Choosing A Marathon

Right now I am in the midst of a dilemma.  I’ve found two marathons that I’d like to run but can only pick one.  Right now it’s between

March 20, 2011

or

April 3, 2011

The dilemma comes from several factors which brings me to, how do you choose the right marathon for you?  For me location is going to be important.  How far am I willing to travel and will the climate be comparable to what I’ve trained in?  I live in Tucson and the climate is super hot and dry with a very short winter. Also important is the timing.  Obviously life is very unexpected but when you’re in the military, you don’t really have the luxury of knowing month to month where you’re going to be or if leave (vacation) is an option.  Other factors to consider are:  size of the race, expo or no expo, course certification, and course difficulty.  There are others but these are what I want to touch on.

When it comes to race size I’m pretty much a one size fits all kind of person.  (I think)  I haven’t ran in a race larger than 5000 people BUT I wouldn’t be against signing up for something bigger either.

When it comes to the expos at races, I love them!  A race expo is just a big room full of booths with vendors that are usually selling their goods at reduced prices.  At my last expo I got my favorite running toy at 30% off!

Forerunner 110

The expos aren’t necessary but I feel like I’m walking through an issue of Runner’s World when going about one, so it’s definitely a bonus to me.

Course certification, for those of you who don’t know, is when the USA Track and Field (USATF) certifies a course as accurately measured.  I don’t know about you but I want to know that I’m running no more or less than 26.2 when I do MY marathon.

Course difficulty is entirely up to the runner and how hard or easy they want their marathon to be.  Since I’m doing my first one in the spring, I’m looking for a nice easy flat one but I think if I were a more seasoned marathoner I’d be looking at one like Mt Lemmon.

The most important factors to me that are affecting my decision are:

This one is honestly a really tough decision.  Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon.

Merry Christmas everyone!