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Should You Run the Detroit Marathon?

Welcome back to another running report!  This week’s article is all about the Detroit Marathon.  This isn’t necessarily an article about how I felt during the race or about my run, but about the course, race expo, and spectators.  Maybe after reading this article you might want to do one of the races offered during the event’s weekend.


Let’s start with the races offered.  They have a kids fun run, 1 mile, 5km, 10km, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon.  They have a lot to offer, which makes the Detroit Marathon Weekend great for the whole family.  They also allow both runners and walkers, which I always like. The only races that have a time restriction are the 1/2 marathon and full marathon.  The time restriction is that you must complete each mile of the race in under 16 minutes. Overall, I highly recommend the Detroit Marathon Weekend for the diversity of events.

Next let’s talk about the race expo.  This expo is held at the Cobo centre in Detroit, and it is huge.  When you get to the expo you have to walk to the back of the convention centre and pick up your race number.  Upon entering you are given a bag of a few goodies, and you can also use this bag to carry other goodies that are handed out at the expo.  New Balance was the main sponsor of the race weekend, so the first stop of the expo is all of the New Balance gear. The expo layout makes the event sponsor the first stop, and they had so much amazing gear.  After that, every booth at the expo was tailored to runners. There was food samples, well priced recovery tools, and much more. Even if you aren’t racing, but love running, I recommend checking out this expo.  This is by far the biggest race expo I have ever been to!

Now on to the actual course.  Detroit is the most unique course I have ever run on.  If you do the full marathon or international half you get to run from Michigan, to Canada, and back to Michigan.  This creates a unique experience that has amazing views. You get to run over Ambassador Bridge as the sun is rising, and do the world’s only underwater mile when you run back through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel.  On the Detroit side the race weaves through many small neighbourhoods with a trip over to Bell isle, as well. I had been to Detroit before, but this race allowed me to see Detroit in a new light. The finish was one of the coolest stretches of the race.  You run through the streets of Detroit and make a final turn onto the main road of the race. There are bleachers near the finish so that people can watch. You also pass under two temporary bridges that were installed for the race to allow people to cross the street.  To say the least the final stretch is amazing.

Lastly, I want to talk about the aid stations and cheering.  The start line was filled with so much energy. The race had corrals so that there wasn’t any congestion, but that feeling of standing on the start line with over 8000 people behind you was amazing.  The sidewalks were lined with rows of people six deep that were so enthused about cheering people on at 7 am. There were already people cheering for the runners at mile one. As runners approach the border, the border patrol officers are cheering for runners and wishing them  luck. On the Canadian side, there are huge crowds from the bridge all the way to the tunnel. There was non-stop cheering and that definitely helps at the start of the race. Once runners get back to Detroit the streets near the Cobo centre are packed. As the race goes further out into the suburbs of Detroit there becomes less and less people until Bell Isle.  After this, the crowds get huge and enthusiastic. They are cheering runners to the finish, which is only about 5 km away by this time. As I mentioned above, the finish had bleachers at the end for people to watch from, but there were too many people for the bleachers. The streets were lined with people yelling, and giving runners the boost they needed.

Overall, I highly recommend the Detroit Marathon weekend.  They have a little something for everyone whether you are a runner, walker, or cheerleader.  I hope you have a great day, and I can’t wait to share a new Running Report next week! Thanks for reading!


Stephanie Johnston is in her first year at at University of Windsor in the education program. She did a four year undergraduate degree in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is now studying to become a high school math and physical education teacher. She is currently a New Balance brand ambassador and training for her second marathon.
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