Texas Marathon 2011 – Review

I completed the Texas Marathon in the Kingwood neighborhood of Houston, Texas, on 1 January 2011. Here is my review of the good and bad aspects of the 2011 event.

Exposition

  • Not Applicable: No exposition!

Toilets

  • Good: Public restrooms and several portable toilets near start/finish line
  • Good: Portable toilets at many water stations

Start line

  • Good: Efficient start (~2-3 minutes total)
  • Good: Beautiful outdoor assembly area

Police

  • Bad: None evident

Water-station people

  • Good: Cheered racers onward

Water stations

  • Good: Heavily manned
  • Good: Always had water
  • Good: Spaced appropriately
  • Bad: Gatorade depleted at one station before all participants had finished

Bibs

  • Good: Racer name in large font, so readable by spectators

Spectator turnout

  • Good: Encouraging words from local residents who lived along the course
  • Bad: Relatively sparse
  • Good: Participants acted as fellow spectators, given the 2- and 4-loop nature of the half marathon and marathon, respectively

Timing mats

  • Good: Reliably picked up timing chips on shoes
  • Bad: Only at start line and finish line

Course

  • Good: Very flat
  • Good: Volunteers at every intersection that required crossing a public street
  • Good: Shaded by pine trees across most of the course loop
  • Good: Beautiful scenery, including Lake Houston

Weather

  • Good: Breezy but not windy
  • Good: Cool temperature throughout race

Race photographers

  • Bad: Very sparsely distributed on course
  • Good: Visible (in bright-yellow shirts) to approaching racers

Finish area

  • Good: PA announcement of finishers' names and cities
  • Good: Duck cap and finish-position rubber ducky given with medal
  • Good: Medals not put over heads of finishers (See below!)

Medals

  • Good: Perhaps the largest and heaviest marathon medal in the world, at 8″x8″ and 3.3 lbs., compliments of Metal Sawing Technology

Post-race area

  • Good: Shaded areas and picnic tables
  • Good: Plenty of electrolyte drinks, cookies, fruit, and constantly-delivered, hot pizza
  • Bad: No medics

Conclusion

I give Texas Marathon an “A” grade for the 2011 event. Overall, the good far outweighed the bad, and the organizer could easily eliminate most, if not all, of the bad to make this an “A+” event. I highly recommend this event, not only for what is probably the world's largest marathon medal but also because it is a great way — in a beautiful location — to start the new year. Just remember that there may be no police or medics to protect you.

Have you had a similar set of experiences? Where? Please leave a comment. Thanks!

How Big Is It?

Here is the 2011 Texas Marathon medal next to the 2009 San Antonio Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon medal, which is a typical-size medal:


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