Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amica Marathon Spectator Recap

This is a marathon review from the perspective of a marathoner who didn't run this particular marathon but ran the half instead. The first half of the full marathon course is the half marathon course, and then the marathoners continue on at the half marathon finish line.

I ran and finished the half marathon. You can read about the first half here. Expect to see a beach, Newport Harbor, farms, Ocean Drive, and Newport Mansions.

After I was done with the half marathon, I was waiting for a runner to finish the marathon. So I went out on the course to mile 24. It was only about a mile from the finish line. I had a cow bell and a poster in my gear bag.

The poster was a hit. I got a lot of smiles and thank yous. A runner even stopped to take a picture of my poster. I think marathoners make good marathon spectators because we've been there and we know that support is really really important in those later miles.

The second half of the marathon is essentially an out-and-back in Middletown. While I did not run the full and I am not familiar with that area, my runner said that it is boring. No Newport Mansions or Ocean Drive for you, although parts of it run along a beach. My runner also said it was hilly but no more so than the first half, which I would characterize as rolling hills. Not flat but not unmanageable either. There is less spectator support than the first half. Actually, there isn't much spectator support on the half marathon course either because it is difficult to get to and it isn't heavily populated.

The marathon course is like the Chicago Marathon. I think it would be better if it ran backwards. I don't want interesting scenery first and boring scenery second. I want the interesting stuff at the end where I need motivation to keep going. Amica clearly caters to the half marathon. Kinda unfortunate since the marathon has been running for years and the half marathon was only added in 2009. Oh well, I guess that's the explosion in half marathons over the last few years. It is organized by the same company as Cox Rhode Races. While I would not recommend the Cox Rhode Races Marathon (read my recap here), Amica seemed much better.

Overall, I'd recommend the Amica Marathon. The shirts and medals are pretty. There are aid stations about every 2 miles. Three flavors of Gatorade for those of you who don't like lemon-lime. The post-race food area was restocked for the marathoners, and there was plenty left all the way to the end. I'm not sure what I think about the second half. I don't particularly like the idea of running with the half marathoners the entire way and then splitting off from the half marathon at the half marathon finish line. I don't particularly like the idea of little crowd support in the second half. But I'd consider running the Amica marathon. For 50 Staters, I'd certainly pick it over Cox Rhode Races for a Rhode Island marathon.

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