Fort Wayne ,
- 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
I first ran the Fort4Fitness Marathon in its inaugural year in 2016. For a first year marathon (not a first year event however) it was a very well run race and thought that I would probably return at some point. It was not in my original plans to run it in 2018, but when a 24 hour deal came up to register for $26.20, I thought it would be worth doing it, even if it were just a training run.
To save even more money, Tina and I decided not to get a hotel room and just drive there race day. It works out nice because if you live over 40 miles away from Fort Wayne, IN, you can get race day packet pickup. While I did miss out on the expo, it was nice to sleep in my own bed. It all sounded like a great idea until the day of, when having to wake up at 3:30 for a 6:30 race.
Anyways, we arrived in Fort Wayne at around 5:30. I didn’t realize that the gates for packet pickup and gear check did not open until 6:00, so we waited in the car for a little bit. The race day packet pick up was quick but felt very rushed to get my bib on, gear ready, bag checked, and to the starting line on time. I would like to see the gear check and packet pickup open a half an hour earlier.
The start of the race was right outside the Fort Wayne Tin Caps minor league baseball stadium. At this time of year, at 6:30 in the morning, it is still dark. While there are street lights on most of the course, I would not say that the streets are well lit. Combine that with some small pot holes on the roads, it can be a little dangerous. This was especially noticeable miles 5 through 7 when you were on a bike path and there were no street lights. The sun was just barely coming up at that time, but it was still impossible to see any holes. I think for this reason, the race start time should be pushed back a half an hour.
This year, they also made a course change for the marathon. In the past 2 years, it has been a course of four loops. It followed the 4 mile course, the 10k course, the half marathon course, and another loop to make up the distance. This year, it followed the half marathon course twice. People complained about the old course because you passed the stadium where you finished 3 times before actually finishing. I guess people allow this to mess with their minds or something. I preferred the old course. The tougher hills are only on the half course, so we had to run those twice. Not to mention the log stretch of no turns from the start of the race until mile 4 and then again mile 13 to mile 17. Yuck.
What makes this race really good though are the communities that you run through especially from miles 8-12 and then again miles 21-25. They come out and decorate their neighborhoods and really support the runners. Great to see community involvement.
Overall it is a nice course, I really don’t have much to complain about in that area. Just wish the race started later in the morning so that it would be easier to see. We got lucky on the weather and it was in the low 50s at the start. Maybe that is part of the fear of the later start that the weather will get too warm.
The swag was alright. A little disappointment in the shirt. It was a poly cotton blend shirt. Just give me the tech shirt. Also, scale down the design on the shirt a little. It was just too much. Not my favorite shirt, but I will get some use out of it. The medal had the same design as the shirt. I would like for the actual race name to be more prominent so that I can easily tell what race it was from. Also, I am not one to complain about race medals and their sizes, but if you are giving out medals for all races involved, the sizes should be different and it should be easy to tell the difference between each medal. There was no size difference between my medal and my wife’s half marathon medal. The only difference is, in small letters, hers says half marathon and mine says marathon.
Overall, for the $26.20 I paid for this race, it was well worth it for a training run. It can be a fast course if the weather is right. Looking at the results, I don’t think that there were many Boston qualifiers at this race, but this could have a lot to do with the changes to the standards just a couple of days before the race. There were also only 175 finishers in the marathon.