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Preview: Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon


 Dertoit Marathon - October 18th, 2009

As the marathon season finally hits, The Detroit Marathon is just over a week away. You’ve had since spring to get in shape, so here’s the real test, can you handle 26.2 miles?

Just about every major city in the United States will host a yearly marathon. Most of these cities will make their course like a tour of the area. Detroit is no different. Runners get to run over the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, run back though the tunnel under Detroit River, go through downtown, run up the water to Belle Isle, loop around Belle Isle, then back through a few more neighborhoods until you land in downtown where you finish. It is an extremely scenic course, and there is usually something to gaze at to keep your mind off how many more miles you have left to run.

There are a few drawbacks to this race, and they can be a hassle. Like some larger events, you need to pick up everything onsite the Friday or Saturday before the race, no race day pick up. This may not sound like a huge deal, but a lot of people don’t live near the city and it’s one extra trip to take. Another option, pick it up Saturday, and grab a hotel. While it is a hassle, this avoids race day conflicts, and since people are crossing borders, have your passports or proof of citizenship ready at the expo. If you’re not sure what to bring, check out the requirements. Non-registered runners (bandits) will be arrested trying to cross the border, so don’t try it, they are watching.

If you are already signed up for the race, look over the site to see what they offer, and keep your eyes open at the expo when you pick up your packet. Pace groups will be available; there was a table at the expo last year if you’d like to sign up for one. You don’t have to sign up, but if you do they give you another bib with the pace groups time. Keep in mind this costs nothing, so why not. They do, like most races, discourage headphones on the course. Why ruin a big race with music, listen to the sounds of the course, listen to the people cheering you on. Also, show up early on race day. It will be dark, bathroom lines will be long, and it will be crowded, so finding the right corral can be a pain. Show up early and ready and you should be just fine, just plan ahead.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time to do so. If you’re not in shape or not confidant you can handle 26 miles, either rethink this, shoot for next year, or just sign up for a shorter distance, they do have the half (13.1 miles) and a 5k available.

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