It’s marathon season, which means time for runners to book hotels. Actually, it’s late September, which means marathon accommodations will be hard to find in many cities. If you’re running and haven’t booked your stay yet, get on that.
Over the years I’ve noticed varying levels of preparedness among hotel staff on marathon weekends. Some hotels cater to a marathoner’s every need, while others seem surprised to learn there is a marathon in town–especially surprising when 2/3 of the guests are probably there to run.
In the interest of improving accommodations for marathoners everywhere, and to help you hoteliers satisfy your customers and make more money, I’ve put together a quick list of ways you can better serve your marathon guests, in order of descending importance.
- Rule 1: Offer an extended check-out. Marathons generally start around 7 or 8 AM and take 3-6 hours, depending on a runner’s ability level. With wave starts, slower runners start later than faster runners–sometimes, as at the New York City Marathon, hours later. Bad weather can occasionally delay a start, and blisters and minor injuries can slow a runner’s time. Factor in time to travel from the finish back to your hotel and grab a quick shower before leaving, and your 11 AM checkout isn’t going to cut it. I’ve seen hotels offer extended checkout as late as 3 PM, but even just extending until 1:00 will accommodate most runners. On the other hand I’ve encountered hotel managers who refuse to extend checkout, which is a quick way to piss off marathoners and ensure they’ll never come back.
Tomorrow is National Running Day, and Coach Corky (one of New York City’s top running trainers, who also happens to be my girlfriend) stopped by my YouTube channel to offer advice for beginning runners, suggest a few reasons you should start running, and tell us about her crazy plan to run 100 miles in 24 hours next month.
Back On My Feet 20in24
Liz ran the Philly marathon Sunday morning. I did not–though it didn’t stop me from eating a whole pint of ice cream Saturday night! After a series of lousy marathon experiences (getting sick and having to drop out of Boston 2012, injuring herself in Harrisburg, almost being blown up in Boston 2013) she had a terrific day and posted another PR–her third in three visits to the big Philly race. Today’s was 3:05:27, good for another trip to Boston in 2015.
I put together a little video highlight real of the race, which was pretty fun. My favorite part is the line of guys peeing between the UPS trucks, but there are some other entertaining moments too–like the young girls holding a sign encouraging their dad to not poop his pants.
Worth a reminder: If you’re a runner looking for a coach in the NYC area (or for virtual coaching anywhere in the world) Liz is not only a very fast runner but also a hell of a trainer. Check her out at Coach Corky Runs.
One of the stranger days of my life today. Liz ran her second Boston Marathon, and as usual I was there to cheer her on. She ran her first Boston last year, but the unseasonable heat and a stomach flu forced her to drop out around mile 14. This year, she paced a friend, and they finished a little before 2:46 PM. As you may or may not know, two bombs detonated at the finish line four minutes later. Liz was there, but far enough away that she was unhurt. She and her friend concluded their four-and-a-half-hour marathon run by sprinting for their lives. Not exactly what one expects from a marathon. At least she got her medal.
I was at Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues, about six blocks or so from the finish line, when the explosions detonated. I was talking to a friend of Liz’s who had finished about an hour earlier, and we both heard the bombs. We wondered aloud what the noise might have been, but assumed it was something benign. From that distance it might have been a truck dropping its tailgate, or a collision. Living in New York City sort of desensitizes you to loud noises.
I went and got a burrito for Liz, and while I was paying I started getting text messages about explosions and lost limbs. I didn’t know where Liz was, but I knew the timing was close. I spent about ten minutes telling myself not to freak out, and Liz called to say she was okay. Freaked out, traumatized, but okay. The first bomb went off just behind her, and as she fled she looked back and saw the second explosion. Continue Reading
Right around my twentieth mile, I realized how much I’d underestimated the mental challenge of my first marathon. That was the point when the twenty-mile water station, the goal I used to keep myself running along every stride of a seven-mile straight-ahead incline through all-but-abandoned forest, turned out not to exist. That was also the point at which my race pretty much fell apart.
The first half of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon had been downright enjoyable. We lucked into a beautiful day in Virginia Beach, sunny and clear but cool enough that I only worked up a light sweat. the scenery was variable, the crowd was cheering encouragement, and after a couple of miles of adrenaline and nerves, I found a comfortable pace and settled in. My dear friend Elizabeth Corkum stayed by my side, rooting me on and offering training tips and encouragement, though my pace was almost two minutes slower per mile than her fastest.
Our eighth mile passed through Camp Pendleton, and the troops lined both sides of our path for high-fives, which made for another nice adrenaline burst. By the end of mile 13, I was feeling good about my pace and my training.
I knew from the map that the course elevated, mildly but steadily, from the ten-mile mark almost to mile twenty. From mile ten this path followed the line of the beach, and then turned through a residential district where we encountered the last returning stragglers in the half marathon, and then the marathon leaders. A few of our fellow marathoners fell to walking, but I kept on. At mile sixteen, the course followed a road through the forest, long and straight and steadily uphill. There was no crowd to cheer us on, no variation in the terrain, just trees and dry needles and pavement and the sounds of the runners around us, even more of whom were walking. Even my iPod had forsaken me, offering nothing but droning generic techno music no matter how many times I skipped to the next track. Continue Reading