- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
This was my second marathon attempt and it went much better. This race is really set up into two halves of the race. And these two parts make for entirely distinct races in and of themselves. There was good support for the first four to eight miles, but then that drops off from there until the finish line.
The Course -- The first half of the marathon is in downtown Omaha and takes you through lots of the iconic downtown scenery that you look for. It also includes some of Omaha's hills, which makes it a better "Nebraka Marathon". All of this makes for a great half marathon. Unfortunately for the marathoners, the second race starts at that finish line, when you cross over the Missouri River and into Iowa (I know ... I know ... Nebraska Marathon and you run in Iowa ... WTH?). At this point you jump onto the bike trail that hugs the river and do a 6.5 mile out-and-back to finish the race off. This portion of the race is not scenic (unless you really like riverboat casinos) and there is no crowd at all. This race (the second half marathon) is not as much fun, and mentally tough.
The big thing about the course layout is that it leads to a fast course. A net downhill for the first half, then a flat second half. You can bank some time going downhill in the first, and then just cruise to the finish.
The Crowd -- The first half was great, the second half was not. But that's what a marathon is, you need to be mentally tough enough to finish the race.
The Aid Stations -- They were properly placed, every 2-2.5 miles. They had water, sports drink and every other station had gels or other treats to help with calories. They were well maned, and everyone was able to get fuel that wanted it.
The Swag -- Nice shirt that feels good. It's a great workout shirt. They also gave out a free tree to plant in honor of running the race. It's a nice touch that I appreciate. Why not improve where you live while running a race? Makes sense to me. The medal is nice, but again another race that didn't distinguish between a Half Marathon and a Marathon runner.
The Expo/Party -- The expo was just a pick up and get a tree while in a bar. Not much there. However, the finish line included calling out the names and finish times of runners, music to wind down, food and drinks. The drinks included at least one free beer from Nebraska Brewing (great beer). That was nice. However, since I live an hour away, I left early to get home.
Overall -- This newer race is a great one in the fall if you're looking for a fast race. The hills in the first half are still mostly downhill, and that leads to a flat second half that can help you nail your goal. On this race I set a new marathon PR and hit my goal of a Sub-Ten marathon.