I ran the Montgomery Half Marathon in 2015; I enjoyed it so much that I signed up to run the full marathon in 2016 as soon as registration opened. The Montgomery Marathon was my second full marathon; I was ready for an opportunity to try it again.
The location for me is excellent. It is a short drive (less than 90 minutes) from where I live. I love staying downtown; the hotel I chose gave me a short walk to the start line.
I'd been training in the cold for months, so I was a little anxious about the rise in temperature and the possibility of a thunderstorm. (My main concern was that the storm would arrive and we would not be permitted to finish; thank God that didn't happen.) Thankfully, I knew what to expect for the first half of the course and that allowed me to settle down.
The aid stations are superior during the first half of the race; the people are genuinely glad to have you there and assist in anyway that they can. A special shout out to the River City Church at Mile 4; I love their enthusiasm and the oranges.
Montgomery has a special place in my heart, since my mother attended grad school there (ASU) and I grew up near Selma. The historical sites on the route are not to be missed; running down Dexter Avenue after mile 11 is simply awesome.
I was so glad to make the left turn at the split and head to Maxwell Air Force Base; I just felt so fortunate to be able to experience it :-)! Loved the hospitality of the guards at the entrance; clapping and cheering as we entered. There were also some families on base, sitting in chairs in front of their homes and providing encouragement. Unfortunately, there were no other spectators other than the designated course guides and aid station personnel. I understand that there are probably security issues to prevent others from being on the base. Hopefully, more volunteers can be added in the future. More volunteers are certainly needed on the River Road/trail area; there are signs for wild animals, specifically, alligators. Having someone in this area to help spot these creatures would be helpful.
One reviewer (Samantha Andrews) has accurately pointed out that there are no timing mats for this marathon. This is certainly needed given the vastness of the course, especially on the Air Force Base. I hope that the organizers will be able to add this feature for future races, to add integrity to the event and to also allow runners to note their paces at the standard intervals (i.e., 5k, 10k, half, 25k, etc.).
Overall, I REALLY enjoyed my second full marathon! I improved my time by 21 minutes, despite the heat and humidity. Also, I was able to enjoy it with my twin sister, my usual running partner. I hope the event continues to grow. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a marathon with an attractive, small town appeal, this is the one for you. Run Montgomery! :-)