Is anyone doing Shamrock (VA Beach) or Catalina (Catalina Island) in 2012, or have thoughts on the races? I'm deciding between the Shamrock, National, LA, and Catalina marathons. I've done National and LA before.
Since National (Sat.) and Shamrock (Sun) are on the same weekend, how about back-to-back marathons that weekend.
Actually, I'm looking at the B&A Trail Marathon where if you signed up for the full you can just skip out and only run the half depending how your race is. I also like the Lower Potomac River Marathon in southern MD. You can have a special needs bag at mile 16, then when you pass by they move it across the road at mile 22. Both are small-great races!
I'm doing the Shamrock half! I had a chance to vacation down there a few months ago and was able to see most of the course. Flat as a pancake. so should be nice for my first half marathon.
Under the right conditions, Shamrock is a PR course as it is super flat and fast. Ran it last year when it was very windy and still posted a solid time. Logistically it is a real easy race as hotels near the start are readily available. I ran the National Half a few years ago and wasn't overly impressed and the past race management group had problems with it. However it is now part of Rock-n-Roll series so I imagine it should be better run this year. Still the course isn't very special.
I'm thinking of running the Charlottesville Marathon, but I know it'll be very hilly. Also, it's a Saturday race, and at 6:30am! (three strikes)
I signed up for National, then booked a scuba trip starting the same day I fly out. I am now thinking of doing one of the other, local marathons that Hugh pointed out.
Spring def has fewer choices for marathon than fall (but spring has a lot more great short races... 5Ks, 10Ks, and 10-milers!). Personally, I think one marathon per year after tri season ends is enough!
Aside from the National Marathon (March 17), Shamrock Marathon & Half (March 17/18) and Charlottesville Marathon (April 7), here are a few other options:
Miami (Jan 29)
Supposedly has a great party... but a bit far away.
Washington's Birthday Marathon (Feb 19)
Greenbelt, MD is very close... altho this is a small race (200 finishers this year)
Tobacco Road Marathon (March 18)
I've heard great things about this one from my friends in the NC Triangle!
Pittsburgh (May 6)
They're at tons of expos. Plus, Pittsburgh is only a 3.5-4 hour drive.
Delaware Marathon (May 13)
I think this is yet another race where Michael Wardian is the perennial favorite!
And MarathonGuide.com should have several others!
I'm doing the national half.
I am probably doing the B&A trail - either the full or the half, but I'm leaning towards the full.
National Full -- need something to keep me motivated through winter!
I'm planning on the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail Marathon/50K on March 3rd:
A lot of guys in my running group have done this race--very low key and cheap ($10 for MCRRC members, $20 for non-members). It's also unique in that it's a point-to-point race. You park at the finish in the morning and they bus you to the start. One other pro: you can decide at the midway point if you want to do the 50K or the marathon, depending on how you feel (50K takes a loop around a lake).
The cons are minimal support (a few aid stations but pretty far apart and mostly water jugs to fill up your own bottles), it can be muddy that time of year, and because it's so cheap, there's zippo schwag (no shirts, for example).
Still, a pretty good deal for a training race early in the season.