Monday, February 13, 2012

Choosing a Marathon based on Elevation?

So I'm thinking about doing marathon #2 this spring, but am not quite sure which one.  I have a couple options: the Kalamazoo marathon or the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, both on May 6th.  Kzoo is an hour and a half away and the Pig is about a five hour drive.

Then I looked at the elevation of both races, because if I'm going to do a second marathon, I don't want hills.
Kalamazoo Marathon (click on pic to zoom)
Flying Pig Marathon
Holy crap!  They both look hilly.  ESPECIALLY when you compare them to the Detroit Marathon I ran in October:
Detroit Marathon
The hill at mile 3 was no big deal but the one at mile 25 seemed BRUTAL!  So while yesterday I was ready to register for marathon #2, today I'm doubting my ability to tackle the hills...  I think I've just gotten into my head and I just need to knock out another good run to set my mind straight.

Have you ever chosen a race based on elevation?  How important is it?  Before now, I've never even thought about it or ever looked at an elevation map...  Maybe ignorance really is bliss :)


  1. Don't let the hills scare you!!! I've heard the Cincinnati marathon is a really great race, and if you look at the elevation chart, it's only a few miles that would be really challenging, and they're in the beginning! And come on, a few hundred feet is nothing =)

    Embrace the hills! They make you faster and stronger! Just do some hill repeats a few times in your training and you'll be good to go.

    But... to answer your question- yes, I choose races based on elevation. Though where I live, it's almost impossible to find something that doesn't have hills. Even though I hate them, I've found they DO help break up the monotony of a flat course, they even help keep me from getting too sore (they use different muscles so I'm not constantly hurting in the same place. does that make sense?)

    Ok, didn't mean for this comment to be a novel =)

  2. I ran Kalamazoo last year, and while the hills aren't necessarily huge, there are tons of them. However, I loved the course overall and the field isn't too packed so there's lots of room while you're running.

    I almost always check out elevation when I'm choosing a race but it doesn't always factor in to my final decision. Kzoo was one of those races because I knew I wanted to run a spring marathon and that was one of the only ones in MI. Whatever you choose, you'll be great!