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Race Reviews • November 26, 2012

2012 Anthem Richmond, VA Marathon Review

Anthem Richmond Marathon


Anthem Richmond Marathon Review


The Good

The Anthem Richmond Marathon was a very well organized event. The early bird pricing ($45) is what enticed me to sign up for the marathon (this year it is $60.) The marathon at the full price is still a good deal ($130.) I really enjoyed getting a custom bib with a name I designated. The packet pick up was painless and I took advantage of a bus tour of the course. Mentally, the tour helped a lot during the marathon. Parking the day of the race was a simple affair. We parked (free) on the street within a half mile of the start. The water stations were run smoothly along the course and there were enough of them to skip some, and not worry that you would regret passing up the chance to hydrate. While the crowd was not as dense as some urban marathons, the support coverage of the course was about 80%. The day we ran was almost ideal weather conditions so judging the course is a little tough. I really enjoyed running through the neighborhoods with old tree lined streets. The history of Richmond is all around you as you run past statues and monuments. It is a pretty course, running along the river was a treat. The finish area and the runners village were super. Live music, pizza, and beer had me smiling as I waited to spot other runners coming in.

The Bad

There were not too many negative things. The expo did not have many marque vendors. There were a lot of the expo cheap running store set ups with clearance items and no name fill ins. I don’t think any major footwear companies were there. I like to see new product and get tempted to make irrational purchases that did not happen. The shirt design and medal design were just okay. Sometimes I like to pull out a shirt from an old marathon to motivate my work out. The Richmond long sleeve won’t be one of my go to shirts on hard work out days; it looks a little “soft.” Some people complained about the severe downhill to the finish line but I actually liked it.


The Richmond marathon was close enough to road trip from Baltimore. I traveled down Friday with fellow Team Faster Bastards, Bobby G. @thatbobbyg and Stein L. @ steinlanlie The drive wasn’t too bad, practically a straight shot down I-95. I really enjoyed the Anthem Richmond Marathon and can see why so many people run it year after year. The city is friendly and the course is beautiful. There were enough hills to make the course challenging but certainly would not call this a hilly course. The majority of the hills come from miles 11 through 14. I really felt the toll at around mile 17. From talking with other runners, I heard that a lot of people felt the race get challenging for them around 17-18. Although I did not PR with a finish time of 3:33:33, I had a tremendously enjoyable marathon experience.

From the Anthem Richmond Marathon website — “Touted as “America’s friendliest Marathon!” Anthem Richmond Marathon has a great scenic course that takes you through some of Richmond’s most historic neighborhoods, culminating in a downhill finish in the heart of downtown. On-course support featuring live bands, DJs, spirit groups and Party Zones guaranteed to give you that extra burst of energy. Unique features, including junk food stops and wet washcloths along the course, as well as hot pizza and a complimentary massage to greet you at the finish line. Even an online registration system that doesn’t’t hit you with extra fees to sign up. It’s what led Runner’s World to confirm what we’ve been saying all along: The Anthem Richmond Marathon truly is “America’s Friendliest Marathon”!

Runner’s World Magazine named us a “Must Do” marathon in 2005 & 2009 and twice selected us as the site of their Marathon Challenge!

The January 2005 issue of Runner’s World magazine had this to say in touting Richmond as one of the 12 must-do marathons that offer “big fun, big scenery, big rewards”:

This marathon starts and finishes in charming historic downtown Richmond, once the capital of the south. The scenic, fast loop course takes in all of the city’s old neighborhoods, traveling up Monument Avenue, past statues of Confederate soldiers and Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe, through the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, then alongside the James River. Along with the typical water and sports drink stops, this is probably the only race in the country that offers junk food stops, at miles 16 and 22, stocked with Gummy Bears, cookies, and soda. There are also two wet-washcloth stations, at miles 17 and 23, perfect for cleaning up for your finish-line photo. Three party zones set up along the way with free food, prize giveaways, and noisemakers for spectators and family means lots of enthusiastic, cheering support. The last mile features a fast downhill to the finish in the trendy Shockoe Slip area, where there are plenty of post race goodies, including bagels, fruit, and pizza, and a band to celebrate your finish. (Runner’s World, January 2005)

The Anthem Richmond Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier!

Along with VIP Treatment, All Marathon Participants Receive…

Every participant receives an official long sleeve technical race shirt, a custom medal at the finish line, and is admitted to a special post-race celebration with plenty of free food, drink, and lots of smiles and pats on the back. Finishers can redeem a free certificate to recognize and commemorate their accomplishment. Water stops are positioned at the start and every two miles until Mile 20, then every mile thereafter. Diamond Springs water and Mountain Blast POWERade (the blue stuff) are available at every water stop on the race course. Assorted flavors (vanilla, chocolate & citrus orange) of Accel Gel are available at Miles 14 and 21. Marathoners looking for an extra burst of energy in the waning miles will want to make sure to hit the Junk Food Stop at Miles 16 and 22. Wet wash cloths are available at Miles 17 and 23. Porto-johns are stationed at the Start/Finish and adjacent to every water stop. Medical attention is available along the course.”

Shoe choice: Merrell Bare Access 2 The Merrell Bare Access 2 was a great choice for the marathon. The light weight of the shoe proved an asset. I did get a little rubbing on the outer edge of my right foot which may have turned into a blister if i had gone a few more miles. I was really impressed with how the shoe performed at this distance.


Team Faster BastardsSpecial Thanks to my buddies Stein and Bobby. You guys made this one of my favorite trips. The Sine Irish Pub is a must visit post Marathon! Follow @fasterbastards on twitter.


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