Excellent First Time Marathon (about: 2002) Course: 5
A Runner from Sterling, VA (12/9/02)
This was my 1st Marathon. It was a great experience overall. Terrific fall weather. Scenic in terms of foliage, rivers, and quaint neigborhoods. Essentially flat, except for slow rise to cross bridge at mile 16. Very well organized. Good crowd support for a mid-size marathon, but it did thin out in many places. Only complaints were (1) pro-life demonstrators was totally inappropriate (showed aborted fetus pictures); (2) Ultima is tough to drink. Ok at first, but gets worse the more you drink;(3) T-shirt is thin and did not take well to washings.
Would recommend this race to anyone and I will run again in future.
Great Course--Lose the Ultima (General Comments) Course: 4
A Runner from northern va (12/8/02)
This was my 3rd marathon and despite my personal racing strategy mistakes (feeling great at the beginning and going out WAY too fast...) it was very enjoyable. My one complaint is the use of the Ultima replenisher. I much prefer something with some sugar in it, like Gatorade. Next time I run a race with Ultima as its drink, I will carry my own gatorade. During this race, I stopped at 7-11 in around mile 17 to pick up some gatorade, and it made the race much better.
However, the course, with its river views, neighborhood trots and beautiful and colorful fall trees was great. I would recommend this marathon to others.
Also of note, the pro-life protesters at 2 locations during the race were definately NOT appreciated. Interestingly enough, the second time they displayed their lies (around mile 20) the runners treated them to a lot more heckling.
Scenic, friendly big marathon alternative (about: 2002) Course: 4
A Runner from Fairfax, VA (11/28/02)
After having tried Virginia's other well-known marathons (Virginia Beach & MCM), I found the Richmond race to have its own unique qualities. Runners are greeted with fans along most of the way and a fairly scenic course aside from some gritty, bare city areas. Being sub-3:30, I didn't suffer the congestion of the slightly slower packs or the late race lack of Cliff shots. Every aid station had a variety of choices especially late in the race when it was so crucial and the organization was great from start to finish: packet pickup, aid during the race, and food afterwards. Aside from the abortion protestors and the wind on the overpasses, it was a race I'd be glad to run any day.
Good race course, good support (about: 2002) Course: 5
A Runner from Oak Hill, Va. (11/14/02)
I ran the 2002 Richmond marathon and had a very good experience. The race course is scenic and fast, I had a PB. While the crowds are not as large as other races, they are very supportive. The race organization sponsors 'block parties' to maximize the impact of the fans that do come out. With 20 bands and multiple cheerleader squads along the course the support you get is above average. Holding the race in mid-November is risky weather wise, but this year it was a beautiful day, in fact, was actually too hot by the finish.
Organization was good, very good communication and instructions for runners. The one minor flaw was there was not enough GU available for the runners from the middle-of-the-pack on back. Improve on this 1 item and there isn't much to complain about.
It was the first time I ran Richmond but enjoyed the experience more than some of the larger races.
well-organized race on an interesting course (about: 2002) Course: 4
A Runner from Frederick, Maryland (11/13/02)
Overall, I enjoyed the race and my comments regarding the course and spectators are similar to those made by others. I don't know if the field was larger due to this being the 25th anniversary of the race, but at my pace (around 4:30) the crowd never really thinned out. I think that this was largely due to the fact that on many portions of the course only one lane of the road was closed (traffic cones were used as barriers). This combined with parked cars made for a pretty crowded running experience - especially when encountering groups of two or more Galloway run-walk style marathoners.
I don't think that this reflects on the race organizers, but do think that it's worthy of mention that there were pro-life demonstrators at two different points on the course. They displayed extremely large color photos of aborted fetuses. I've only run seven marathons but had never seen a race used as a vehicle for demonstration like this before. The pictures were so graphic and horrible that they gave me nightmares and did kind of put a damper on what was otherwise a good experience.
Great race!! Highly recommended! (about: 2002) Course: 5
A Runner from Virginia (11/13/02)
This was my fourth marathon and my first Richmond marathon and I can't wait to come back again in the future!! The course was excellent - very flat and fast - and the race had a great crowd despite having a smaller field. I would strongly recommend this race to both experienced runners looking for a PR and to first timers looking for a great marathon experience.
friendliest marathon indeed! (about: 2002) Course: 5
A Runner from Seattle (11/12/02)
They bill themselves as the 'Friendliest marathon'. I don't know, but they were friendly and well organized. Crowd support is top notch. Beautiful scenery. Beware that this course is subtly tough, no big hills, but probably 15-16 miles is a barely noticeable uphill which gets you after awhile. Also, this year, we dealt with 10-15 mph wind. Not good for dehydration. The post-race food is AWESOME. Do this race! You won't be disappointed.
If you want amenities, this is it! (about: 2002) Course: 4
A Runner from Knoxville, TN (11/12/02)
I can't say enough good things about this marathon. Overall, it was simply 'the best.' From the man handing out stickers at registration that read 'America's Friendliest Marathon' to the abundance of pizza at the finish line, this was a race filled with attention to detail. Bus tours of the course; postcard registration confirmations; excellent police control of traffic; plenty of port-a-potties along the course; volunteers handing out vaseline; misting tents, wet wash cloths and junk food on the course; finishing medals to all at the finish line; and the list goes on. I wanted to have fun and I did. The course is flat, although uninteresting at the end. The people are friendly. The fans are having so much fun that runners can't help but have fun too. There is definitely a good reason this race went from 2,500 runners last year to 3,500 this year. I bet it reaches 5,000 soon!
Nice Marathon (General Comments) Course: 5
A Runner from Virginia (11/12/02)
First of all, I like the size of this marathon. It's not like the MCM where it takes minutes to get to the starting line and two or three miles before you can run at your desired pace. But there are enough people running to have company the entire way. The course was nice. The few miles run right along the river on a country road were just awesome. Organization was really good. I could find only two minor negatives: the water stops were right at the mile markers, making it difficult to concentrate on my split times, and their choice to use Ultima, which resulted in an upset stomach for me. But basically, it was a really nice race, a beautiful course, with few hills, with the organizers trying hard to pay attention to all the details.
Seen better...seen worse (about: 2002) Course: 3
A Runner from Chicago (11/12/02)
The volunteers were great, special thanks to those at the finish who provided some much needed extra care.
The goodies: shirt, medal and hat, were all great! However, the expo is nothing and they did not have near enough buses for the free course tour and the pasta meal was straight from a can, not worth the $20.
More speakers at the startline would be good so those of us who are not elites could hear what is happening.
Plenty of aid stations, nicely spaced apart, always ready with drinks. The two GU stops seemed to be simply pipe dreams, hope most runners were like me and did not count on them being there. Organization went well enough though where I personally did not feel my performance was hampered negatively in any way. The best point overall was easily miles 8-10 along the St. James river with the trees all brightly colored. I would rank those few miles as comparable to many miles of Big Sur, as the most beautiful miles I have ever run. Breathtaking. Perfect.
Unfortunately it did not last long enough as we ran the second half of the race inhaling car fumes from the vehicles in the lanes next to us. Terrible. The worst. To no fault of the race organizers but to some of the citizens of Richmond, the extremely graphic anti-abortion signs displayed three times along the course was much more than I needed to see when trying to enjoy a race I worked so hard for and while trying to enjoy a city I had never visited before. Its very unfortunate that these people, some of them young kids, took that oppportunity to express themselves. Its one memory of Richmond I wish I did not have. Beyond that though, the rest of the people I interacted with were top notch.
I will not be recommending this race to friends, I think there are too many better ones out there, but I will recommend Virginia, and will visit again some time.