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Race Reviews • May 11, 2014

Cox Providence Rhode Island Marathon Review

Cox Providence Rhode Island Marathon Review

The Rhode Island Marathon was my 20th Marathon. I was looking for some magic. I didn’t bring any and Providence didn’t have any either.

The Setting

Providence is a cute little town with a college town quirkiness. As cool as a spot as it is, I don’t feel a strong urge to visit again. The cafés were quaint and the food was pretty good everywhere we tried. They have a Mall that is kind of bizarre, you feel like you are in a parking garage when you’re shopping. The water views are nice but nothing that will blow you away. The town did have Uber service which was a plus. Here is what you get:

  • Charming town
  • Nice variety of restaurants
  • College town feel
  • Some water views

One tip: Elli’s Bakery – Get a breakfast sandwich, maybe the best one I have ever had.

The Expo and Swag bag

The expo was pretty low key; don’t plan on buying anything there unless you are a fan of those Frank Shorter forever sale items. The only highlight of the expo was the Janji Running display. This expo was pretty bare bones, and took less than one minute to walk from the packet pick up to the end of the entire shindig.

As for the swag bag, a standard A4 tech shirt, some coupons, and some snacks. The shirt smells of burnt screen printing ink, but at least it has a large easy to read 26.2 on it. From a scale of average to blow your mind awesome, the goody bag lands on average.

Course and Crowd Support

The course starts off hilly then after five to six miles it flattens out for a large out and back style run. The views are not spectacular, mostly neighborhoods and bike paths. On the way back the wind really picked up, one reason I may take coastal marathons off the list for awhile. Since it was an out and back the hills came back for the last five to six miles. On this day the weather was about perfect, other than the wind.

Overall support for the marathon was odd, during the same weekend they were having a big cheerleading competition, the circus was in town (you may have heard about the ladies hanging from their hair and falling when the rig collapsed,) and the marathon. People at the restaurants and in town didn’t even know there was going to be a 5,000 person running event in their town. As you can guess cheering on the course was sparse. Most of the crowds were at the volunteer water stations. I am thankful for the volunteers.


medalSmall, but it is a bottle opener.


If you are looking to hit all fifty states, you’re gonna have to run this one. Otherwise, this falls into my second tier bucket. I did not really enjoy the course or the atmosphere the event generated. A better coastal 26.2 is the VA Beach Marathon. My review may be tainted by my struggle during the race. I started out with the 3:15 pace group and at mile four fell into a dark place in my head and couldn’t get out. I wanted to drop out, but I was encouraged to keep going by running with a Team Wicked Bonkproof teammate. She kept me on the course and we finished with a disappointing 3:44. My slowest finish in a long time. I wore the Newton Distance III which I feel are a solid choice. Our full review of the Newton Distance III will be up in a couple weeks. Special shout out to Jonathan, a BITR reader, that recognized us at the hotel. Special thanks to Jen McHale, Shana Jackson, and Meaghan Murray three super teammates that helped make this marathon one to remember.



Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Jonathan Buchman says:

    Agree with EVERYTHING you wrote about this one. However, since I managed a 3:09:28 which gets me back to Boston (3:25:00 qualifying time for me at 48) I have a little more fondness for the event than you.

    Thanks for the shout out.


    1. Meaghan saw you come in. Awesome run Jonathan, congrats on the BQ!

  2. Ross Snyder says:

    Thanks for the overview. I’m from Albany NY and I’m looking for a spring 2015 marathon for my third marathon. The Providence marathon fits the bill as far as timing and distance from home, but after reading your review I’ll keep looking.

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