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2009 Detroit Free Press/Flagastar Marathon: Review


Detroit Marathon 2009

Another racing season is rapidly coming to an end. The Detroit Free press/Flagstar Marathon took place over the weekend through the downtown streets of the city and a brief trip into our neighboring country. For some, this marks an end to many of the casual runners for the year. All the buildup leading to the race is now over, and it’s time to take a break.

Last Sunday morning was chili as usually, the warm weather left Michigan about a month ago, but for runners this isn’t always a bad thing. While cold at first, after a few miles runners begin to shed a layer or two from their outfits. The course this year was slightly different from last year. The run began through the dark streets of Detroit straight for the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. For most runners, this is easily one of, if not, the most scenic parts of the race. Runners are given a clear view of the Detroit River midway across the bridge just at the peak of sunrise, amazing view to say the least. From there, a trip into Canada for a few miles along the border, and yes, Canadians come out to cheer. The other big attraction, this is the only marathon with an underwater international mile. Definitely a first to most runners, running under a major river is a new experience. The tunnel is a break from the low temperatures. If the runners didn’t break a sweat before this part, they did in the tunnel. Once you get out, the cold wind hit you like a punch in the face. Now a tour of downtown for a few miles, this is where the half marathon runners break off. Here is where the course is different from last year. Last year the route went to Belle Isle, then back though the neighborhoods. This year it was reversed, which is so much better. Once you get to the last 6 miles of a marathon, your spirits reaches its breaking point. Running through what appear to be identical neighborhoods doesn’t exactly give your mind much room to wonder, so it was nice that it was changed. After the neighborhoods, runners circled Belle Isle and returned along the river back into downtown for the finish.

This years men’s winner was Nicholas Stanko (28) coming in at a time of 2:20:22. The top 4 males were all hailing from Michigan. On the women’s side, Sarah Plaxton (41) with the time of 2:57:09.

With another year in the books, The Detroit Marathon continues to be one of the biggest races in the state. Although this is the end for some runners this season, others keep on runner through the winter. There will be plenty of other races through the cooler months to keep runners motivated in the mean time.