Tips for Planning a Destination Marathon

TORONTO July 18. Digital Champion Myron Kuepfer starts his runs at 4:30 am during the week, so his level of addiction to running is pretty clear. 2013 will mark his second STWM and will be his twenty-first marathon overall. Eight years of running marathons all over North America has been incredibly rewarding for him, with a strong network of fellow runner friends everywhere.  This blog post is a celebration of his marathon travel experiences and the amazing welcome that communities everywhere (including Toronto, naturally) extend to runners. Connect with Myron on Twitter @ultramyron and on his blog.

Tips for Planning a Destination Marathon. By Myron Kuepfer.

The name of the game when it comes to planning a destination marathon is attention to detail. Like anything else, once you have your plans sets, you’ll find that trippin’ and marathon running together is a pretty cool way to travel! Having run quite a few destination marathons myself, I am going to point out some important details to make your marathon trip to Toronto for STWM your very best yet!

Book your hotel immediately after registering for the marathon! Best option is to use the official marathon hotel for an early breakfast and late checkout. The Sheraton Centre Hotel is the official race hotel for STWM and as of today there are only 59 rooms left, so don’t delay your booking! Whatever hotel you book, make sure it’s within’ walking distance of the starting line because you don’t need the added stress of parking and traffic on race day. If driving to the race is unavoidable,  study the route and traffic closures very carefully to make sure you’re prepared.

When traveling to a destination race that’s a more than a couple hours away, plan to stay the weekend. I usually leave on the Friday, hit the Race Expo on Saturday, run Sunday, and then head home Monday. The Race Expo is a great chance to relax, check out the latest running gear, meet up with your running friends, listen to some amazing speakers, and get inspired for your upcoming race. The STWM Expo will take place Friday October 18th and Sunday October 19th at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. Post-race, there is no better feeling that staggering around town, with no pressure to pack up and leave. It’s fun to share laughs with other tourists who may be having similar problems walking after running 42.2km.

Doing some research before you get into town is a great idea! The more you know going in, the more fun you will have. The Tourism Toronto website has everything you need to plan a fun and relaxing stay in the city! On Saturday morning, you can come out to the STWM Running Room Friendship Run, and in the evening you can attend one of three official Pasta Dinners.  If you’re meeting up with other runners before the race, or if you’re looking to meet new runners,  these are both great events to add to your itinerary. You can find other information about our attractions, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, arts, and culture here. During my last destination marathon in Vermont, we met other runners at a local pub the night we arrived and ended up spending time with them, and their friends and family the whole weekend. You never know what adventures await you!

When packing for a destination marathon, planning is key. Lay out everything you’ll need for marathon morning: shorts, shirt, Bodyglide, extra safety pins, extra shorts, extra shirt, socks, gels, etc. You get the picture! After you’ve packed the essentials, you can start thinking about everything else you’ll need for your trip. I always like to wear the official race shirt when I run, but I always bring a few backup shirts, just in case. Remember, it is critical that you do not try any new underclothes, socks, or shoes for a marathon unless you want to risk some very painful chafing or blistering! Go with what’s tried and true.

I like to schedule everything during race weekend. You need to keep your meals and rest time prioritized, so you’ll want to know where you’re going and what’s on the agenda before you arrive. I can say with absolute certainty that Toronto is an excellent city for a destination marathon! Plenty of hotels near the start line, easy access via TTC to everything you need, a great pasta dinner, and a beautiful race route! If you’re reading this blog and considering STWM as a destination marathon, mark down October 20th on your calendar and register immediately! You’re in for a real treat.

What other tips do you have for planning a destination marathon? What are some of your favourite things to do in Toronto, pre-race?

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2 Responses to Tips for Planning a Destination Marathon

  1. Ron Hart says:

    Saw this tip on line, thought it was excellent. Wear your running shoes on your flight and take all your race day gear in your carry-on, in case the airline loses your luggage.

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