Category Archives: Races

Best and Easy Marathons For Beginners

If you are new to marathon running you will need to find the most friendly marathon for a beginner. Marathons are different, some are easy and others are hard. Marathons like Honolulu and New York city marathon may feel appealing and exciting to a newbie runner but the routes have several hilly sections that an inexperienced runner will find brutal and intense.

To make things easy for you, here is a selection of some of the best marathon races for beginners. Most of them have an excellent combination of flat course, perfect weather, good organization, crowd support and large number of average runners.

When looking for an easy marathon don’t just focus on the flatness of the course. Things such as an exciting crowd (runners & spectators) and good weather can make a route with a few hilly sections seem bliss. If you are just after a flat course, look at flat and fast marathon courses.

Best Marathons for Beginners

Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco

Not the flattest marathon. The course has some hilly sections but they will be no problem if you do proper training. This is a race targeted at female runners and naturally all 25,000 runners are women. Expect lots of female banter on the course. There is a bra exchange on mile 7, chocolate give aways at mile 22 and to crown your effort, firefighter dressed in tuxedo will hand you a cute Tiffany & Co necklace at the finish. The race is hosted every October. For details see http://www.facebook.com/NWM26.2

Disney Princess Half-Marathon

This race is designed for a “girlfriends only” type of weekend. It is a race every beginner runner can bring his girlfriends along. The 13.1-mile course winds through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks. For moral support, Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of your favorite Disney characters will be cheering you on as you make your way to the finish line to collect your tiara-shaped medal. The race is held every February. Race details at Disney Princess official site.

Marine Corps Marathon

The MCM is known as “The People’s Marathon” because it is open to all runners ages 14 and above and is the largest marathon that does not offer prize money. The course varies slightly from year to year but it is generally friendly to regular runners who make up the 30,000 participants. The race typically occurs on the final Sunday in October, a few weeks before the United States Marine Corps birthday on November 10. Race details at MCM official site.

Easy Marathon races for beginners or first time marathon runners

L.A Marathon

L.A. is the home of Hollywood and the organizers make an extra effort to make every runner feel somebody important at least for duration of your run. They provide personalized bibs (with your first name in big letters). Spectators will shouting your name while urging you on. Los Angeles marathon will leave felling a somebody!

Rock n Roll Marathon Series

Rock & roll marathons are a series of marathon that are held in major cities in America. They are held in Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, St. Louis, Nashville, Washington, Miami etc. They have added to 3 races in Europe, Madrid in Spain, Dublin in Ireland and Edinburgh in Scotland. The series are famous for their style of fusing live music with running. Live bands are stationed along the routes to perform for runners. Imagine reaching at the half way mark and finding your favorite local band performing? They alos half marathon races and 10K race for those who a full marathon is not their cup of tea. To find a Rock and roll race near you go to competitor group website.

Flat and Fast Marathon Courses

We all love marathons with flat and fast courses, they are fun and easy to run. They are the sort of races where you are likely to polish up your running CV by setting a new personal best. Here is a list of 5 marathons with flattest and fastest courses. They are from USA and Europe.

Fastest Marathon Courses

Austin Marathon

The course of Austin marathon is relatively flat. But what makes it even more fast is excellent organization. The race has more water and food stands to hydrate and feed the runners, than are typical of marathons elsewhere.

The start line of the  Marathon and Half Marathon is located at 16th Street and Congress Avenue. The courses meanders along Austin’s most scenic and historic areas, including Lady Bird Johnson Lake, the Allandale and Hyde Park neighborhoods, Congress Avenue, the University of Texas campus, and the State Capitol complex. Data from official site.

If the flat course is not enough reason to power you racing to the finish line, there are over 30 rock bands lined up along the course to cheer you on.

Napa Valley Marathon

This marathon was voted by Forbes magazine as one of the best marathons in the world. The course runs the length of the famed Napa Valley wine-growing region. It start line is at Calistoga, famous for its geysers and curative waters, and then moves south along the historic Silverado Trail to finish at Vintage High School in north Napa. Apart from the flat and fast course, on the background of the course are views of the valley, flowering fruit trees, and dormant vineyards carpeted with golden mustard flowers. At the bottom of official site, there is this warning “If you cannot finish the race within the 6 hour time limit, please do not enter and take an entry spot away from a runner who can finish within the allotted time.”

Philadelphia Marathon

The welcome message on the official site says it all “Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer, Philadelphia is the place for you. We’ve designed our course to be scenic, fan-friendly and, above all, great for running. It’s no wonder we’re consistently listed among the top ten races in the country, recognized for our mostly flat terrain, ideal temperature and awesome atmosphere.”

Boston Marathon

Although Boston is known for being hilly. The word “Hilly” is deceptive. Majority of the hilly sections are sections where you are running down hill. When running down hill it is very easy to run fast. NB. The fastest time ever ran on a marathon course was set at Boston marathon by Patrick Makau of Kenya.

Flattest Marathon Courses

Berlin Marathon

There is a good reason why so many new marathon record times have been set at this icon european race. This German race is well known for its flat and even surface. Another element that aids the runners is the perfect autumn weather.The course starts and finishes near the Brandenburg Gate.The race has a good spectator support.  The race slogan is “Marathon party at the fastest course in the world.” See official Berlin marathon site.

Las Vegas Marathon

The race is part of Rock & Roll marathon series. The marathon and half marathon courses are as flat and festive as they come – perfect for runners and walkers of all ability levels. Although the course is flat, the race has a carnival atmosphere that can act as a distraction. There is a drive through wedding(Yes, you can renew your vows while running) and so many runners running dressed in Elvis costume.  See Las Vegas Marathon.

Funny & Inspiring Running Quotes on Runners T-shirts

If you want to see creativity, look at the back of a runner’s T-shirts. The quotes on a runner’s T-shirt is a testament of his/her philosophy; Some are serious but some are funny. Some quotes are so funny that we never forget them, I still remember the funniest quote I saw during my first marathon “Run like you stole something”

The quotes can be used during 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon or ultra marathon races.

Funny & Inspiring Running Quotes to Print on your T-shirt

Here is a collection of some Funny Quotes seen on runners T-shirt although some are from spectator signs. My all time favorite running quote is “No one ever drowned in sweat.”

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Having a true faith is the most difficult thing in the world. Many will try to take it from you.”

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.”

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”

“Life’s battles don’t always go to the strongest or fastest man,

“But sooner or later the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.”

“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

inspring and funny quotes on runners t-shirt

“Man imposes his own limitations, don’t set any”

“Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage”

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Real athletes run others just play games

The greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do.

My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.

Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste death but once.

Tomorrow is another day, and there will be another battle!

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

All it takes is all you got.

Run like hell and get the agony over with.

The five S’s of sports training are: Stamina, Speed, Strength, Skill and Spirit; but the greatest of these is Spirit.

The only tactics I admire are do-or-die.

It is true that speed kills. In distance running, it kills anyone who does not have it.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.

Stadiums are for spectators.  We runners have nature and that is much better.

Stadiums are for spectators.  We runners have nature and that is much better.

“The will to win is worthless, without the will to prepare.”

Use the quotes to inspire yourself and push through the pain and agony of running.

How To Qualify For New York Marathon : Beat Qualifying Times

The New York City Marathon is the most popular road race. Almost every runner has listed it as the “must do” race in his/her wish list. To know how popular this race is, “in 2012 an astonishing 98,000 runners applied to participate.” “Race registration closes just hours after opening.” Because of demand outstripping available slots, the race is restricted to 45,000 runners.

How to Secure a Place at New York City Marathon.

To secure a spot you can meet qualifying times, run for charity or buy a travel package. The other ways are to apply to the lottery or joining New York Road Runner (NYRR) club.

NYC Marathon Qualifying times for guaranteed entry.

To secure a guaranteed place, a runner must show proof of meeting the following qualifying times for marathon or half marathon. NB. There are different times for men and women. Standards are higher for men than for women. The times have been grouped according to age groups, age 18-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+.

New York City Marathon Qualifying timesSource of data, NYC Marathon site.

Here are a few tips on how to beat these times and qualify for New York City Marathon.

1. Pick the right race to qualify

The first step is to choose a race that you will use to qualify. Some races have courses that are more challenging than others. If you pick a race that is hilly or well known for bad weather or even poorly organized, you are going to run a slow race and you will not meet the qualifying times. The best races are those with a flat course combined with perfect weather for running.

Some flat courses

  1. Steamtown marathon – not really flat but has steep down hills that will have you rolling right through this race and into NYC Marathon.
  2. Chicago Marathon – Has one of the flattest courses but has a history of bad weather interruptions.
  3. Baystate marathon
  4. Detroit marathon
  5. Walt Disney world marathon

2. Pick a Training Schedule

After picking your race you need to start training for it. Draw up a training schedule. A good marathon schedule is for 3 to 4 months. This will allow you to peak at the right time and not under train or over train.

The training program should be drawn up on a paper or on a computer spread sheet. t should have running days, speed works, long runs and rest days.

3. The right running shoe

Get a proper running shoes. A good running shoe is one designed to match your foot. See, How pick the right running shoe to match your feet. A good running shoe will go along way to assisting you run faster and further and prevent running injury. You will suffer a running injury if you use one of the following shoes for running:-

  1. Tennis shoes
  2. Basketball shoes
  3. Worn out running shoes
  4. Spikes.
  5. Every day sneakers.

4. Don’t Forget Strength training

If you hope to run a race full of strength and speed you will need to build leg strength. Schedule time to visit a gym and do work outs targeted to the legs. Do squats to build the hamstrings and quads. Do calf raises if you want strong calf muscles. The exercises will also minimize running injuries to these areas.

5. Run Hills.

Since your game plan is race on a flat course, doing training on a hilly course will make race day seem like a walk in the park. Running hills will also give your legs running stamina, build strong lungs and heart.

6.Join a running club or race with friends.

Running can be a lonely pursuit, particularly when on a long run. One easy method to beat the boredom is to run in a pack of like minded runners. Some of the benefits of joining a running club are, you get tips from experienced runners and an opportunity to run in a group.

To get maximum benefit from running with others, make sure the person or people you plan to run with are at the same level of training as you. You will not want to be held up by a running partner who cannot keep up with you, and similarly you will not want the strain of running faster than you are comfortable with so as to keep up with a quicker partner.

One final thing on this point – running with others does not necessarily mean running with other people. Dogs make great running companions and are the partner of choice for many in training.

7. Stay hydrated

Studies have shown that being as little as 2 percent dehydrated can have a negative effect on your running performance. Being dehydrated can make you run slower and may make you feel sluggish and light-headed. You may also start to cramp. It is therefore important to make sure you take on enough fluids whenever you are out running.

8. Eat well.

Just like a racing car needs to be well fuelled, a runner needs to eat well to run well. A healthy diet for an active runner is one that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and sufficient but not excessive in protein. That translates to about 60 percent of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat, and 15 percent from protein.

All the best as you try to qualify for new york city marathon!