As usual, I forgot to mention several things in my original recap. Plus, I enjoyed this race so much that I want to devote an entire post to a race review. (Originally, I had planned to reflect on my performance but the review got a bit wordy so I’m saving the reflection for another post.)
This past weekend was one of the best race experience I’ve ever had. Before I get to the rave part of the review, I have just one critique and it has to do with the website. The design could have been much more user friendly, specifically by listing the options for transportation to the start under race day and not at the bottom of the travel page under all the hotels. All the information was available but navigation was a bit tricky.
Now to the good stuff:
After two poorly designed expos (MCM and SF) TCM’s expo had it all. There was a discernible flow down each row that took attendees past all available vendors without too much crowding. The volunteers at the bib pick-up and athlete tracking tables were both competent and friendly. (That won’t be the last positive statement about the volunteers that you’ll see in this review.) Everything appeared to run smoothly. Additionally, the river front location was spectacular. You can’t beat a well-run expo in a gorgeous locale.
TCM provided plenty of options for runners to get to and from the start and finish in this point to point race. Additionally, the new Green Line light rail provides almost direct, cheap transportation to the start and finish lines for spectators.
I don’t know where the announcer was set up but the sound system worked like a charm. Even away from the actual start area I could hear the announcer clearly. He gave prompt updates on time and instructions on entering the corrals.
I loved it. The “Most Beautiful Urban Marathon” moniker is not hype. A huge reason that I wanted to have a positive finish was so that I could soak in all the beauty. From the very urban streets of Minneapolis to the suburban neighborhoods surrounding the lakes, everything gave off an appealing charm I’ve never seen anywhere else. Technically, this course offers plenty of PR opportunities. There are some hills but nothing significant, including Summit Drive which is more of a really long (mildly soul-crushing) incline than a hill.
These people deserve a separate shout out. I saw more spectators per mile than any other race I’ve ever run. Keep in mind, it was in the high 30s and low 40s that morning. People voluntarily came out to the course to cheer and support all the runners. The only portion that didn’t have spectators was part of the massive bridge heading into St. Paul. I’d be hard pressed to find friendlier people on the planet. Seriously.
Two words: Best. Ever.
From the volunteers at the expo to those handing out finishers’ shirts, they all had sincere smiles on their faces. They manned the water stops with such skill you’d think they’d been doing this for years. (Maybe they have!) It’s amazing how far a smile goes.
Unfortunately, I had to return my rental car and get to the airport so I was unable to fully enjoy all that they offered. From what I saw, the “27th mile” moved runners efficiently through to get the medal, water, space blanket, chocolate milk and finishers’ shirt and out to meet family and friends.
I’ll close this entry with a hearty recommendation of the Twin Cities Marathon. If I didn’t want to run all the marathons in all the states (and etc), I’d be back every year if I could.