Our Favorite Fall Marathons

Marathons used to be all about achieving a specific race time. However, after hitting a few goals (Boston and a few PR's), we started to look at marathons (and races) as a chance to see new places and accomplish more than just time goals. Below are some of our favorite marathons and race locations

New York City (Meghan and Jessica) - People say this race is the largest live spectator event in the world and it feels like it the entire 26.2 miles. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Right from the start helicopters are hovering as you cross over the Verrazano Bridge and as soon as you touch ground in Brooklyn, the crowd is screaming for you and it doesn't stop until you exit Central Park after the finish line. In addition to the amazing spectator support, the course keeps you engaged winding its way through so many different parts of this iconic city.

Buenos Aires Marathon (Meghan) - 26.2 miles takes you throughout the city - from the historic areas of San Telmo and Boca to Recoleta and the port area. The crowds are supportive, there's plenty of water and the cityscape can't be beat. I had been to Buenos Aires before but seeing it on foot and in the early morning was amazing and one of my favorite memories of all time. Plus, your recovery includes meat and red wine!

Ragnar Colorado (Meghan) - While this wasn't a marathon, it's on our list because it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever run. We ran from Breckenridge to Snowmass, covering nearly 200 miles between 6 of us. I ran along Dillon Lake, at 9,000 feet, along I90 in the middle of the night and on beautiful trails in the early morning. I trained hard for this race, coming from zero elevation to 9k! It was a strength and endurance test that was totally worth it because of the landscape and trails. 

Richmond Marathon (Jessica) - Big is not always better. I learned this when I ran the Richmond Marathon after the Boston Marathon. Unlike Boston and other large races which require several hours of waiting and transportation logistics to get to the start, Richmond was a breeze. All in all, it took about 10 minutes to get to the start and begin running. There's something quite luxurious about that. There were also moments during the race along the river where it was beautiful and quiet. This was inspiring in its own way. Don't discount the smaller marathons. They are just as much fun and equally rewarding and unique.

Chicago Marathon (Jessica & Meghan) - Catch us running this marathon as coaches for Team Fox this year! We have a feeling it will be a favorite as well mainly because helping people accomplish their marathon goals on the course is pretty awesome. Want to make your marathon experience even more powerful? Team up with your favorite charity to raise funds for a cause that is meaningful to you.

Marathon Reflections

I completed my 12th maraton on Oct 5th. I use the word "completed" because I am thrilled to have finished it. I'm battling a weird hamstring injury, I moved and changed jobs about 6 weeks before the marathon. My mind was not in marathon mode! I wanted to attempt the race because you never know what's going to happen on marathon day. I set 3 goals and I told myself that it's okay if I don't finish -I didn't want to risk long term injury.

I spent the week before the race resting and icing. I foam rolled, I got a massage and I gave my hamstring a lot of TLC. It was feeling better but the nagging sensation didn't go away. I wasn't sure my hamstring would last 26.2 miles.

Race morning arrived and my friend and I got to the start, hugged and wished each other luck. This is the first race I've ever started thinking I might have to bail out. I hooked up with the 3:30 pace group and hoped to hang on to that time. My training runs put me at a faster time but my leg wasn't making it through long distances so I decided to back off early.

I felt good until mile 11.5. At that point, we got stopped by a train (yup! only in Portland, Oregon will your race be stopped by a train!) and then began a slow, gradual hill. It's one of those where you don't quite realize you are on a hill until you see it on a map. My hamstring did what it had been doing at mile mile 15-18 in my long runs - just kinda stopped working. It doesn't seize up, cramp or feel sore; it feels like I'm running in mud.

At this point, I didn't think I was going to finish. I kept giving myself distance goals - just get to the bridge and then you can stop; just get to mile 18 and you can stop. Just get to mile 21. Jessica jumped in with me at mile 21 and helped me push through those last 5 miles. They were slow but i kept plugging along. I had to let go of my ego and say, I'm happy and proud to finish this marathon - regardless of my time.

The fans, especially my fans, motivated me and helped keep me going. I am so happy that I finished; that I didn't quit and kept plugging along. In my situation, I knew my hamstring and the sensation well enough to know that I wasn't causing more damage. If I felt that I was going to strain my hamstring and cause more damage, I would have stopped. Having support and "coaches" surrounding me with encouraging words helped push me through my mental barriers of "I can't keep going".

I learned a lot more from this marathon than the marathons when I BQ'd or PR'd. I learned that it's okay to change your goals and sometimes a finish is the best thing you could have ever imagined.


Fall Marathon Guide

by Elizabeth Eckhart

While some may associate cooler weather with indoor workouts, distance lovers know that fall is actually prime time for running a lengthier workout. Which is why many of the world’s top marathons take place between October and January. Besides that cool autumn breeze being safer for runners − some oddly warm fall days in past years have had catastrophic results − committing to a end of year marathon means your summer workouts are driven by a tough but worthy goal. Plus, once you’ve finished, you can feel free to indulge in a slice of pumpkin pie, or any other holiday treats that are sure to come your way. Below, we’ve picked out some of the most fun fall and winter marathons. If you’re not participating in any this year, be sure to check in on the races − most sports packages will cover the major marathons (click here for channel info). Then, start planning your own marathon outing for the 2015 season!

Bank of America Chicago Marathon: This famous marathon has been held annually for an impressive 30 years, and will be taking place this year on October 12th. The race is capped at 45,000 registered runners, a number that is generally reached well over half a year before the race day. Since it’s a city marathon, Chicago’s course is flat and fast, meaning that many record-setting times have occurred on the cement terrain. Moses Mosop of Kenya won the 2011 race, setting the record at 2:05:37, and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia has clocked in at 2:18:20 (although her credibility as an athlete has been called into question).

Polar Circle Marathon: If you’ve never been to Greenland, participating in this marathon will show you that the country is most decidedly not green − at least not where you’ll be! This is one of few arctic races, which prides itself on polar landscapes and ice sheet ground. The course takes place primarily on a gravel road (though chances are the road will be hidden beneath a few layers of snow) in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, just north of the Polar Circle.

TCS New York City Marathon: Like Chicago’s course, New York City shows off some stunning skyline views and a variety of the cities interesting neighborhoods in all five of the boroughs between the start and finish lines. The first Sunday of November is always “Marathon Sunday,” when over 2 million New Yorkers head out to support the athletes attempting the race. The race attracts over 100,000 applicants, of which 45,000 are chosen based on qualifying times, charity support, and lottery.

Marathon Des Alpes: This marathon, also known as the French Riviera Marathon, is a race which has shockingly only been held for four previous years. This year’s fifth event, however, has already surpassed an impressive 12,000 runners who are registered and willing to run through the famous seaside towns and gardens. Besides picturesque villages, runners will also be delighted to see the Nice Phoenix Park, filled with peacocks, ostriches and even exotic fish. They will also run past the Mediterranean Sea, the chateaux and villas of Cap d’Antibes, and much, much more!

Bagan Temple Marathon: “Adventure Marathons”, such as the Polar Circle Marathon, offer some of the most unique and stunning views, and the Bagan Temple Marathon is no different. This race is in central Myanmar, within the ancient site of Bagan, which is home to more than 2,000 temples. The course also winds through smaller villages, offering a look into both the ancient culture and current lifestyles of Myanmar residents.

Honolulu Marathon: Though the Honolulu marathon takes place on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is still one of the ten largest marathons races in the world. The race attracts 25,000 annual runners who are led around a volcanic crater, Diamond Head, and Kapiolani Park. Runners will also run by Iolani Palace and Kawaiahao Church - two of Honolulu’s proudest tourist attractions.

No matter which marathon you choose, local or international, lace up your shoes and complete that training, since it won’t be long before the chill air turns too brisk even for the most dedicated athletes!