I finally made up my mind, this year's fall marathon will be BayState. Again. It was a hard decision to make and came down to the Smuttynose marathon or BayState for the third time. Smuttynose was really appealing as I would know several people running it, it was being billed as super flat, you got a jacket instead of a shirt, and it wasn't in Lowell. Overall it looked like pretty good marathon and it remained my first choice for awhile.
So how did I end up with BayState? A pretty boring, drab run (as I may have mentioned previously) in Lowell. Two things finally tipped the scale in BayState's favor; timing, it is two weeks after Smuttynose which means I get two extra weeks of training, and familiarity. I've run the course twice before (four loops in total) so I am familiar with it. The last thing I want is a surprise out on the course and with BayState I know what I am getting into. Everything from the crappy start, to coming off the second bridge at mile 13, to the banked road after mile 25, to the painful last lap around the outfield in the stadium. I've done it twice before so it is one less thing I need to worry about.
Hopefully that will help me on the day of the race and let me focus on getting the job done. Because I'm certainly not doing BayState for the lavish after party. Now we just need to cross our fingers and hope for decent weather; I'm one for two at this race. First year was cold and snowy, the second was cool and sunny. Which will it be this time?
Edit: Mere minutes after posting this I found this on the BayState website:
Note: starting this year (2011) we are making a change to the Baystate Course to make it easier to run and easier for the runners by moving the finish to the Tsongas arena. This puts the finisher and the start in the same area and makes it much easier for you to leave the race area.
So much for "knowing" the course.