Detroit Free Press Marathon

Detroit Free Press Marathon

Detroit Free Press Marathon

( 121 reviews )
95% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Detroit,
    United States
  • October
  • 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

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Two countries, one great race. From 26.2 to 5K, we have a distance for you.

Renee Barr

Wisconsin, United States
16 11
"Wonder Challenge"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Renee Barr's thoughts:

When the opportunity arose to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon for BibRave I jumped on it. This is one of the races that I have always wanted to run because I have heard such great things about it, plus my Dad ran it many, many years ago and I always like running the same races as he ran. I knew that I would not be able to run the full because I was running one a month prior and my body cannot handle two that close together, so I chose to run the wonder challenge (my first ever challenge) which consists of the 1 mile and 5k on Saturday and the International half on Sunday. The challenges were new this year and filled fast. There were some nice perks with running one of the challenges. I received a shirt and medal for each race as well as a pint glass AND final medal for the challenge. The shirts ran a bit small but they had a place you could exchange for a different size so I was able to get some that fit me better. I like when races do that because it is hard to tell what size you will need depending on the manufacturer of the shirt. So this added touch was much appreciated! This was by far one of the most organized races I have ever run! The expo was very big with everything you could want or need. One of the best expos I have been to in a very long time.
It was a bit cold out on Saturday but I like running in cooler weather so I was fine with that. First up was the 1 mile race followed by the 5k. The 1 mile course was flat and fast and the 5k had some great views as you ran the last part along the Detroit River walk. You had a view of Canada as well as the Detroit River and part of the skyline which was very cool. I saw tons of photographers on the course and I wound up with a few really nice pictures. And the best part is they are free! They had water bottles, chocolate milk, fruit, bars and pretzels after each race. I liked the variety of snacks they had.
Later that day I was able to go to a “behind the scenes” of the Marathon led by Executive race director Barbara Bennage. It was cool to get to learn a bit more about the day-to-day operations of getting ready for the race as well as getting to go to race headquarters and see the start line of the race ahead of time. One of my friends (Sandra) could not make it to the race but they let me pick up her shirt and goody bag. That was much appreciated!
Sunday came and it was time to head down to the start line. My friend Linda was also running the race and her husband Gordy was going to cheer us on. We parked for free at the MGM and got a spot on the first level! It was a bit difficult getting to the parking garage with all of the street closures but we eventually found a way around. We walked over to the start line which was a little over half a mile away. It was a pretty cold morning but with having Gordy along we were able to wear a jacket and give it to him right before the start.
I would have liked to see a few more port a potties near the corrals though. The race started and I waited about 20 minutes until my corral took off. Running over the Ambassador Bridge was a highlight and the views going over the bridge were amazing! You could see the Detroit skyline as well as Canada and it was breathtaking. I did stop to take a few pictures but I moved to the side of the road. Not everyone did which could be a problem if you were trying to get around them. My only major complaint has nothing to do with the race but all to do with the participants. I do a run/walk and have even walked a half marathon before but when I do walk I stay off to the side and try not to block those running. The issue I had was too many people walking side by side three or four across and you could not get through very easy. There were a lot of walkers that started in the same corral (L) as me and that should not have been. It is not only frustrating but can be dangerous. That is why they ask for a predicted time so that you are in the correct corral. That would probably be my only negative to say about the experience I had those two days.
Running through Canada was really cool and the views along the river were awesome. I wasn’t sure what to expect running through the tunnel back into the US, but I have to say it was kind of cool knowing you were running underwater. The volunteers, the police and the border patrol were absolutely the best! They were very encouraging. high fiving all the runners. The volunteers were right there with water, Gatorade, fruit and gel when needed. I honestly cannot say enough about the wonderful volunteers! I did not see as many photographers on the course like I did at the 5k the day before but I did get a few nice pictures from the half. I did not have any issues finding my pictures but I heard that quite a few others did have trouble. I was not a fan of how you had to locate them (through face recognition) and although there some that were mixed in with mine that were not even close to being me, I did find quite a few and most turned out well.
There was also a neighborhood that had a few tables set up and the residents were handing out pretzels, licorice, popcorn, fruit, as well as several other yummy food and drink items.
I liked how the full ran with the half almost the entire way but if I was running the full I do not think I would have liked coming that close to the finish line and then still having to run a half marathon.
I was happy to see the finish line because at that point I was ready to be done. They handed out a bag with all sorts of goodies (fruit, crackers and fruit snacks) as well as chocolate milk and water. I did not stay at the after party because it was cold and I was sweaty and just wanted a hot shower so, I headed over to pick up my final challenge medal. The medals were super sweet!
Of all of the races I have run this one was by far in the top five due to the organization, the course, the volunteers and the swag. Overall I really enjoyed this race and would love to run it again sometime. A few short days after the race I was able to claim my results on Athlinks! I highly recommend running this race and I will definitely be running this one again!

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