Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon Course Description 2007

Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon Course Description 2007

Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon Course Description 2007

The Detroit Free Press Flagstar Marathon course will retain many of the popular features of the past few years with one minor and one major change. Due to construction on the Fisher Freeway service drive in Mexican Town the route will now continue west another block to Grand Boulevard. Campus Martius will become the venue to receive finisher’s medals since Ford Field is no longer an option.

Each marathon is a different experience with some similarities. Knowing a little bit of what to expect, especially the course, can help you relax and visualize what you want to accomplish.

At a minimum, I suggest driving the last six miles of the course to become familiar with it. Let’s walk through it in words.

Parking your car: Since there is a Lions game in the afternoon, you might want to park northwest of the start area or near the Ren Cen. You can take the people mover but a walk might help loosen your legs before the race.

Baggage claim: Pack your gear bag beforehand and plan to drop it off at baggage claim near the starting area. Do it before the rush. Remember to attach the tear tag with your race number on it to the Gatorade bag provided at the expo.

Before the start: If it’s cold, plan to wear throw away clothing over your racing outfit. A plastic garbage bag will suffice.

Porta Johns: Getting to the bathrooms is always a concern for nervous runners. There will be plenty behind the start line. If you still need some relief after the gun goes off look for a handful on Michigan Avenue a few blocks before Tiger Stadium.

The start: Last year’s new dual start on Washington Avenue helped cut the wait to get to the starting mats by more than eight minutes. The corrals, based on predicted time, create a much smoother take off. Marathoners will start on the west side of the boulevard. Relay teams, half marathon runners and walkers are on the eastside.

Mexican Town: Construction has forced an extra half mile to be added to this section. It has also changed the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge. This means it will take you longer to get to the bridge and tunnel. It’s a fun place to run through and later enjoy lunch after the race.

The Ambassador Bridge: It’s the steepest hill in the course but it comes early in the race. Runners rate the sunrise and skyline view as the number one attraction.

While in Windsor:
You’ve reached the riverfront and you're looking back at Detroit’s gorgeous skyline. Mile five is a good time to look at your watch or match up with one of the pace group leaders.

The Detroit Windsor Tunnel: Last year, few half marathon walkers had a problem reaching the tunnel. Its entrance is open until 9:45 am.

Some medical procedures, such as an MRI a few weeks before the race, might set of security alarms. Yellow bands will be provided at the fitness expo to runners that may be in this position.

Hot and Cold: Inside the tunnel you will start to get warm. Don’t throw away those hat and gloves just yet. You will still need them after you come out.

The underwater mile: This is the only marathon in the world that crosses an international boarder twice. Timing mats will records your mile time through the tunnel and it will appear on race certificates.

Cobo Center: You’ve just passed the welcome back crowd at the tunnel exit and now the entertainment and spirit stations can help provide a lift.

Sixth Street Bridge: It’s the last real hill on the course. Remember to relax and be patient.

Corktown: If you missed seeing this area on your way out you get a second opportunity during mile 11 and 12. This portion of the course has been extended and the theatre district eliminated to accommodate the half marathon finish as well as tailgaters for the Lions game.

Room with a view: Last year’s newest twist is back. The 15th mile offers a towering tableau of the Ren Cen before heading eastbound along Atwater.

Atwater: What was the roughest section on the course now has fresh new blacktop. You’ll see a section of Detroit’s Riverwalk as well as the billowing canopies of Chene Park and the beautiful GM/UAW building.

Belle Isle Park: Runners will cheer for each other across the MacArthur Bridge, both coming and going. The island offers another panoramic view of the Detroit skyline. Notice that the 20 mile mark is now in front of Gabriel Richard Park.

Indian Villagers: Fall colors help grace the tree lined streets and stately homes. Residents can't wait for you to arrive so they can share in your accomplishment.

The Lafayette stretch: This is spirit station row. You’ve almost reached your goal. It will seem easier if you’ve taken a tour of this section prior to the race. Visualizing the finish line makes a difference.

The sights and smells of Greektown: Runners get the complete menu as they shuffle underneath the blue and white Greek flags.

Campus Martius and Compuware: According to new operations director Bill Ewing, “The marathon’s newest finish line. Runners will finish outdoors for the first time in several years just north of Campus Martius Park, the geographic hub of the city and the center of downtown's redevelopment. We chose this site as a symbol of the new Detroit, and it also affords us the opportunity to spread runner services throughout the area and in Cadillac Square.”