- 5 miles/8K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
The Irving Marathon was a generally positive experience for me because it was my first marathon and I finished.
The race itself is fairly new, however, and while I think has a lot of potential, some areas were lacking that prevented me from giving the race a higher rating.
The first half of the race was on point. I really have no complaints about it. There were frequent aid stations (almost at every mile), cheering families and volunteers and lots of signs to pump you up. The scenery was also fabulous and breathtaking.
However, after about mile 13, the aid stations became far less frequent and there was nobody out there to cheer other than the police directing traffic. As a first time marathoner, hitting my first real wall, this was very discouraging and made the race feel like it drug on. It really didn't feel like a race at all, just me running through a neighborhood on the road instead of the sidewalk.
I think this is fine if you're an experienced marathoner, trying to get a PR or Boston Qualifying time. It's not at all crowded, which is great if you're trying to be speedy. However, when you feel like you're completely alone, water stops are less and less frequent as the day becomes hotter, and volunteers are getting bored/annoyed at the point where your physical stamina is depleted, all of these factors become somewhat negative rather than positive.
I would suggest changing the marathon course so that the last half was broken up a bit more rather than 10 bleak, hilly miles through a suburban neighborhood. More importantly, I would also add more aid stations for the last half. Also, if the volunteers were all adults, that would be extremely helpful (it's great to have kids help out, but I'm concerned that it could be a safety issue if there's not many adults, which there weren't at several stations).
I still finished and relied on the support of other runners I found along the way, which was definitely cool, but I wouldn't recommend it to others for their first marathon until the race irons out some of the kinks and attracts a larger field of marathon runners.
It just felt like the race wasn't organized to take great care of the marathoners, who were out there the longest and paid the most money to be there (not that it's about money, but cost is certainly important). I'd still recommend it to marathoners who are pretty experienced as well, because a race is a race, and for the most part the volunteers/staff were really nice and the pricing was fair. Experienced runners know you can't always expect amenities, but if you've never raced a marathon before and don't know what to expect, these amenities might become important.
I would also recommend it to friends who were racing shorter distances, because of the enthusiasm and course support.
Overall, I wouldn't be opposed to running this race again; however, I will be planning to run a larger marathon before I come back because I'd like to have a different experience.