Are you going to run the Twin Cities Marathon? Don’t miss this Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap and Review–it will tell you everything you need to know about one the of the top marathons in the US!
I am going to break this up into two parts: the first will be a more formalized review of the race, and the second will be how it went for me.
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Race Review
Twin Cities Marathon General Information
I registered for the race in March, and in case you are interested, this marathon always occurs the first Sunday of October. The event caps off at about 12,000 people, and is the crowning event for a weekend of events (there are also family races including a 5k, 10k and 10 mile (the 10 mile is the day of)). Participants are separated into 3 corrals, with the first setting off at 8, the second (which I was in) at 8:08, and the third at 8:12.
Twin Cities Marathon Expo:
OMG I loved the expo–great vendors, and reps from Saucony, Asics, and Brooks (who did the official shirts).
Great gear stores, Larabar, Clif, Food Should Taste Good, Caribou Coffee (a major sponsor). Honestly, the best sized expo I’ve seen yet–easy to navigate, not too crowded, and not overwhelming–you know what I mean. I was really impressed by how well it was run and how much fun everyone was having. I got there when it was opening, and they were tossing things out into the crowd, etc, and people were just having fun.
Smooth, there were lots of toilets (in previous years, the Metrodome was open to runners for bathrooms and to keep warm but it is now being demo’d, so there were portable toilets). We were lucky with the weather–the days before were cold, damp, and blustery. The fact that the race is on the smaller side for a Boston-seeder, and that was AWESOME. When I ran MCM last year, it was so. freaking. crowded. at the start and at many times throughout the course. But with TCM, I had room to move especially after about .5 mile from the start. The morning of, the weather was cold, but clear, not humid, and easy to deal with (I’ll talk about what I wore in a minute).
Twin Cities Marathon Course
What. A. Beautiful. Course. A nice mixture of city, nature, and residential. It reminded me of the GA marathon in the fact that it really delved into the neighborhoods, but, as much as I love and adore my hometown, TCM wins with regards to the nature views and manageable hills. And yes, there were hills. And there were a few that made you be like WHAT THE BALLS MAN, but only for a minute.
If you look at the course map, you will see that you spend the first 2/3 of the course circling the lakes and going through the neighborhoods, and I loved it–it felt like running through a park, but then with the visual stimuli provided by the houses. The last 1/3 of the course you knew that you were heading toward St. Paul, so you started chugging for that and for the gorgeous Mississippi River crossing.
Then you finally get to Summit Ave, and you get to have fun with hills for the last 6 miles. But you know that you are in the last 10k, so you tell yourself just to do it. And there are gorgeous houses to boot. Then you run by the Cathedral, (gorgeous), turn a corner and crest a hill, see the State Capitol (which seems SO FAR) and the finish which is a straight shot and mercifully closer. And you haul as much ass as possible through screaming spectators.
Twin Cities Marathon Course Support:
Y’all, the people of the Twin Cities treat you like you are one of their children and that everyone there is part of the family. The neighborhood support is in-freaking-credible. I think they might even have a neighborhood competition for the cheering stations–we are talking bouncy castles, grilling out, balloon arches, music, bands, people handing out bananas and tissues. Clusters of port-a-lets were plentiful. My fave spectators might have been the 2 girls dressed up as bacon (You’re Shakin’ Bacon!) and eggs (Eggcellent job!), who, I might add, I saw at least 3 times on the course and were always shaking their bacon. Cyclists and other runners were on the side paths (we were on the roads) and they would cheer to us as they passed us.
EMTs everywhere, it seemed, and loved not having to fight with people at the water/poweraid stations (because of the size of the race and the number of volunteers, and streets were cleared quickly. One big difference between this and MCM was that there was only one big official aid station for Cliff Shots, where MCM had multiple official ones. But again, there was help everywhere, provided by spectators.
It really felt like they were throwing the race for you, not that you were running a race through their territory. There was never a time when there wasn’t someone cheering, even on the bridges, and people stayed in line and everyone was respectful. And the end! HOLY COW you would think you were at the Olympics! And Mom said that people were helping each other look for their loved ones, getting out of the way for pictures, and just being supportive of all.
Twin Cities Marathon Finish Party:
Chocolate Milk from Kemps (which I took to the face), broth (chicken or veggie), raisin and wheat rolls, nut clusters, potato chips (all local businesses), PowerAid, Water, blankets, then pictures, then turn the corner to get your bags, a massage tent, and T-Shirt pick up (you had to finish to get your t shirt), and then a beer Garden. Spectators were kept out of that area–which was nice because you got a chance to breathe, get yourself somewhat together, and hear where your family was when you called them on the phone). And then once you got out, there were various other tents for merch, teams, a Moo-seum (Kemps), and Whole Foods gave away blue corn Food Should Taste Good chips (omg so good). Sprint charging stations. Coffee. All in front of the Capitol (unfortunately under construction), and blissfully near to the light rail line, which took us back to Minn.
Twin Cities Marathon Notes:
- LOVED the recycling–there was recycling everywhere in both cities, which you know I was all about.
- For those who run with hydration packs–you can do so at this race!
- Entries are non-transferable–if you can’t run it, you can’t run it. Your entry is good for you, and that year only.
Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap
The numerical stuff: Official time: 3:40:50
I PR’d by almost 30 minutes. 😀
As much as I have pretty much nothing but positive things to say about TCM, this was not an easy race for me. I ran MCM practically in a dream like state–I just kept being amazed that I was still going. This time, I worked for it. I tossed my throwaway jacket about at mile 5 or 6, I think, and I felt perfectly comfortable in what I had on (which I talked about yesterday). I did have to stop to pee about 2.5 miles in (which, apparently, I reaaaaally had to do, and was a good idea, haha).
It kinda bit me in the ass a little bit, though, because I then surged because I wanted to catch back up with the pacer (I wanted to stick with the 3:45 person a) because I saw them and didn’t see the 3:50, and I didn’t want to look and b) because I was feeling super perky. But I think that it made me push too hard–which got me moving but, in concert with the hills that we know not of in Chicago, meant that I could start to feel my legs as early as mile 11. And I continued to feel them (mostly my hip flexor and then my quads) the entire rest of the way. I ran this race hard. I really did. I didn’t let up on myself. But having done next to no speedwork during training, I don’t think my legs were adequately prepared for it. Oh, and then I launched myself into gear the last mile, and especially the last .25 miles. Mo knows what I’m talking about. She knows what happens haha.
I wasn’t ridiculously sore after MCM, other than my ITBands. This time, I earned and was rewarded with the marathoner waddle. That is for certain.
I would recommend this marathon to anyone and everyone who likes a bit of a homespun feel, a manageable field, and doesn’t mind a few hills but still wants a faster course–I liked the hills for the change of scenery and to help engage your legs. Gorgeous, beloved, well supported, and without the chaos of the larger races. And affordable all around–from hotel to the race itself.Looking to PR at #TCMarathon? Don't miss this race report! @TCMarathon #runchat #marathon Click To Tweet
Let me know your questions about the Twin Cities Marathon below!
I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.