Event Feature: Twin Cities Marathon

Commonly referred to as "the most beautiful urban marathon in America", this world class event lives up to this promise! I personally have participated in this event twice and can vouch for the fact that it is a truly world class event and a great time (if you can call running 26 miles a great time)!

There are a number of factors that make this event so much fun. For me, the best part is always the hundreds of thousands of spectators that you see along the course. There is not a single stride you take the entire length of the marathon where a spectator isn't cheering for you. Oh, and then there are the memorable spectators: the girl with the coconut bra, the rock and roll bands on mini stages along the course, the crazy guys with body paint that run along side you screaming (as if this were the Alpe H'uez in the Tour de France or something), the drunk college kids doing beer hand offs along Summit Auenue, the guy with the Green Bay Packers Zubas (really), etc, etc. You get the point, there is never a dull moment and there is always something to entertain you. Last year, in 2008, temperatures were in the 40's for most of the race with horizontal downpour rain and all of these spectators were still out there! Now that's hard core!

This race is also so incredibly organized. To start off with, they rent the Metrodome to use as the start staging area. How many other races have you done which rent a major pro sports stadium as a start staging area? The start area is a few short blocks from the Metrodome, with hundreds of helpful volunteers anticipating your questions.

Once you're off and running, the course is beautiful, taking you through the most scenic parts of the Minneapolis/St. Paul downtown areas. Fall colors, water, and parks are a normal theme of the course. This race passes by 4 lakes, 1 creek, and 1 river, with about 2/3 of the race next to a body of water. On top of all of this "urban nature", the race starts in beautiful downtown Minneapolis and finishes at the State Capitol in downtown St. Paul.

Now you want some advice for this race? Well, similar to doing any other marathon, save some energy for the final 6 miles. This race can be made or broke in the final 6-8 miles as the final 8 miles are all up hill, mainly so gradual you can't even tell you're going up. These "false flats", such as the final 6 miles on Summit Ave are a real killer. I've walked the final 5 or so miles in the past as I just couldn't keep the legs going up Summit, so beware! Once you finally climb Summit Ave and drop down toward the Capitol, it's all downhill with a sweet view of the Capitol, the Cathedral, and downtown St. Paul. To view full course data including a GPS map, topographical info, and my pace/heart rate data from last year, click HERE.

To access the offical Twin Cities Marathon website, click HERE.

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