Once again the staff and volunteers of the Detroit Free Press Marathon did a great job putting on a first-class event. The sold-out crowd of over 20,000 runners was treated to a well-organized, efficient and fun group of races.
This year I joined the 10,000+ runners in the half-marathon. As we lined up in the starting corrals at 6:45AM it was obvious there were many more runners for the half-marathon than the full. A large group gathered around the pace leader holding the “4:00” sign in hopes he would get us a sub-two hour half.
The course for the half-marathon is the same as the first half of the full so it crosses the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, comes back to the U.S.A. through the tunnel, cruises through Mexican Village and Corktown before finishing in the heart of downtown Detroit.
My goal was to break two hours which I thought I could do fairly comfortably. The pace group definitely helped because without it I would have likely dropped back in the slower crowd the first few miles. As my pace group passed the 10 Mile marker I knew I could push myself so I started to pull ahead and picked up the pace the last few miles to finish with a 1:57:48. I was pleased with the time but I also know I could have pushed more the entire race and finished better. But, for my first half-marathon I won’t complain. I enjoyed it and also got a feel for the training needed to compete at that distance.
As always, the race had very good fluid stations and entertainment along the route and, of course, plenty of food to refuel with at the finish. There was a free music party with live bands and more food and beer tents starting up as I finished but I decided to just stretch and head home instead.
If you’re looking for a good half or full marathon to run, plan on running this one. I don’t think you’ll find too many that are better.