Good - especially for the first one (about: 2011)|
B. B. from Texas (1/15/11)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Charleston Marathon
I had a very enjoyable race, which helped me BQ and AG again. This was my 26th 26.2, and 24th state, so I guess I know a good race by now, and Charleston was fine, and overall more than the 3 1/2 stars it gets with these rankings - more like 4 to 4 1/2. No one would have known this was their first full - all the details were taken care of and the runners' needs met. It was small and fun, in a great little city. And there are only a few others in January - and I really didn't want to go to Jackson or Mobile (and was glad, since they got hit by the ice/snow last week) and have FL done so Disney was out. I would definitely recommend this race.
Pros: Flat course with only a couple of minor hills; great weather (34 at start with light wind, and it warmed to 46); more than adequate course support, including GUs starting at 20, and plenty of nice volunteers everywhere; closed to traffic streets; no relay (it is so annoying to get passed by speedy guys only running 6 miles); long-sleeve tech shirt and carrying bag; easy to use web page and pre-race emails; free parking at start; lots of good hotels within a 15-minute walk of the start (I stayed at the French Quarter Inn, which I loved); good restaurants every where; Charleston is an excellent destination with a proximal airport, and the expo (also the finishing tent) was on the way in from the airport so it saved a separate cab back out there; expo is small and well organized; bag check worked fine; a few bands on the course to perk things up; excellent finish area with plenty of the food you want, including bagels and peanut butter (a first for me), beer, and shrimp and grits, which I didn't eat since I'm a vegan but others praised, and other food if you bring some cash (plus a good announcer at the finish who read as many names and cities as he could); only $3 to ride bus back to the start; etc. Lots to love.
Cons: I'm not a big fan of point-to-points, but Boston and NYC and other famous ones are, and the course wasn't memorable, and often boring/ugly, several out-and-backs, (but the first 2 miles through the historic downtown were nice, and hey, most of NYC, Chicago, Boston, and most of the other city races I've run aren't that pretty, but what cities have 26 miles of beauty?); very few fans; the half, but that was not really a problem since it wasn't that full and there was plenty of room to run; and the final 10K were final. These are just some picky points, and nothing to stop you from coming.