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Chuckster
Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/30/2010 6:03PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm trying to compile a list of US marathons, from hardest/slowest to easiest/fastest course. I looked on google for such a list but couldn't find anything other than 3 slowest and 3 fastests lists, so now it's up to the Let's Run community! Post all of the marathons you've run, from hardest course to fastest course. Post your times as well if you want to. I've only run 3 marathons, so I'll start the list with that. I'll attempt to combine everyone's list into one big list.

1. Boston Marathon 2:54:21
2. Baltimore Marathon 2:54:29
3. Freedom's Run Marathon (Harpers Ferry) 2:51:58

These 3 courses are all pretty similar, so it's hard to rank them...now add your marathons!
tallied
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/30/2010 6:07PM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Easiest: Tricities Marathon (Richland, WA)
Hardest: Missoula Marathon (Missoula, MT)

Both were quite flat, but Missoula had one big hill that made it more difficult.
seppo1237
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/30/2010 6:19PM - in reply to tallied Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Fargo Marathon has to be the fastest non-point-to-point. There isn't so much as a bump on that course. It was won in 2:24 last year, so not crazy competitive, but it's honest.
driske
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 1:21AM - in reply to seppo1237 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Pikes Peak; Toughest
Toss up between NYC/Boston for a "moderate" road course that can be rougher than anticipated.
Grandma's beckons the right guy on the right day. This point to point course can be very fast, but has been hexed by heat the last several years. I still rate it my personal favorite.
hamburglar
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 1:34AM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Columbus Marathon-2:40:40-very flat course, had a nice pack to go with

Chicago-2:49:25-Did not deserve a sub 3, makes Columbus look hilly

Boston-2:50:35-Thought I was in shape for a sub 2:38, could not find a pack, dealt with 15mph headwind on own.

Conditions in Boston affected the performance a lot, Chicago being a super easy course affected that time a lot.
Snake Plisskin
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 2:00AM - in reply to hamburglar Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Massachusetts - Boston Marathon (really blows)

NY - NYC Marathon - (semi-blows)

Massachusetts - Bay State Marathon (solid)

Chicago - pretty solid

Austin - good

Berlin - tops
Carolinas Marathoner
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 2:15AM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Grandfather Mountain Marathon is one of the slower (albeit one of the cooler) ones

Myrtle Beach and Kiawah are two of the faster ones if the wind isn't blowing.
Master baiter
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 7:56AM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You all forget the hardest of the all. Yonkers.
John Kelly (The younger) still has the course record - 2:21
No one even wants to try and beat it. It has over 15 hills. All are very steep and very long.
Chuckster
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 10:01AM - in reply to Master baiter Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I was thinking about doing Grandma's but it's on a weekend I can't go, I'm now thinking about San Francisco, does anyone know how that compares to Boston?

My best try at the list so far:

Hard:
1. Yonkers
2. Pikes Peak
3. Grandfather Mountain

Moderate:
4. Boston
5. NYC
6. Baltimore
7. Freedom's Run (Harpers Ferry, WV)

Easyish
8. Bay State Maration (MA)
9. Grandma's
10. Myrtle Beach
11. Kiawah
12. Missoula (MT)
13. Tricities (Richland, WA)
14. Chicago
15. Columbus

FAST:
16. Austin
17. Fargo
18. Berlin
Wendell Gee
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 10:10AM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Only done three:
Boston moderate to easy, but I had bad luck picking a year. Cold, headwind, drizzle.
Sugarloaf (ME)-super easy. One very long hill between 5 and 10 miles, but from 10 to the finish is a long gradual downhill. Drawback, you're likely running alone the whole way if you run under 2:50.
ME Marathon-Medium hard. Lots of small hills, a couple big ones. Starts and finishes with a couple flat miles but they can be windy along the ocean.
Another
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 10:57AM - in reply to Wendell Gee Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Isn't Austin a hilly course now?

I would put Houston at slightly slower than Chicago. Maybe 30 seconds. I've run 4 course and from easy to difficult it would be...

Chicago < Houston << Boston << NYC
you idiot
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 10:59AM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
hmm lets see...

you have a marathon where the poster said was hard w/ a record of 2:21 with a trail marathon that 2:21 would win the HALF and another that has over 1000 ft of elevation gain in the mountains.

you might want to reconsider your methods
Chuckster
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 1:00PM - in reply to you idiot Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Any other method would take work! This is the easy/fun method.
apples and oranges
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 3:35PM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I think you need to separate road marathons from trail marathons. Trail marathons such as Pikes Peak, Leadville, Catalina, and Big Sur (the trail marathon) are a different kind of beast from road marathons. Toughest road marathons would have to include Yonkers (hills), Estes Park (hills and elevation), and Big Sur (hills and potential wind).

And absurd downhill courses like St George and Tucson should be separated from flat fast courses like Chicago, Bay State, Mardis Gras, and others.
Coke for Breakfast
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 7:18PM - in reply to Master baiter Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You guys are talking about the old Yonkers course right? The most recent version (it has changed twice in recent years) is a double loop, not really that bad. I have run two new ones, but not the original, which was definitely a beast.
going green
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 1/31/2010 9:44PM - in reply to Coke for Breakfast Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach is a drag strip as long as the wind is calm.
Kerbzilla
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 2/2/2010 9:20PM - in reply to Chuckster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Hardest Trail marathon is one called Buzzards in the mts. near Harrisburg, PA. Lots of steep climbs and it's in early March, which often means snow is present. Ran a 4:35 one year and heaved up a lung on the last climb.

Hardest road marathon was probably one I ran in West Virginia, near Huntington...I forget the name, but it was very hilly with a real monster at mile 25 or so. I think my time was @ 4 hrs flat.

Boston is deceptively difficult for me...It was very warm both times I ran and I wasn't yet acclimated. Suffered through both in @ 3:30-3:40

Marine Corps was easiest by far - ran 3:08 twice. I've never broken 3 hrs - too many slow twitch muscles.

I've run Greenbelt (MD) and Pittsburgh (PA) also - both semi-tough but pretty and fun. Lots of spectators at Pittsburgh and a great post-race celebration.
MarathonMind
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 2/2/2010 10:42PM - in reply to Coke for Breakfast Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Speaking of old courses, Johnny Kelley also set the course record for the hilly Holyoke Marathon in its first year- 1963. I can't believe he ran a 2:20 on the current course, it must have been a different one.

http://www.harriers.org/marathon/results2009.htm#The%20Champions%20List
Chris Knight
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 2/3/2010 9:03AM - in reply to Another Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Another wrote:

Isn't Austin a hilly course now?

I would put Houston at slightly slower than Chicago. Maybe 30 seconds. I've run 4 course and from easy to difficult it would be...

Chicago < Houston << Boston << NYC


Correct. Austin is very hilly now. I think the others are referring to the old point-to-point course that was net downhill. I think a Kenyan guy ran around 2:14-2:15 on the hilly course by himself in 2007(?), but no one else has come close to that.
rhrunner
RE: Rank the Marathons, Hardest to Fastest 2/3/2010 9:12AM - in reply to Chris Knight Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've only run 2 so not much room to talk but,

1. Chicago 2:36:54
2. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon 2:32:08

Chicago is super easy, I wish I had been in good shape for it and hadn't gone out in 1:13:30. The KDF marathon's second half is challenging.
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