Fun Race (about: 2008)|
R. P. from Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2/18/08)
4-5 previous marathons
| 1 Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon
I'm training for Rome and I'm a local here so I decided to do the full marathon as a training run. There are two great things about this race: 1. Running along the ocean, and 2. The most frequent and best water stops I have seen to date. #1 is self-explanatory... this race has a pretty nice view most of the way, even though you loop around and run along the same course most of the way back.
I can't say enough about the water stops. It was hot and sunny once day broke, so they were very needed, but there was water and Gatorade at or near every single mile post, and I can't thank the volunteers enough for always being so friendly and ready with cups for every runner. That part of the race was a huge success.
My main criticism of the race is that on the last 1.5 miles - the "home stretch" - the race course was full of motorcycles, bikers, skateboards, pedestrians, and - yes - even Segways, who wanted to enjoy their Sunday on the beach, took advantage of the road being closed to cars, and didn't care one bit about the race going on. I suppose the best solution would be to either start the race earlier or use better barriers along that stretch of the course. But being a native here, I know that many people would probably go wherever they wanted anyway, barrier or not. On at least three other occasions during the main stretch of the course between Oakland Park and Atlantic, police motorcycles were using the empty lane right next to the runners and blazed by at 40-50 mph, which was pretty uncomfortable, and I'm not the kind of person that gets uncomfortable easily. Perhaps they can be asked to use a more appropriate speed when riding alongside the runners unless there is an emergency. Otherwise, the police were great and helpful in keeping traffic off the course.
The spectator support was OK... there were a few small groups on every mile clapping and smiling. There were 3 or 4 spectators who took it to the next level and were screaming all-out both times I passed, which was fun. The best was a small group of people who set up a beer stand on the street....
There was practically no entertainment other than a saxophone player and a reggae-guy with a steel drum, but I actually liked the quiet course.
The expo was good, the medal is nice, I really don't like the shirt (gray with tiny writing... for Ft. Lauderdale, you'd think it would be a bit more lively and interesting), and there was adequate food and drink at the finish, with massages, medical support, a good announcer, and a nice crowd. I'm glad I ran this race, and I prefer it over the Palm BeachMmarathon... this race is getting the fundamentals down well, and if it develops a unique personality (there is plenty of it in Ft. Lauderdale) it could be a great marathon.