I made a guide last year for the friends and family coming to see me in my first full marathon. This year I’m only doing the half marathon course, but I figured I would revamp what I wrote last year.
The marathon is only a few days away and I would love it if you came to show your support. Some of you might think cheering on people who run by for hours is boring, but its far from. Think of it as a party in the streets of downtown Detroit. There is entertainment on and off the course. And even though you may only spot me a few times on the course, I can tell you first hand that the cheers of a stranger will work wonder’s on a runner’s psyche.
That said, here’s a run-down of what happens on Sunday.
The official start time of the marathon is 7AM. However, runners are divided into groups called corrals. The first corral starts at 7 and every two minutes, starts the next corral. While I don’t know exactly which corral I am in, I can tell you I will be crossing the start time at approximately 7:15AM.
The course starts at Fort and Second (about two blocks North of Cobo). From there, we run to and over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada. We return to the states via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. From here on out the course stay’s in the US (miles 8-26.2) and finishes right back at the start line. A detailed course map can be found here: Course Maps.
Parking, as always in Detroit, is insane. Details on available parking lots and prices can be found here: Parking Info. Note there is a map on this page that shows all the roads that are BLOCKED. My advice, if you don’t mind walking, is to park in the northern reaches and walk in. Traffic won’t be nearly as congested. Reminder that there is a Lions game at Ford Field that Sunday. Eastern Market will be full of tailgaters.
Security is going to be a big deal this year after the tragedy in Boston. If you can avoid, it keep any bags or large purses in the car. Parts of the start/finish area will be restricted to spectators. If you don’t have a bib, you will not be allowed into the starting corrals. I recommend for those wanting to spectate at the start, to head down Fort St. about a mile past the start and send them off with a cheer before crossing into Canada.
This year, live tracking of runners will be found at freep.xacte.com. You can search for the person by name or bib#. Throughout the course, there will be timing mats. Once the runner crosses the mat, his time will be updated on the tracking site. The site is mobile friendly, to if you have a smartphone, it will be very easy to find out approximately where I or anyone else is.
FYI: I’m bib# 13378.
How to Find Me
So you want to catch me at a particular point of the course but have no idea when I’ll be there? That’s what this section is for. My average goal pace is 9 minutes/mile. If you want to make sure you catch me in time here’s an example of how to do so. Say you want to catch me returning to the US. the Tunnel Exits at mile 8. At 9 minutes/mile. It will take me 72 minutes from start (approximately 7:15 AM). So you can expect to see me at about 8:17 AM. Here’s some other milestones:
|Start Line||0||7:15 AM|
|Ambassador Bridge||2||7:33 AM|
|Canadian Riverwalk||5||8:00 AM|
|Tunnel Exit||8||8:27 AM|
|Mexican Town||10.5||8:49 AM|
|Campus Maritus||12.7||9:09 AM|
|Finish Line||13.1||9:12 AM|
One Last Thing!
I would also strongly suggest you set up camp and cheer for the full-marathoners along miles 14-16. I will attest that this is the loneliest stretch of the race. Once the international half marathon course ends, so does about 2/3 of the crowd support. Help some runners out by cheering them on in one of their darkest hours.