Friday, January 21, 2011

Thinking About a Marathon? The 10 Best Beginner Marathons Part 2

Napa Valley Marathon

So, here is the list but I have reservations on some.

Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon

Escape the city. Unlike its larger, urban counterparts, the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon is mostly just you, the road, and wine country. “We’re a rural marathon,” explains David Hill, co-race director. “It’s all out in the country on a two-lane road. There’s not much spectator support, but the scenery is outstanding.”
Unfortunately, this small and interesting marathon has a very strict 6 hour cutoff time. This is not runner or walker friendly and therefore I cannot recommend it for a beginner marathon. And, get this:
If you cannot finish the race within the 6 hour time limit, please do not enter and take an entry spot away from a runner who can finish within the allotted time.

Missoula Marathon
Flat terrain isn’t easy to come by in Montana, but the Missoula Marathon carves a pretty smooth route through valley where an old glacial lake used to rest. You’ll breeze past hayfields before finishing up the race to the cheers of spectators in Missoula. Now entering its fifth year, the race places a strong emphasis on community. Look out for the mile markers that have been decorated by local artists.
Jeff Galloway will be Run/Walk/Running this year's Missoula marathon in July.

The Missoula Marathon is runner (6 and 1/2 hour) and walker friendly with a 7 and 1/2 hour time limit (early 5 AM start). A very easy 6 and 1/2 hour limit for the Half Marathon.

This would be a very good first marathon for the beginner or for someone who would like a relaxed travel marathon experience. The Missoula Marathon blog is here.

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is called the most beautiful urban marathon for a reason. Starting in Minneapolis and ending in St. Paul, the course crosses by lakes, rivers, scenic parkways and mansions. Race-day temperatures start around 40˚F at the start and only go up to the mid-50s, so it’s nice and cool for running.
There is a strict 6 hour time limit for this fairly large urban marathon. I would NOT recommend this marathon for a beginner, as there are other more runner friendly marathons without the logistical hassles of this one.

Stay tuned for part three of the series of beginner marathons.

Part 1 of my review of beginner marathons is here.

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