Small marathon on beautiful, flat trail. (about: 2011)|
K. H. from Minnesota, USA (10/23/11)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Des Plaines River Trail Marathon
This is a beautiful little marathon on a wide, flat, easy-on-your-feet trail through a forest preserve just north of Chicago. The course is simply spectacular - through forests and marshland. Much of the trail has forest cover so if it's hot you'd be protected from the sun. The day I ran the weather was perfect - 40s to start and high 50s at the finish.
There were not a lot of spectators because there were not a lot of participants, but if someone wanted to follow a runner there were several places where roads or parking access intersected the trail. I saw one family at maybe 4 different points on the course.
The course is an out and back which is generally not my first choice because who wants to run the same thing twice. In this case, I didn't mind at all because the course was just so beautiful.
The trail itself was very well maintained and a hard enough surface so that you didn't feel like you were running in sand but so, so easy on the feet. I'm used to road races where my feet are just screaming by mile 23 from the pounding.
Water and aid stops were every 2-3 miles and consisted of one table with loads of options - water, electrolyte drink, m&ms, pretzels, gels, etc. I'm used to running through water stops and drinking on the run which wasn't possible here because there just weren't enough volunteers to pick up garbage. So I stopped at each aid staton drank two cups of water and threw my cups in the trash. Would probably be a good idea if they would put one garbage can 50 feet down the path but not a big deal. The volunteers were so friendly and helpful.
I ran alone for much of the race and if you're a runner who relies on thousands of spectators to keep you going, this race does not have that. I do enjoy that aspect of road races but I loved this too.
I registered just days before the race and was told that I would have to wait to get my shirt and medal sent to me in the mail. The race organizers had so many last minute entries their surplus supply was depleted. I didn't expect to get anything but they said they would place an additional shirt and medal order after the marathon to make sure everyone who participated got the shirt and medal which I thought was great.
Parking was available at the start and they also do morning of packet pick up which was so so nice. I've done alot of big city marathons (new york, chicago, boston) and I like those too but they are a hassle. This race was just so relaxed, convenient, easy to navigate and enjoyable.