Washington, Canada or California?

Since training for the Mini has been going well enough, I’ve turned my attention to the big one later this year. When I set out on this whole thing, my mission was to finish a full marathon in the fall, and, by golly, I’m determined to do that.

Registration deadlines are opening (and closing) soon, so I need to go ahead and make up my mind. Plus, I’d really like to sucker someone else into running with me.

I’ve narrowed it down to three: the Marine Corps Marathon, the Niagara Falls International Marathon and the Long Beach Marathon. All are purportedly flat courses (with the Marine Corps having the most hills). So, here’s a list of pros and cons I’ve made up about each one.


Marine Corps Marathon
October 28, 2012
I didn’t go on any class trips to Washington as a kid. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I visited the city for the first time. During my last trip, I got severe food poisoning from the Supreme Court cafeteria and spent the better part of my time, uh, incapacitated. A return trip for something of this magnitude, coupled with a few days to meander, could make up for all that.


• I love DC
• Direct flight from Louisville
• Huge event – lots of support
• Scenic race route along the Potomac

• Hotels are expensive
• The drive is 12 hours through the mountains
• With 30,000 participants, there’s a good chance a zombie attack would go unnoticed


Niagara Falls International Marathon
October 21, 2012
A few years ago, I took a vacation with my family to Niagara Falls. I expected the area to be full of cheesy sideshow-esque stores and sad reminders of days gone by. You know, the kinds of places that used to be fun in the 60s until Americans discovered iPhones and Ritalin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The falls themselves are pretty amazing. It’s not everyday you see something that powerful and awe-inspiring. Plus, this race is the only marathon in the world that starts in one country and ends in another. The nerd in me is all over that.

$90 CAD ($90.27 USD)

• How cool is it to run to another country?
• My parents would most likely enjoy a return trip to the falls

• Could be cold, eh?
• Just 1500 runners
• No direct flights, and I would probably end up driving


Long Beach Marathon
October 7, 2012
Early last year, I worked on a project for the National Center for Family Literacy that took me to Long Beach, California. I’d been to LA more times than I can count, but I’d never taken the time to explore beyond the areas where my friends lived (Santa Monica, Marina, Huntington Beach). So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that downtown Long Beach is actually pretty picturesque. And this race seems to be the flattest of the three, with tons of distractions to satisfy my attention.


• I have friends in LA, so lodging is free
• Most of the course is along the ocean
• Weather should be great

• No direct flight
• 3-hour time difference (will that even matter?)

So what do you think? Anybody ever run one of these and have some insight to offer? Or am I missing an entirely different race I should throw into the consideration set? (FYI – Chicago 2012 is already closed.)


5 responses to “Washington, Canada or California?

  1. Ha! I have the Niagara Falls Marathon on my short list for this year as well! I’m thinking of flying into Buffalo, because that’s where the race starts. Haven’t made any real plans yet. That’s a really tough choice you have to make though. My vote goes to the falls!

    • I’m still making up my mind, but I think I’m leaning toward DC. You’re still planning on running the Derby Festival Mini (half), right?

      • Yes sir. Not looking forward to the two 5-hour drives I’ll be doing that weekend, but the race should prove fun. TheRunFactory.com will also be there, but he’s doing the full marathon. See you there!

  2. All sound wonderful, but I vote for DC for the selfish reason of I want to go!! Also, I think the wether would be best for running and the scenery would be the most captivating for you. You want to keep your mind off the pain and, knowing you, I’m not sure how long the ocean will do that… just saying.

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