I plan on running my first marathon in 2012. I would like it to be scenic because running for 26.2 miles, or somewhere between 2 and 3 hours but hopefully closer to 2, can take a long time. I would like the weather to be reasonable, between 40 and 75 degrees would be fine. I would like there to be decent competition, not necessarily 19 Kenyan's running under 2:20. I would prefer it to be one loop, maybe two at the most but certainly not anymore than that. A point to point course would be alright too but just in case I run a world record I had better stick to a loop course. I would like the race to be fairly well organized but I am fairly self-sufficient so it wouldn't have to be too scheduled.
Anyway, if you know a thing or two about marathoning you know that most marathons fit into what I described above. Even the scenic issue wouldn't be too big of a deal as long as it is somewhere new for me. A marathon that would certainly not fit into this category is the Zoom! Zoom! Yah! Indoor Marathon that will be held tomorrow at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.
This marathon is 150 laps, 600 90 degree turns on an elevated indoor track. At least they switch directions every thirty minutes but 600 turns, regardless of direction is going to take it's toll on your hips, ankles, and knees. Don't marathons cause enough suffering without multiplying the effects of that by turning constantly. The fact that the race is all held within one building also kills the scenic issue. I've ran 10 miles on a better indoor track than that one and I about went crazy after 6 or 7 miles. It simply isn't fun. This race also has an extreme lack of competition. Understandably, the race is limited to 44 people (50 other crazy individuals were turned away in a lottery style selection) because the "course" can't comfortably hold anymore. The "course" record is 2:42 and I commend the person who can run just over 6 minutes per mile for that long on an indoor track while lapping everybody else in the field multiple times. I guess one may be able to find competition in lapping the average indoor marathoner at 4:17.
In conclusion, I just don't get it. This marathon sounds like torture, not any form of fun. However, the race seems to be well liked by the people who have run and reviewed it on marathonguide.com (http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=2641120108). I don't think I will be trying this race anytime soon and I wouldn't recommend it to any of you. But who knows, it might not be that bad.
Star Trib article on marathon: http://www.startribune.com/local/south/136398263.html