2009 ING Hartford Marathon). Next up is the Manchester City Marathon in Manchester, NH. This is something of a home-town race for me since I work in Manchester and run on the course (miles 19-24ish) almost every time I run at work during the school year. I've also run the Manchester Half-Marathon each of the past two years, earning my Half-Marathon PR there last year with a time of 1:29:47. The course is hilly and challenging, but for those of us who train regularly in northern New England, this is par for the course. Personally, I prefer a slight degree of hilliness to a flat course since it allows me to work my legs in different ways on the up and down-hills. Anyway, below is a Manchester City Marathon course map provided by MapMyRun.com, along with a detailed elevation profile provide by the same site (with a few comments to follow).
Below is the elevation map recorded by my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch for the 2009 Manchester City Marathon:
A few observations about the course:
1. Most of the course is in the city of Manchester or its suburbs, so if you're expecting an idyllic New England setting you'll likely be disappointed. That being said, I enjoy the course, and parts of it are certainly pretty (e.g., the trail through Livingston Park, the view from the Saint Anselm Campus).
2. The uphills are tough, and there's no getting around that fact. There are long and fairly significant uphills from about mile 1.5 to 4.5, from mile 13.5-14, and from mile 16-18.5. There's also an evil looking speed-bump in the final mile which I have yet to experience myself.
3. The positive tradeoff to the climbs is that what goes up must come down, and each of the hills is followed almost immediately by a significant downhill - these downhills offer a great chance to regain lost energy. For example, there is a nice long downhill starting around mile 19 straight through mile 24 (it's downright steep around mile 20.5 as you head down Rundlett Hill Rd. - I run this particular segment frequently). Even the smaller hills allow almost immediate reprieve once you hit the top. If you like lots of elevation change, this is the course for you.
4. The crowds are great at times, particularly in the downtown area, but I've heard that it can get pretty sparse in the second half. The water stop at the St. Anselm campus is staffed by the cross-country team (several of whom are or have been students of mine), and in the past they have been known to run along with struggling runners to help them along. They're a great group, and I may be requiring their aid at about that time!
5. The weather can be pretty cold in early November. It's probably likely to be in the 30's-40's at the start, and maybe warming up into the 50's by the end (that's about what happened last year). You just have to hope that there's no cold rain or snow!
I'm sure there are other things I could mention, but I'll leave that to the comments. If you happen to read this and have any questions, feel free to shoot away in the comments and I'll see if I can answer them. Thanks for stopping by!
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