JANUARY 16TH 2015

BY COACH STUART MUNRO

JACKSONVILLE BANK MARATHON EVENT REVIEW

Online there seems to be a general consensus that the Jacksonville Bank Marathon offers a pleasant marathon experience.

Online there seems to be a general consensus that the Jacksonville Bank Marathon offers a pleasant marathon experience. 1st Place Sports Running describes it as “The fastest marathon course in the south” with an average of 56 degrees. FindMyMarathon.com depicts the race as “flat, fast, and very scenic with 85% shade”. And individual runners mostly offer positive reviews.


Overall, I would have to agree that the Jacksonville Marathon offers a positive experience. Unfortunately for my wife and me, however, the day of the race we faced temperatures into the 70s with up to 84% humidity.


1st Place Sports organized the race well. The staff made packet pick up and bag drop easy. I noticed a good number of port-a-potties for many people. The shuttle buses ran efficiently to and from the race. With one exception, I spotted the drink stands in convenient places throughout the course. My wife and I finished in the 4:50s and there was still plenty of food and drink at the finish, as well as a somewhat full, but well attended medical tent.


Although the marathon, half marathon and 5k all started together, adding up to about 2,200 people at the start line, there was plenty of room at the start line. I think we encountered a rare occasion where people stayed in their listed pace zones instead of pushing forward.


The burning question for runners though: “Is it a PR course?”


I’d say ‘maybe’.


The flat and shaded course has the potential of being fast, subject to weather.


One would need to run alone, however, because of the relatively small field (700 ish). The pace groups dwindled to three or four people toward the end and the leaders became spread out relatively early in the race. They basically ran solo from the start. Also, there weren’t many cheering crowds, especially compared to a big city event.


For those who hope for a PR and/or a Boston qualifier from the Jacksonville Bank Marathon, I would recommend accounting for extreme heat. I would also suggest a back-up race so that the option to scale back at the half marathon mark remains. A PR is possible, but only in the right conditions.


Jacksonville Bank Marathon as a Destination Race


For anyone considering the Jacksonville Bank Marathon as a Destination Race, below I list a few useful notes from our trip.


Jacksonville stands out as an excellent choice for destination races.In general be sure to account for transportation, as Jacksonville is definitely a car town. My wife and I found Uber and other car services to be reliable.Stay at the Four Points Sheraton to be within walking distance of a 24-hour CVS, several restaurants, and a few bars.


Try Al’s Pizza, but be sure to arrive early.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Coach Stuart Munro

Coach Munro is marathon and triathlon athlete and coach who recently moved to New York City from Australia. He is certified by the Athletics Australia as a Level 3 Middle and Long Distance Running Coach. Coach Munro is also a qualified Personal Trainer and Sportsmind Coach. He specializes in helping athletes achieve ‘breakthrough’ races, whether it be their first time at a new distance, or a personal record time. 

1st Place Sports Running describes it as “The fastest marathon course in the south” with an average of 56 degrees. FindMyMarathon.com depicts the race as “flat, fast, and very scenic with 85% shade”. And individual runners mostly offer positive reviews.


Overall, I would have to agree that the Jacksonville Marathon offers a positive experience. Unfortunately for my wife and me, however, the day of the race we faced temperatures into the 70s with up to 84% humidity.

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