Nice Course, But Lower Your Expectations (about: 2009)|
A. R. from USA (4/27/09)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Frisco Marathon & Races
A runner's opinion of this race will depend greatly on what he or she expects in return for the entry fee. I'll elaborate by commenting on each of the categories:
Course: It is a beautiful course, almost entirely rural, meandering along an abandoned rail-line-turned-running-trail. It's not quite as flat as I expected, with longer grades at times taking a toll. But nothing serious. The only negative is that the last couple miles detour onto busy streets in Bolivar. I noted that it got a little rugged the last few miles on the trail. A couple runners wished they'd worn trail shoes.
Organization: First the positives. The medal is really nice. Everything flowed smoothly in terms of registration, as well as transportation on the point-to-point course. The food at the end was very good. However, my complaints are not about disorganization, but the lack of things you usually expect from a marathon entry fee of $60 ($70 day of race):
1. The timing consisted of a person with a watch at the end; I felt sorry for first-timers who didn't get to run under a clock. Technically, this is insignificant with the small field, but still....
2. There was no traffic control, which was a big issue on the relatively busy streets in Bolivar because there were no sidewalks in places. I actually ran on a couple of lawns. The course markings were also lacking, and at least one person got lost. There should at least be prominent pavement markings at all intersections.
3. The aid stations were sorely lacking. After you passed the finish line to the 10-Miler (5-mile mark for marathoners), stations consisted of a stack of items sitting on the ground. They weren't even on a table. So you had to stop, stoop over, pour fluids from jugs into small cups, and rummage through for anything else you wanted. I actually missed the first such station because I thought it was just a stack of plastic bags tossed alongside the intersecting road and unrelated to the race. Second, the stations are sparse, with three miles (or a little more) between them. This became a huge issue at the end, as a number of us started to get dehydrated (the day got a little warm). Stopping and stooping will slow you down, and you also feel the need to drink more because it will be awhile before the next chance. As a side note, there were not enough shirts, and locals were asked to go pick theirs up later even if they preregistered. And did I mention there weren't any mile markers?
Fans: On a course like this, you can't expect a lot of fan support. But people from the surrounding area did go out to their yards and roads to cheer, and the families of runners were great.
Again... it depends on expectations. I have been to races nearly half this price that offered more. To be honest, I felt like I could have driven up the course, dropped off my own supplies, and run it myself while saving $60.
But it is a beautiful course, and a nice medal. Hopefully the coming years will bring more bang for the buck.