Just to clarify, doing a mileage run marathon or double marathon for the sake of travel is a bad way to see the world. You don’t really spend enough time on the ground to see anything and most of your time is consumed with packet pickup, pre-race preparations and sleep, if you’re lucky enough to get in the day before. In addition, I technically wouldn’t be able to call it a MR marathon as many people consider a MR as not leaving the airport, which I would agree with. A MR marathon or double is a flight that only allows you to do the bare minimum: Packet pickup and running the marathon. Many of the international marathons require you to pick up your packet the day before so you’re required to at least overnight at the destination.
Before planning a MR marathon or double, you need a clear set of goals. For me, the main goals is elite qualifying miles and running a marathon in a state/continent I have not been before.
- The main reason why I would go on a MR marathon is that I have plans to go on a mileage run anyway. There are many posts covering whether it’s even worth it to go on mileage runs. Running a marathon is just a bonus and another state I can check off on the 50 state marathon list. Sometimes you can move the dates around to make certain marathons work.
- The marathon or double is in a place you had no intention to travel to before. Maybe the limited time you spend on the ground may get you interested enough to come back for a longer trip.
- The marathon or double is in a place you have frequented before. I have no problems flying across the country to do a double in NYC and NJ as I grew up in Brooklyn (before it was cool).
A well planned MR marathon can go smoothly and may actually turn out to be a worthwhile travel experience, albeit a bit short. It is definitely something I would recommend any marathon runner to try at least once. The comments I got in the airport and on the plane home are priceless. I usually wear the marathon shirt they give out on the flight home as its often the cleanest shirt I have.
Now some interesting MR stories on both sides of the spectrum:
Good MR: Fly to the destination Friday night, run Saturday morning, and spend the rest of the weekend meeting up with friends, drinking and seeing the destination until a late Sunday night flight home. It is still too short of a travel experience but fairly worth while.
Bad MR: Fly to the destination early Saturday morning (1am) because of 2 hour delays on both flights to the destination. Sleep in the car for three hours at the race start. Run for five hours in the rain. Dry off and drive back to the airport for a 3hr redeye flight (LAX-DFW) before a connecting flight home. Upside: No need to shower before your flight and sleeping most of the way home. Downside: Everything.
Have you done a MR marathon? Any interesting stories or experiences to share?