Road, Point to Point
Overall net downhill 1000ft. Downhill start, long uphill at 5/6 miles, gentle downhill for a few more miles then basically flat. No congestion after first few hundred meters.
Small but friendly. Lots of give free trials – mainly nutrition/food, photo opportunities etc.
Start Line / Aid Stations
Bus to start at Usery Pass. Few facilities. Long queues to board buses but fast moving. Make sure you get on right bus – different set of buses to half and 10K starts! Take throw away clothing for waiting in cold at start. Toilets in short supply. Watch out for cacti in the bush! Aid stations frequent – all have Gatoraid and water in paper cups, most have gels or fruit especially later on. Plenty of food and drinks at finish for runners.
Good quality medal. Badly fitting non-tech vest for women, t-shirt for men. Make your own goody bag at expo and end. Complimentary visors for any one achieving Boston Qualifying time. Apparently age-category awards given but mislaid on the day.
Obvious hotel is the Hyatt Place Mesa – 5 mins walk from expo, buses to start and finish. Reasonable hotel with welcome heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi and early (4 am) breakfast on race day – though prices inflated for marathon weekend.
Failed to find anything decent in area surrounding hotel. Tempe Marketplace had better options and hotel shuttle bus will take you there.
This was a friendly, very accessible and relatively fast race. The start was spectacular in the desert surrounded by huge Sagauro Cacti and under the stars. The route was attractive – especially first half and well supported by local residents. Second half had long straight sections which could be dispiriting to some. We were lucky with the weather and had a cool day with some cloud – the previous week had been hot and sunny. If you are good at managing your race and don’t go off too fast at start then this can be a PR course.