Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Little Rock Marathon~ Race Ratings (#25)

Tagline: "We don't give out medals, we give out chest shields"
2010 Little Rock Marathon ~ March 7, 2010
Little Rock, AR~ Downtown and Historic Little Rock
Registration Fee: $90 early ($100-$110 late). $10 Discount for 50-Staters. $20 extra for the "perk tent" tickets (see below in organization or this post).
Runners: 1545 in the marathon (Plus half and relay teams)
Available Races: Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 4-Person Marathon Relay
Average Finish Time: 4:48:15
BQ %: 7.8%

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.9/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.73/5.0

~ This very well organized race is going to make you feel fast and is definitely worth the little extra for the perks tent. The organizers did a spectacular job! This is just a FUN time so take advantage of everything it has to offer. 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This race is almost to near perfection in terms of what the organizers can control. The only thing I would say they need to work on is the T-shirts. The design and colors could definitely be better. The weather was absolutely perfect with a 40-50 degree haze overhead, but if the sun did break I can imagine it getting VERY hot, especially on the long stretches without shade.

Event Organization: 4.7/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 5.8 Miles (12 min)
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ This was a very well managed marathon. I could tell it was going to be when they sent me a very professional looking book on the marathon with any info I could need about a month before the race. Travel was not too difficult to the expo/start area and parking was a breeze! There was a ton of it everywhere. Their website has a ton of information on the race, the area, travel, etc. The only bad part about traveling is the size of the airport-- although it's called "international" they only have some many flights in and out.

Race Organization: 5.0/5.0
~ Wonderfully organized!!! One of the best I've seen. This group has thought of everything to make this the most convenient marathon. They include bibs on the backs of half-marathoners and relay teams so we know who we're truely racing against. They had so many port-a-johns and water stops you were never in need. They had pleanty of hammer gels along the way. Prior to the race there were small medical teams walking around with tape, ibuprophen, bandaids-- anything you needed.

The perks tent! Full description below on my post-race thoughts, but this is definitely definitely worth the $20! You have any food you could imagine and all the room in the world. You only have so many people there so no lines are too long. There are heaters before and tons of beer after! I knew this was the best organized race when I was waiting in line for a massage with a beer and lap full of  food and a girl came over with a giant bottle of Ibuprophen and asked if I wanted any-- uhh! YES! There isn't a thing about this organization I could dream to change.
~Post Race Food: What DIDN'T they have? When you finished they handed you a bag full of yummy sweets and you walked around the corner to get hotdogs. In the perks tent there was also: Pizza, Smoothies, cookies, bagels and locks, a large arrangement of fruit, beer, candy, pretzels, ummm??? I'm sure a ton more!!! I was in piggy-heaven!

Course: 4.9/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 26.36
~ This was my type of course. Long slow uphills and quick steep downhills you could fly down. The beginning of the course started in downtown, making turns to quickly, you hardly had a chance to look ahead (no boring endless miles ahead). The course goes out to "historic Little Rock" and is truly a 26 mile tour of the city, as the website claims. You have a ton of interesting and beautiful scenery. At one point you take a turn and as you start to descend a long downhill, the capital if framed in front of you in the distance. You pass the gorgeous governors mansion as well. The only boring areas are a few neighborhoods and they are filled with spectators with signs, drinks, food, and cheer. The other area that some found boring was the out and back between 18 and 24. I didn't mind this area because I was entering the area as the winners were coming out and I love to see them fly. I was also able to see almost every single runner, which is awesome if you're there with people or know a lot of people running. 

Spectators: 4.6/5.0
~ Spectators were lined throughout the race-- this is another marathon that the city seems proud to have and get very involved with. The race officials describe on their site that they purposely encourage and place spectators and cheering groups at slower place on the course and on some of the bad hills to keep you going. I found I had the most cheering-fueled adrenaline rush as I entered the biggest hill of the course because they had both sides of the street lined with spectators!

Pace Group: 5.0/5.0
~ I was able to run with/pass/get passed by/ and see at the out and back-- many pace groups and almost all of them seemed to be very accurately on time. They also seemed to have extremely knowledgeable pace leaders who were encouraging their runners. A few of the pace leaders were even dressed up in quirky outfits-- seriously?? wow I'm impressed. Nice job pace group leaders

Runner/Corrals: 4.8/5.0
~ This is the second year Little Rock chose to use corrals and they seemed to go off perfectly. They had the corral entrances guarded well and I had plenty of room to stretch out. The courses are wide, but with the number of runners they were still packed. I couldn't imagine the chaos that would have ensued if there weren't corrals.

This is a big marathon full of runners-- esp with the 50-staters reunion held there this year. I was feeling really good in the later miles of the race and it seemed like a LOT of the runners were slowing down so I made sure to yell encouraging things to each runners as I passed. Most of them perked up and yelled back-- some of the slower early starters seemed offended or confused-- hmm does anybody get why that is??? I had a great time chatting post-race with many of the runners while waiting in line for our massages.

Expo: 4.8/5.0
~ This was a good expo-- big and full of vendors for this mid-sized marathon. What I liked was that the expo wasn't too full of people trying to sign you up for other race (uh, please let me get through this one first) and it was not overly packed like some other marathons. If there was anything you needed, you were able to find it. There was also some GREAT LR marathon apparel. They gave you some casual marathon gear options that still look nice. Not just athletic gear or sweats.

Swag: 4.0/5.0
~T-Shirts: The T-shirt was the only place I thought they lacked. It was gray and not very attractive. The half marathoners got a white version (which was better) and the design on both was ok. It was a nice material tech-T, but the small is too big for me and the design is kind of ugly. 3.1
~Medals: Wow-- holy huge. I know there are other ones that are the same size, but this was just so cool. It definitely got some attention at the airport. 4.9!
~ Goodie Bag: The other goodies included a marathon poster that was cute, but I think I lost it in the airport (ooops)

Stephanie~ Marathon
Time: 3:44:36
Place: Overall 201/1545 ~ Gender 37/574 ~ Age Group 2/39


  1. Hmmm, I never got a poster! I probably would have lost mine too though :)

    I would actually note that a rental car is really NOT required. I got one, but my roommate didn't, and I think it was six of one and a half dozen of the other. The rental cars there were super cheap (mine was only $25 after taxes and gas and everything!), but a taxi to/from the hotel would only be about $30, so... either way. And all the events were right at the host hotel (including the dinner), so you didn't really need a car aside from getting to/from the airport. Just my two cents :)

    Congrats again!

  2. Wow! That is a very Large Medal!!

    I wish I would have run that race, Little Rock is so close to me, but I was out of town! Maybe next year.


  3. Congrats on another marathon under your belt! Really enjoyed the race review.

  4. Wow sounds like some really impressive organization. Holy chest shield!

  5. I'm putting it on my list! I'd do it just for that crazy huge medal, but sounds like a fantastic race overall!

  6. Very impressive! nice one, happy running!
    ~ oakley sunglasses ~