In 2015, I ran a perfect Boston Marathon and ran such a happy race that I went into a marathon retirement of sorts. That year was the rainy one in Boston and I was slowly coming back after a bad experience with stress fractures. I had no expectations other than making sure I didn’t go out too hard and in the end, I ran a negative split, a PB and finished with a smile on my face.
Almost three years later, I decided to pick the marathon up again but I was having a hard time knowing where to start. Should I pick one of the world marathon majors [Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City]? Or perhaps choose a destination marathon?
In the end, I landed on a marathon that is essentially in my backyard. The Waterloo Marathon is a picturesque marathon that winds through familiar, rural countryside and even has a covered bridge on the course. It is held on April 29 and it starts at Bechtel Park which is so close to my house, I could do it as a warm up.
Considering I traditionally wrap my vacations around races, it was a bit unusual for me to choose my next marathon to be a smaller, local race but there are a few reasons why I decided to go with a race a little closer to home.
Less Stress – I find that spring is a busy time for me and many of my other marathon choices involved travel and logistics. One of my favourite parts about this race is that I can park right by the start line and if I really have the desire, show up a mere 10 minutes before the start of the race. (Although I am doubtful that I take advantage of this feature.)
I can run the course in advance – Often, when I have travelled for my marathons, I have needed to spend a lot of time pouring over the course map instead of running the course in advance. This race is held on many of my training roads which allows me to physically and mentally prep for the race in a way I haven’t had the ability to before.
Supporting local – This is one thing I have made a conscious choice to change in the past couple years. I love travelling and racing in new countries and cities but I don’t want to neglect to support the incredible local running scene in my own town. After all, it is our local running community that gives us the training partners, race courses and running stores that help us run in the first place!
Space – One of the best things about a larger marathon is the crowd support but I find it often comes at the expense of personal space. If I am gunning for a popular time, I am often in a large cluster of people which can be motivating for some, but I find it distracting. I love open stretches of road where I can dictate my pace and have a clear line of sight to where I am going.
Between my long runs, you can find me on Instagram at @lacesandlattes and on my personal blog.