Fort Wayne ,
- 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
- Event Website
The 9th annual Fort4Fitness Fall Festival had a new feature to its 2016 event. The Fall Festival has had a half marathon, 10k and 4 mile run in the past, but this year, they added a marathon. For whatever reason, I always said I would not drive an hour and a half to Fort Wayne to run in Fort4Fitness until they added a marathon. To me, Fort Wayne was too big of a city not to have a marathon. Once it was announced that there would be a marathon, I jumped on board and registered.
So the big question, when the marathon was announced, was what will the course be? Probably about a month or two later, it was announced that the course would be a series of 4 loops. The first loop was just passed 3 miles long. 2nd loop was the 10k course, 3rd loop was the half marathon course, and the 4th loop was the 4 mile course.
A lot of people were not happy about the course, and decided not to even run the race. I see some really good advantages to this though. For one, as a race organization, they didn't have to go out and find more volunteers for aid stations. Some of the aid station forvthe marathon were used 4 times by each runner. Also, really didn't need to close off any more streets than they did in past years, just needed to close them off earlier. Are there other places around Fort Wayne to showcase on the marathon course? Probably, but that does require double the resources as they were already using.
The expo is held the day before the even at Parkview Field in downtown. For the size of the event, this was a lot bigger of an expo than I expected. There was a wide selection of race merchandise available as well as a lot of vendors. Packet pick up was quick and easy. Great looking shirts this year as well.
Parking for both the race and expo was right by the baseball stadium. Real convenient. Also on race morning, gear check was available inside the stadium.
For this being the first year of the marathon, I thought that it was very well done and I really don't have anything to complain about.
The course: very nice course. Not the flattest course I have ever ran on, but the hills do keep you honest. If you are close to a Boston Qualifying time, this is a very good option. Also, if you have friends and family who want to come out and watch you run, the looped course makes this very possible. They will see you at least 4 times, and if they move around just right, they could see you probably at least at 8 different points. Also would be easy to and the police did a great job of controlling the crossing car traffic. The course does offer some scenery along a couple of golf courses and some nice neighborhoods where the communities did come out and support the runners. And of course, the finish is awesome. You enter Parkview Field in the left field corner of the stadium and run all the way around the warning track and then to around to the first base and the police did a great job of controlling the crossing car traffic. With everything going on in the country, I made sure to tank each officer I saw on the course. The course does offer some scenery along a couple of golf courses and some nice neighborhoods where the communities did come out and support the runners. And of course, the finish is awesome. You enter Parkview Field in the left field corner of the stadium and run all the way around the warning track and then to around to the first base dugout where the finishline is.
Aid stations: aid stations offered water and Gatorade. They got it right by having the Gatorade first at all the aid stations. Also at the end of each lap was an aid station with Gu. Plenty of volunteers at each station.
Swag: as I stated, the shirts are pretty sweet and the medals looked good to. I don't care much but there really wasn't much difference between the full and half medals. The size were the same, the ribbons were about identical. I would suggest making the full a little bigger.
Post race food: first off, any race that has chocolate milk at the finish is doing it right. They also had apples, bananas, pretzels, and granola. There might have been more, but that's what I got. My only issue was that it wasn't really clear on where the food was. I guess I thought since the concessions were open that there was no free food for runners. I even went back to the hotel to shower before finding it in the tent behind center field.
Would I recommend this race? Absolutely! Come check it out next fall. Great course, great support, great environment.