Taking the ‘Big City Marathon’ Tour

By Ralph

I like having a major race on the calendar at least once a year. It keeps me interested in getting better and it gives me a major challenge for the year.  This year, that race is the Chicago Marathon on October 8th. Just so happens that is also my birthday, so I will be having a huge party this year — 12,000 people have already RSVP’d.  So nice of all of them to meet me in Chicago to celebrate!

This is my third big city marathon in the last three years. Two years ago, I ran the New York City Marathon and last year I did the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. I like to have a training theme for my races. Right now it’s Big City Marathons. Before that it was Ironman triathlon. That lasted eight years and I completed five full Ironman triathlons during that time frame.

NY marathon
A million spectators for the NY marathon and I spotted Elizabeth on the course!

Elizabeth and I are enjoying the Big City Marathon Tour — a theme we made up– because it also gives us a chance to explore a new city, or enjoy a city we have already been to, beyond just the race.

After I finished the Marine Corps Marathon, I got cleaned up, we went out for a great celebratory lunch, and we had a memorable time leisurely strolling around DC looking at the monuments and taking in the sites.  It’s a day I will never forget.  What made the day even more special was the fact that our son Davis was able to join us for the weekend and participate in all the activities.

Elizabeth and Davis were at the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon.

I am very thankful that I have such a supportive family who joins me on these journeys.

Here is what I look for when selecting a race:
1. The reputation of the race – is it an iconic race that is well respected with a great history?
2. Is it a city Elizabeth and I will enjoy going to beside the race? What other activities can we plan while we are there?  In New York, for example, we went to a Broadway show two nights before the race.
3. What are the logistics around the race? How close is the venue to an airport?  Are there plenty of hotels close to the start or finish? How spectator friendly is the race?

My challenge for you is to look around at the fall racing schedule and see what appeals to you. Close or far, long or short, that’s up to you. But I do think you will find it motivating to have a fall event on the calendar. I am not sure what I am going to do in 2018 yet, that is yet to be determined. Half the fun is trying to figure that out.

2 Replies to “Taking the ‘Big City Marathon’ Tour”

  1. I LOVE your big city marathon tour theme! Doing NYC for the first time this year, I live here so I think it will be pretty special. But would love to do some other races in other cities that I also want to explore. LOVE Chicago–lived there for 7 years, I hope the race and your birthday are a blast!!


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