Niagara Falls marathon race report: 13 mins off my PB and spectacular course

Yesterday was the culmination of my 4 months train plan which was the Niagara Falls marathon which started in the US and finished at the brink of the falls in Canada.

We had to wake up bright and early at 6 am to catch the bus across the border to the start. I never sleep that well the night before a big race, and this was no exception, I kept waking up and thinking I missed the bus.

All was going smoothly, it was turning into a fresh and bright morning, albeit very cold. That was until we reached the US border and we had to get off the bus and go through passport control. At which point the customs man informed me that I needed to purchase a visa waver for $6 US, this wouldn’t normally be a problem, but as I was planning to run back into Canada I had no US money on me. After a few tense moment, where the guard said if you don’t find the money you’re not coming in, we found a kind woman on our bus who agreed to swap our Canadian money for US and I was allowed in.

The marathon started in Buffalo, NY, outside and art gallery which was a nice start. We were told that the start will be at the top of the hill, and the man pointed to what I would describe as a slight slope. I was thinking if that was they call a hill, then this is going to be a great course.

After the obligatory national anthem we were underway, and I was feeling good, the last 4 months of hard training paying off. I was aiming to do 7:50 per mile, but was feeling good so I was averaging around 7:30’s right up until mile 19. Mile 19 was when it all started to go wrong, I felt like I had no energy left, and went dizzy, and was forced to walk for a bit. I then managed to run for a couple miles and walk for a bit, this pattern maintained until the end.

I managed to finish in 3:31:58, and position 109, not quite beating my target of sub 3:30, however it was still 13 mins off my PB, which I am incredibly happy with. Targets our never meant to be easy.

Overall I had a great race, and loved the scenic course, which is almost completely flat, with only 1 significant hill, and that is over the peace bridge. This comes at around 4 miles so legs are still feeling fresh. And it is amazing to finish at the brink of the falls, it makes the effort of running 26.2 miles worth it.

Now I am planning to rest up for a couple weeks and aim to find a fast half so I can try and break the 1:30 barrier, before I get back into marthon training for London next year.