Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Detroit Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#42)

Tag line: "Where Do I Carry My Passport??"

Detroit Marathon ~ October 17, 2010
Detroit, MI ~ Downtown Detroit and Windsor, Ontario (Canada)
Type: 100% Pavement
Year Running: 33rd!
Registration Fee: $75-$90 Early ($105-$125 late)
Charity Race? Yes... List of supported charities can be found here.
Runners:  3,227... 1,163 Females
Available Races: Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K
Average Finish Time: 4:20:58
BQ %: 13.5

Overall Race Ratings: 4.4/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.3/5.0
~ I love a race that focuses on the FULL marathoners-- giving them just a little better treatment with medals, massage lines, etc. The course was a lot of fun (especially running into Canada) and the runners were a blast. They have great swag at this race and the expo is pretty great too. They could use a little help with food and support on the course, but other than that it was a great race! I would definitely recommend it!

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The race can use a little help with organization-- 1 GU stop isn't even worth it. Make at least 2-3 stops with GU available. Gatorade is the sponsor--instead of giving out thousands of free gatorades, give us their new gel. Also, post-race food is SO important. We need to up the types of food and not give us a feedbag, which we'll dump 50% of it. Smoshed banana and string cheese?... really? Also, I know there isn't a whole lot going on in Detroit, but there HAS to be more than the Casinos-- let us know about it!

View of Canada from Detroit
Event Organization: 4.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll 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: ~10 min
Rental Car Required: No. There are plenty of hotels near the start as well as "people movers" in the city. (I just think that sounds funny). 
~ The director did a good job of sending out all required information as well as posting updates on facebook so we can see all that was going into the race. To get to Canada we needed to show a passport, and they had it organized so the border control actually came to the expo and cleared us... I think it would have been a little funny if we had to stop and show our passports at the bridge! There wasn't a whole lot to do in Detroit and they sent us a packet of information... but it mostly suggested going to the Casinos. 

Post-Race they really talked up this "conquered" themed party. There was a band that was playing SO loud. There were also 2 stands that sold either mexican or organic food-- none of which you wanted to eat right after a marathon. I DID, however, like that the massage tent was broken up between the 4K marathoners and the 20K half marathoners... we had our own line! There were also 2 massage therapists for every 1 runner... I  now know what it feels like to go through a car wash. 

Race Organization: 3.0/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Gatorade/Yellow
~ There were aid stations every 2 miles
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  GU/Various/1Stop
~Post Race Food: .Post-Race, we were handed a pre-packed bag of food containing a bagel, a smashed banana, some sort of mixed-nut pack and... string cheese???
~ Every mile was marked and done pretty well from what I can tell-- you lose satellite going through the tunnel, so it's hard to get a good read. There were rest stops galore and of course lots of aid stations. There were not, however, many GU stations-- 1!! What am I supposed to do with 1? I'm not a mule! Also (clearly) not a huge fan of the post-race food... at all. 

The staging area was pretty well mapped out-- no long walks to get what you needed. There was a line at first for the bag drop, but they told us all just to drop them in a pile with our numbers attached. I was a little worried, but they did a great job of putting them in order. 

Course: 4.4/5.0

MarathonGuide Rating
Garmin Distance: NA (mileage isn't picked up in the tunnel)
Type: Pavement- City road
~ Elevation Gain/Loss: Minimal
~ Best asset of this course is the "where" portion... you're not only in Detroit, but you also travel north of the border to Windsor, Ontario (CANADA!). Both going over and coming back are fun! You take a giant bridge on the way over, making your way through border control. The way back? You're going under the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The Canadian side is very cute with brick-building lined streets, reminding me much of the streets of Boston. The Detroit side... much more urban! Winding you through the various "neighborhoods" of Detroit!
Pic Right: Sunrise on the bridge to Canada!

Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ This race had a fantastic group of spectators... I especially loved the Canadian side. They were so excitable, welcoming us over! There were groups throughout, never going too long without some sort of fans. Also... the race puts your names on the front of your bib so people could cheer you on personally! Besides the names, the bibs of the first time marathoners were colored and the spectators knew it, cheering them on big time! Also, I chose to wear my "Ohio State" shirt (yes while in Michigan) and of course got the appropriate responses. The michigan fans yelled "go blue" (like they had ANYthing to say) and the Ohio State fans were super excited!

 Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ I know there were lots pace groups available, but I never pretty consistently between 2 groups, so I'm going to give this an NA.

Runner/Corrals: 4.8/5.0
~ First, the corrals were amazing! Chicago could learn a lesson from them! They were broken up in many groups and they put a minute between the end of the last pace group and the beginning of the next. There aren't enough runners (even with the halfies) to make this too long of a process and it worked really well. 
2 Marathon Maniac Families! 
The runners I was around were so nice! There was a brand new 1st time marathoner that fell in step with me and asked me what I was planning on running. Well we got on the topic of my 50-state attempt and when we passed all her family/fans she goes "THIS GIRL HAS RUN 45 MARATHONS!" I was much more excited to see her finish her FIRST... which I was able to do, cheering for her through the finish! I DO know some other runners had different experiences with others on the bridge... the bridge gets narrow and I guess there was some pushing and shoving?? I didn't see any of this, but I was in the upper corrals. 

Expo: 4.7/5.0
~ This is a fun little expo. When you walk in, you actually have to wind through the WHOLE expo to get to the packet pick-up... convenient little trick! First, the marathon gear was great. They had a ton of options and fun stuff to buy... more so than you usually see at these mid-sized races. Next, I stumbled upon my life saver-- a chiropractic group that was doing free massages, and guess what? Nobody else realized it but me... I managed to get 3 massages out of them over the course of the weekend. There was another group doing some sort of alignment to runners. Of course "1 More Mile" was there with their fun stuff... I bought this...

Swag: 4.5/5.0

~T-Shirts: The shirts were super cute. Black, well fitted and XS actually meant XS! It's one of the few that actually fit me. Black and long sleeved with a cool little route symbol on it and it's sweatwick. 4.4

~Medals: The medals this year were really cool. They featured the Detroit skyline, some sort of car in the front (clearly not a big car person), records (to express the blues side of Detroit), and the bridge. They also have the American flag and the Canadian flag on the ribbon. 4.6

~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bags had some gels and nick nacks, but nothing that really stands out too much. 

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:30:19
Place: Overall- 398/,159, Gender- 1024/16,186, A/G (F25-29)- 305/3731

Boston Watch 2K11
Nothing yet folks... and almost EVERYbody I know has been confirmed now. Whats worse? I put my last name in (not a common one, esp amongst marathons) and something popped up!!!! And it was a 25 year old female!!!... but it wasn't me :( GRRRRRR! I finally emailed Omaha's race director to see what the hold up was.... they were supposed to have sent the BQ results in immediately after the race. 

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb


  1. Sounds like a pretty sweet race. UGH to the post-race food... we are getting bad food at ALL of our races lately. Sucks.

    Congrats on another 3:30 - you're a rockstar!


  2. So I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to run Detroit but you may have convinced me! :) Great racing chica!

  3. I am so happy you enjoyed your race experience in Detroit! it was so nice meeting you and being able to give you your medal.

    I am sure Boston is just saving the best confirmation for last. :0)

  4. Fingers crossed that Boston get's confirmed soon!

  5. Great recap! I also get annoyed with race shirts that don't fit. I'm sure Boston will confirm soon.

  6. I just posted today about my Boston nerves. On Mon or Tues, it seemed like lots of people I knew who had registered weren't confirmed. But as of today, there's only 1 person I know (and now you) who are in the same boat as me -- ran a big marathon (on the drop-down list for Boston registration), but still not confirmed!

    Anyway, what's your time goal for Dallas? I don't know yet if I'm running it, but it would be so much fun to meet up and go to the expo together and/or get lunch or something. Dallas does the same expo winding trick as Detroit!

  7. Oh, and where are you staying in Dallas, when do you arrive and leave?

  8. Great race review! My friend ran this marathon and I am going to add it to my list...since I am also attempting the 50 state challenge (not quite as aggressively as you, though - you rock!).

    I haven't heard from Boston yet, either - but, in my state of panic, I called them - they said it will take weeks and not to worry. I have 2 friends confirmed, and I don't know of anyone else who is confirmed yet hang in there!