- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay, Other
- Road Race
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I ran the Maine Coast Marathon as part of the 39.3 challenge the day after completing the half marathon. You can find my review of the half here: https://www.bibrave.com/races/maine-coast-marathon/7468. I was excited about this weekend adventure but the whole experience was quite underwhelming.
Expo: as detailed in my half marathon report, the expo was small with very little to offer. They had already started running out of shirt and jacket sizes within the first hour on the first day of the expo, even though we chose specific sizes when registering. Wouldn't they order the sizes we selected months in advance. Also, everything with this race is nickel and dimed. The earliest registration fee for the challenge is $140 and it goes up to $170 late registration. This includes a finishers jacket (although like I said, they ran out of sizes and some participants didn't get their jackets at all). The race shirt is extra. Bag drop costs extra. Shuttle to the start costs extra. You can pay $60 more for "VIP" and get private bathrooms (not needed at such a small race), a sling bag (cheap quality), the locker, the shuttle bus, etc. However, these are all things that are included in any other race I've attended, for less than $140. The volunteers at the expo were not well trained and not friendly.
The course: running on roads not closed to traffic and often without "protective" cones. Running on the right side of the road, not facing traffic. This just all seems like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, it's still early season in the area so there wasn't too much traffic (the weather also kept people away), but there were several instances where cars were let in between runners on the course, and sped around runners around blind turns. Scary. The rolling hills were more difficult than the half but still pretty beginner friendly. Not taking into account the terrible weather, the course was more boring than I had expected. We only ran along the beach for a couple of miles (maybe not a bad thing on a day with terrible rain and wind), but the rest of the course was on 2 lane highways or through neighborhoods. Not super interesting.
Aid stations: every 2 miles, and half of the stations had some food item such as cookies, sports beans, chicken broth, peanut butter pretzels, etc. The aid stations were small but they were probably the most well-done aspect of the whole event.
Volunteers: Interestingly, the volunteers during the marathon were MUCH better than during the half. Even in the terrible weather, they were much more enthusiastic and helpful. Volunteering is tough and these lovely people really made a tough race do-able for the runners. That said, there were obviously some gross miscommunication that led to at least one volunteer misdirecting about half of the field to run an extra half mile, costing some a Boston qualifying time. The race is not offering any remediation for this error aside from apology and varying explanations for why it happened.
Post race food: Almost non-existent. Mini-bagels and peanut butter, some pretzels, banana slices (when I asked for a whole banana they said no, even though most people had finished/left already and there were plenty left).
I think I would be a little less harsh in my reviews had we felt that the race offered a friendly environment. I was hoping for a small town, friendly, enthusiastic event, but I've been to large city races that felt much more fun and friendly than this race.