills plenty of times. Just never on Patriots’ Day. I’d love to be able to say I’ve watched the NYC Marathon, and seen just how much the city shuts down during Marathon Sunday. Anyhow, NYC fits my personality much better than Boston — and really any other race — as I can get into the first wave in NYC (finished in the top 4,725 last year) but would be as a non-qualifier in the fourth wave in Boston. I just can’t see myself giving up NYC for Baystate (my best BQ opportunity), Chicago (a better BQ opportunity than NYC but for me similar costs to NYC), Berlin (a better BQ opportunity than NYC but more expensive than NYC), or self-seeded MCM (and I’m from NoVA, too, and still have plenty of family there — including my parents, my sister, and my best friend). I really want to become a NYCM legacy (15+ NYCMs) — even if it means less of a chance to qualify for Boston — and possibly giving up Boston — and a hole in my wallet.

      Anyhow, good luck on the 9+1!

  13. Thanks so much, Newton. I have already started mapping out the races to see which ones would work. It is actually pretty easy for me to get into the city on a Sat/Sun morning, bang out a race and get home to spend time with the Fam. My kids’ sports schedules kill me on weekends, but if I focus on the shorter races, I think I can do it, because with driving + racing, I can still be home by 11 AM at the latest. Plus, the shorter races won’t screw up any training I’m doing for something like the PMC or a fall marathon. Thanks again for getting me focused and in gear. So glad I found the RW Boston forums!! 🙂

  14. I’ve only ever done MCM and while I LOVE it, I can see the draw of wanting to run a new race. I have heard really good things about the Newport Marathon. I would put in for the Chicago lottery and if you don’t get that, run Newport. I’m sorry about NYC 😦

    • It’s a bummer, but hey, that’s what happens with a lottery. I’ll get there someday, one way or another. Thanks for the Newport rec. I love the town of Newport. And isn’t MCM just the best race? I haven’t done a lot of marathons, but I have run a lot of races, and the MCM just does it right.

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  17. I didn’t get into the NYC Marathon lottery either. Waaaahhhhh!

    I ran Baystate last fall and thought it was very well run and a good course. The one thing I didn’t like was that they didn’t close the streets and during the first loop, there were some congested spots when the pace groups took up the entire section.

    I’m running Wineglass this fall and have heard great things about it.

  18. Steamtown! It’s a fabulous race around Scranton PA. Point to point course, 10 miles (yes) downhill and you run thru cute little towns where so many people come out to cheer you feel like a running rockstar. Highly recommend! I just BQed there last year. I also just discovered your blog ( love it!) so if you’ve done or know about Steamtown already I apologize 🙂

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