This weekend I had a chance to participate in the Twin Cities Marathon… as an observer (you were about to be impressed with me though, weren’t you?). I had the pleasure of watching my fiancé run his second marathon.
After watching him train for months, this was a highly anticipated day and certainly an exciting event to witness. Though this was not my first marathon (I’ve watched a couple in Boston), it was my first time knowing one of the runners. That made the experience all the more meaningful and impressive.
The Twin Cities/Medtronic Marathon had over 12,000 runners this year and is said to be one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the country. It begins at the Metrodome, winds around the Minneapolis lakes, up the Mississippi river and ends at the Capitol in St. Paul. It was a gorgeous day, with perfect running weather and outstanding scenery. With the fall leaves starting to turn and crowds out in droves cheering and encouraging, it was quite a sight to behold.
Here are my tips on participating as an observer:
It can be a bit crazy trying to find parking at some of the key places you might want to watch the runners. I saw a number of people biking and though I drove, it seems that a two-wheeled transportation method is certainly the way to go. You can get a bit of exercise and also enjoy checking out the various hot spots for cheering without the hassle of navigating small streets and worrying about avoiding the race course.
It’s important to coordinate cheering spots with your runners (you know approximately when they will be there and they know where to look for you). Prime cheering spots include: Lake Calhoun, along Minnehaha Parkway, Summit Ave, John Ireland blvd (which is the last mile and also where most people go to watch the runners finish).
Bring snacks for the runners. They really appreciate it and it’s nice to feel like you can participate and help them in little ways. Great snacks include: jolly ranchers, gum, bananas, oranges, beers (Believe it. People really do drink as they go!).
Cheer! I asked those I know who ran if it really makes any difference and they insist that the cheering is certainly motivational and gives them an adrenaline rush. Every bit helps!
One thing I found a bit frustrating is the finish line area. It was packed and difficult to see. And it can be hard to find people finishing the race. There is also secured post-race area for runners picking up their metals, re-hydrating, eating, resting, etc. Make sure you communicate with your family and friends where you want to meet up once they finish the race. Some runners have cell phones with them, but most do not and you really don’t want to make them look for you after running 26 miles:)
Overall, I was impressed with the general sense of camaraderie that marathon provokes for runners and observers. People of all ages and physical capabilities were out there giving it their all and I was proud of their efforts. It’s quite an accomplishment and I look forward to giving it a go myself some day down the road.
What did you think of this review?