Big city marathon with small town charm! (about: 2013)|
Sven Jacobs from Basel, Switzerland (9/23/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Basler Marathon
Basel is Switzerland's third city: it's an affluent, rich town with a historic, medieval city centre along the Rhine. It's 3 Rhine bridges are incorporated in the course. This is only the 4th edition of the Marathon and only about 330 people entered for the full course. Another 3000 people entered for the other races, but as they start later you'll have no hindrance on the course!
As a result - you can run a race in a major city with all the benefits of such a large town: excellent hotels, good infrastructure, easy access from airport and motorway, plenty of restaurants etc. But you don't get the hassles of big city marathons: overcrowded courses, poor refreshment tables, long distances to cover from hotel to start, not enough potty's etc. Instead you get 'small marathon charm' - personal service, great volunteers, clean get-away at the start, well stocked refreshment posts every 2 miles.
The course itself is tough - there's a few hairpins, and a couple of steep, short climbs! You cross the Rhine 6 times, each bridge twice. The course is two rounds of the city - and each round is really split into three: a suburban part, the medieval town and the harbour - which means you really do get to see the place!
The only downside is the lack of spectators: most bars and restaurants are closed in Switzerland on Sundays and as a result there a few people in town. The volunteers make up for it! They really cheer you along! With only 300-odd runners for the full marathon you often end up on your own, with someone 100 meters ahead and/or behind you.
Bib pick-up is easy: in a shopping centre underneath the Basel Football Stadium. I had lost my registration form but that was no problem. Personal service! The volunteers were extremely helpful. The goody bag is meagre but there is a good race t-shirt. Post race atmosphere is excellent! Everyone hangs around and a few bars next to the Finish line are open. Easy access to meet friends or relatives, changing rooms and showers close by - great!
Overall, an excellent marathon - especially because it has the organisation of a 'big' race but you get the 'small' race closeness!