Detroit Free Press Marathon

Detroit Free Press Marathon

Detroit Free Press Marathon

( 120 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

See more of our race!

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

Angie Maske-Berka

Iowa, United States
177 212
"Bring your passport...."
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Angie Maske-Berka's thoughts:

The 2017 event took place on Sunday, October 15 at 7 am. There was a chance for rain, it was around 60 ish degrees and cloudy. The wind would eventually gust near 40 mph.

Registration: I do not recall the price for this race, I feel like it's comparable to other marathons. Registration closed at the end of August for the international distances. There is no registration at the expo. Included with registration was a long sleeve, tech blend New Balance shirt, a multi-functional head wrap, a sticker, bib with timing chip, finisher medal and a virtual event bag.

Expo/Packet pickup: The expo was the place to get your bib. Each participant had to bring an ID and their passport to get their own bib. If you didn't have your bib number a computer was available to look it up. If you had a question volunteers staffed an information booth or you could also ask a border patrol officer.
-The expo was in the huge COBO center. In the beginning was the race merchandise, then you snaked through in one direction passing each vendor. Easy to navigate. Many running stores with apparel, local businesses and area races.
-There was parking in an around downtown for a fee. A parking suggestion map was posted online.
*I felt there weren't as many freebies, photo opportunities, or giveaways to sign up for as compared to similar sized expos. I walked through twice.

Pre-Race: Lots of email communication sent regarding all aspects of the race - international requirements, expo, countdowns, race day weather, etc.
-Participants were encouraged to use a parking app to find a place to park near the start/finish area. Parts of the race course would close roads starting at 4 am.
-Three races started at the same time - Marathon, Marathon relay, International Half marathon. (The US only half started later)
-Starting corrals A-N. Information was sent & posted about what street to use to enter your corral. Corrals did not have a closing time. *I felt the street was very congested to get to the corral entrance. No one was checking bibs at my corral entry.
-Gear check located in the post race finisher area. Use clear bag provided at bib pick up.
-Port-o-potties on the side streets.
-Announcements and music played leading up to start time.
-Canadian and US National Anthem were sung live.

Race/Course: The course is international. Near the 3 mile mark you start running across a bridge to Windsor, Ontario and then back through and underwater tunnel into the USA at mile 8, where you then tour a small section of Detroit.
-Scenery - Variety of things to see: river front, border crossings, residential, island park, parts of downtown
-Terrain - For the most part, the course was a form of pavement. The parts that were asphalt had some hazards, just watch your footing. There was also some section with brick.
-Elevation - The bridge crossings and tunnel entrances were the biggest climbs, otherwise Detroit is relatively flat
-Spectators - Lots of spectators near the downtown sections of Detroit and in Canada.
-Aid Stations - Lots of hydration stops. All liquids were in paper cups. Each station was different,
a cup of Gatorade here a cup of water there or the Gatorade was second, after water. While they had 2 different cups, sometimes the liquids were not in their matching cup. There were a couple official stops with gels. No official real food stops.
-Unofficial aid stations - the residential areas from mile 15-18 had beer and candy. Team World Vision had orange slices near mile 20.
-Course markings- Each race had a color, blue was the marathon and each mile was marked with a blue tear drop flag.
-Photographers at the start - on the course, and at the finish. Will have pictures available for sale after the race.
-Volunteers - There were tons of volunteers on the course. Friendly, and all seem to be paying attention to their duty.
-Law Enforcement- Intersections were all closed, some with 3 police officers. Entering Canada was guarded with border patrol, some with HUGE guns. Border patrol was checking for bibs before crossing the bridge.
-Pacers provided by Beast Pacing
-On course entertainment - bands and musicians

Finish: As runners ran down the final stretch, race officials told runners to go to a certain side of the road based on bib color, which I think determined your finisher medal, based on distance. An announcer was speaking names of finishers.
-A medal was hung around your neck.
-There were tables to grab a small bottle of water and/or a cup of Gatorade.
-Volunteers were handing out heat sheets
-Bottles of chocolate milk were offered.
-A volunteer walked towards me and handed me a bag of food - pretzels, banana, Dole fruit cup, trail mix, tropical mix, a cookie type snack.
-There was a back drop for a finisher picture.

Post Race: The advertised post race was a merchandise tent, massage for marathoners, gear check, food trucks and beer.

My race: Running wise I felt good going into this race, I had a great last 20 miler, and I knew I would finish in the 6.5 hour time frame.
-I was most nervous about crossing the border. The pre- race communication discouraged bringing a hydration pack as they were subject to a search, and I didn't want to risk losing one of my nice packs, so that meant I was drinking the lemon lime Gatorade on course. (I feel this limits those who don't drink Gatorade)
-Since I didn't have the extra space in a pack for my fuel, I had to be creative with a belt that wouldn't cause me to get searched, but could carry my passport, phone and food. I am someone who does not use gel for running. The race had no advertised actual food on course, so I stuffed some gummis and a waffle in the pockets of my shorts.
-After I had all my ducks in a row, I was having a great race... then at mile 23... the wheels came off, and I was running against a strong headwind the last 3 miles. I was definitely struggling, but knew I would make it to the finish line. Which I did at a time around 5:27, according to my Garmin stats. I was also not running the tangents, so I was long with 27 miles.

Other: The race start is very crowded, and I started all the way back in corral K. People need to move to the side of the course to take pictures, especially on the bridge or in the tunnel.
-I was asked to take someone's picture in the finisher chute as she was discouraged to use her own phone to take a photo in front of the finisher backdrop. Instead the official race photographer would take your finisher photo, so you could then pay for it later.
-I am obviously not a fast runner, but I was also an hour before the official race was over. I am also not sure if the weather is clouding my thoughts. It was windy, and rain was sprinkling as I finished. I walked to the post race area - there was no merchandise available for sale (maybe a good thing it sold out,) the beer was $5 (money went to charity) I am still searching for where this was published ahead of time. There was no post race party. I walked a long way, out of my way for no post race scene.
-The last runner to cross the finish line should have the same experience as the first.
-Pictures ... where do I begin, they just cost too much. I don't want to pay $20 for a picture of myself.
-Real food on course would be great, especially with the cautionary limit of what you should carry across the border.

Overall: I really want to like this race more. The shirt and medal are great. I really enjoyed the course and running across the border which was easy, not a big deal, and perhaps the only perk the race needs. While I can recommend this race, there are too many other races that I would choose first.

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