Your first marathon is a special event. You may run many and each one will be a unique experience. But there is nothing as special as your first 26.2.
So how do you pick a marathon? There are thousands all over the world, and they each have their own appeal. While researching, consider these questions when choosing your first marathon child.
How far are you willing to travel?
Destination races have the perk of incorporating a race with a vacation. Plus, you can choose a course that has gorgeous views or caters to your strengths as a runner. It’s great for adventure, but will be pricier and require more planning. It could also add more stress before a first marathon.
What is the terrain like?
A great part about races is experiencing new terrain. However, you might not want to try to race up the Rockies if you have only trained on flat ground. Figure out if you don’t mind a course with a little bit of hills or if you would rather opt for flat and fast.
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How big do you want the race to be?
Marathons can range from a few dozen participants to hundreds of thousands of racers. Larger ones usually have more volunteers, better food, and cooler T-shirts, but it’s a production to participate. You may have to park miles away, and take a bus to the start line. In addition, leaving at the end can stick you in traffic for hours. Smaller races could have less spectators, but a more intimate feel with easier logistics.
Do you want to qualify for Boston?
Not every marathon is a Boston Qualifier. If you dream of Boylston, make sure to check with the race coordinators to see if the marathon is a qualifier.
Do you want to run with friends?
Having “runner friends” does not necessarily mean you have “marathon friends.” Many marathons have accompanying half marathons, 5Ks, or relays. These are great options if your friends want to participate in a fun weekend without running an entire marathon.