Help me pick my next marathon

Three weeks on from Victoria, and I’m getting scratchy, irritable and frustrated. The main reason for this is a part planned, part enforced break from my regular running schedule. Planned, because I don’t think I’ve seen a single expert opinion that suggests that a novice runner like me should do anything other than take a break after completing a marathon. Enforced, because truth be told, I’m still carrying a few aches and pains from the Victoria run that seem to be taking their time to heal.

What I really need is something to focus on, something to look forward to, and something to train for. And I need your help.

What I’m looking to do is to put a stake in the ground and pick my next marathon, and I’m looking for some opinions and advice as to which direction to take.

A little background before we dive in to the selection box. In 2010 I’ve run two full and two half marathons. In 2011, I’d like to do at least the same, more if I can. Why? Because a) running more marathons will give me the experience to run better, and I hope faster, and b) because having a set goal will keep me honest on the training front.

What I’m concerned about right now is that here we are at the beginning of November, and if I just follow the Spring / Autumn schedule of this year, I’m effectively six months away from the next big run. I’m impatient, and not getting any younger, so if I can do it, and if time and my body allow it, then 2011 could see me hit three races. It’s a big ask, so for now I’m just going to focus on picking the likely candidate for the next race, and fill in the gaps from there.


Eugene Marathon
Is this the destination of my next marathon? Help me decide.


So, here are some of the runners and riders for ‘the next one”.

1. P.F. Chang’s Rock and Roll Marathon – Phoenix – Jan 16th

If I’m going to do another full run soon – I think this could be the one. On the ferry home from Victoria I met the guy who finished second in the 40-44 age category, and got a strong recommendation from him in terms of both the weather (pleasant) and the course (flat).

Pros: Well, I guess it’s pleasant, flat and soon.

Cons: Maybe too soon. I need to get back into regular training pronto if this one is a go-er.

2. Mardi Gras Rock and Roll Marathon – New Orleans – Feb 13th

Maybe another month of training will help, and some of the guys have been talking about a weekend away in The Big Easy.

Pros: I think the pre-race pasta would taste fantastic, and I like the idea of in some small way supporting a local economy clearly still in need of some help.

Cons: Not sure that a lads weekend away, and running a marathon are highly compatible activities.

3. The Brighton (UK) Marathon – April 10th

One of my very best friends, the Ginger legend that is Gary Edwards, is running his first marathon in this race next year. I would love to be there with him, even just to give him 26.2 miles of abuse for the “mind of a Kenyan, legs of a chubby white guy’” t-shirt he sent me last year.

Pros: This would be a bit special for me as it would have been essentially a ‘home-town’ marathon for my dear, late mother who lived down the road from Brighton in Eastbourne. Mum, and her role in me being a runner is something I’ll no doubt cover in a later post, but lets just say it would be a special one.

Cons: I may just have the time and resources for one trip back to the UK next year, and if so, then my kid sister’s 40th birthday gets the vote.

4. The BMO Vancouver Marathon – May 1st

As the location of my first marathon, there will always be a place in my heart that is forever Vancouver.

Pros: I know the course and it would be great to go back to the scene of the crime and see if I can’t score a real apples to apples improvement in time and overall performance.

Cons: Not many.  I LOVE Vancouver as a place, and it is easily accessible from Seattle. The main downside is simply that I’ve done it before and it would be nice to see something new.

5. The Eugene Marathon – May 1st

Well, Eugene is the stuff of legends in US running circles, and who is to say that following in the footsteps of fine Oregon running tradition, and legends like Steve Prefontaine is not appealing?

Pros: I’ve heard it’s a good ‘un, and Eugene is supposed to be a top place.

Cons: Bit more of trek than Vancouver.

So – that is my list for now. No doubt I’ve missed a ton of potentially great races, but this is just my starter for ten list. What do you think? Any comments or experience on these races? Any other names you want to throw into the mix? Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.


2 comments on “Help me pick my next marathon”
  1. Lauren says:

    I can totally relate to the need for the next goal!
    Tough choices. For me, the thought of training through a cold, dark and rainy winter sounds terrible….so I’d go for one in the January/February timeframe to get er done. OR…be patient and wait till Chicago next fall…or do both! Chicago is amazing. Flat and so energized!
    Enjoy the decision! Fun stuff.


    1. rob2288 says:

      Hi Lauren.

      I know what you mean about training through the winter – but the alternatives, doing nothing (ten pounds and an inch on the waistline) or treadmill / exercise bike (boring) don’t bear thinking about. I think that I’ll have to move some workouts indoors – especially if we get the winter we’ve been promised – but other than that just wrap up warm and keep going. I’ve heard great things about Chicago, apart from there being only one start point, despite there being 40k runners.

      Right now, given my slow return to training following Victoria, I’m thinking Spring (probably Eugene) and Fall (Chicago or Portland).


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