Tuesday, September 9, 2014


The summer heat and humidity has disappeared. Summer vacations, picnics, and endless weekend activities are fading in the rear view mirror. Mornings are cool and crisp.

The fall racing season has arrived.

In some areas it has already begun.

This past weekend, some of my training partners ran marathons here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and in Bozeman, Montana.

Running friends in Florida and Mississippi are excited about logging big miles in cooler weather now that summer is behind them.

It is the time to train. It is the time to race.

Along with my daughter, my son-in-law, my wife, Felix Shipp, my Mississippi running friend, and Father Chris Zelonis, my local running friend, I plan to run either the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon at the end of November, depending upon how my rehabilitated torn hamstring responds between now and then. All of us are grinding out the long runs at a time of year when we need not worry about searing heat, stifling humidity, gale force winds, snow or ice.

In every state, and in every corner of the United States and Canada, the next eight to ten weeks is prime racing season.

If your preference is the half marathon or marathon, I can offer the following suggestions.

 Over my long running and racing career, I have run four New York City Marathons. It is, indeed, an iconic event. Put it on your marathon bucket list as a "Must" race.

In the northeast, the Steamtown Marathon, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York, are fine, small-town races, with smaller crowds. I would highly recommend both races.

Our neighbors to the north have a couple of excellent fall events. Many years ago, I ran the Toronto Marathon. Toronto is a beautiful city, and they conduct a first-class marathon.

Last year, I delivered a speech at the Niagara Falls International Marathon's pasta dinner. This is a flat, fast race, with breathtaking scenery.

I also spoke at the Atlantic City Marathon Expo last October. If you want a flat marathon, you'll find it in Atlantic. Several miles on the boardwalk can ease tired legs, This is a fine race.

If you're looking for a small, well-organized race, consider the Harrisburg Marathon in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, The crowds are small, the course is fast, and they've been holding the race for 40 years. It is an excellent small marathon event.

Midwest hospitality abounds at the Twin Cities Marathon, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This is also a fast course, featuring a large field and enthusiastic spectators.

Finally, of course, what's not to like about the Philadelphia Marathon? I think I could close my eyes and run this phenomenal event, since I've raced and trained on every inch of the course. Historic, fan-friendly, and fast, the Philadelphia Marathon ranks only behind Boston as my favorite marathon city.

Of course, all of the aforementioned races offer half marathons, along with shorter races as well.

Train hard, race well, and enjoy.

Fall racing season is on!

                                                            Wineglass Half Marathon