- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
The Buffalo Marathon was my first destination race and one that I had marked on my calendar for quite sometime. Buffalo was a 3.5 hour drive and provided many options for additional sightseeing if that is your thing. How could you not want to partake in seeing one of the seven wonders of the world, Niagara Falls? The race falls on Memorial Day so allows for families or runners to make a long weekend out of it and enjoy all that Buffalo has to offer. I will dive into the extras that all races offer, which sometimes can be the deciding factor when registering. Therefore stealing from The Buffalo Marathon, "The Race Awaits!!!"
Expo: I felt that the expo was very well organized and provided an equal amount of race gear and race promoters. The packet pick up was easily identified, where awesome volunteers were handing out your race swag. This is where you picked up your token to the Pasta Party if optioned. Throughout the expo you could find several photo ops were with the Buffalo Marathon logo to show off that race bib. This was the first time that I spent an extra amount of time at an expo and was mainly in part to the star studded line up of speakers. Anywhere from self motivators to past olympians!
• Bart Yasso
• Melissa Kahn
• Fitz Koehler
• Jeff Galloway
• Tim Kaufman
Unfortunately due to a late start in my travels I missed fellow BibRavePro Melissa Kahn speaking, bummer. The higlights of the day where listening to Bart Yasso speak about running the Bare Buns 5k!!! Joking aside Bart has been an inspiration to many runners, including myself! Next it was to listen to Fitz speak about strength training for runners. Talk about a segment that I needed to hear, as strength training is one aspect of my running that is non existent! I look forward to embarking on a new journey that will have me looking at faster times and a BQ. I finished up the evening at the Pasta party where we were treated to Pasta, with a variety of sauces, meatballs or chicken, rolls or fresh bread, and a salad that was better than any salad bar I've seen. A wide variety of beverages were served, including Mile 27 the beer and brewed for the marathon. To finish it off coffee and desserts were on hand! Great way to spend pre-race day!
The swag in my opinion was top notch. I particularly like the 1/4 zip race shirt. The colors just stood out and one that I could find myself wearing outside of racing. The medals across the board were amazing looking and featured a Buffalo holding an American Flag (see picture). An additional swag item for those running the marathon was a key chain (Buffalo head) symbolizing your achievement of conquering 26.2 miles.
Parking was not an issue for the Expo or on Race Day from what I could tell. I purchased a race weekend parking pass for $25, as my hotel was about 1.5 miles from the start and finish lines. I definitely did not feel like having to walk after running the full. I was a bit concerned as race guide mentioned roads closing down at 5am, but arrived at my parking spot, less than a .25 mile and was surprised to see the lot not full. Free parking was also offered in a parking deck about .5 miles away. No issues here.
Talk about knocking your socks off. Race Management by far was the most organized I've seen in a while. Greg Weber and team seemed to have all the details planned out for any surprises that possibly could have been encountered. Additionally I felt informed over the five months while waiting for race day. The social media team was very engaging and posted about the race frequently!
Now on to what you all have been waiting to hear about....The Race!
Another thing I like about the race is the start time...6:30am! Allows a start with cooler weather and most of all me finishing without feeling it took a good part of the day. Even only with starting 30 mins prior to most races. I arrived as runners started converging on downtown Buffalo for a Sunday morning race. Cool temps and sunny skies. The music was rocking and race announced Fitz Koehler was interacting with the crowd! 6:30 approached and the corrals started to fill. Sooner before you knew it the National Anthem was being sang and ended with a firework display! Racers were off...
I truly enjoyed this course as you started off leaving downtown Buffalo into a residential area. Crowd support lined the streets and were very energetic. You made a turn at mile 3 and headed back downtown to once again a large crowd. Around mile 6 you headed out towards the run along the lake. A cool breeze and if you didn't pay attention could catch yourself gazing off into the water. Once again around mile 11 you headed back towards the downtown area, running by Key Bank arena, home of the Buffalo Sabers. Next you headed back towards the half marathon finish, where is marathoners headed back out towards Delaware Park. Finally finishing up you turned and made your way back to the finish downtown. The scenery was a variety of landmarks in Buffalo, upscale residential areas and the Lakefront. The crowd support was wild and one that I expected after reading previous reviews and know why this race sells out on a regular basis!
The aid stations were staffed by volunteers who were amazing. For me volunteers can give you an added lift when you are struggling and needing a pick me up. Water stations for the first 13 miles were spaced out every two miles and offered water and Gatorade. You knew exactly what you were getting as a volunteer was positioned before you hit the station providing instructions for what to expect first. Multiple volunteers were staffing each stations and don't believe I ever had to slow down or wait for liquids. Energy gels were offered at mile 8, 12, 15, 18 if my memory serves me correctly. Hands down awesome job on the aid stations. After mile 13, aid stations were stationed every mile. I saw medical staff at several of the stations just in case there was a need for it.
Looking for a fast race??? This is it...the elevation was non existent. Well not really. There were a few hills but nothing that would bring you to your knees. Total elevation gain was 473 feet. Definitely a course I enjoyed running.
If you haven't registered for 2018, something is wrong. Hands down this race is a must run. The crowds alone have me registering for next year. A well laid out race providing something for every distance! The expo was great, especially the speakers as I felt I left an more educated runner! So don't hesitate any longer and Run Buffalo in 2018!!!