June 18, 2014

A new marathon in Hampton Roads: One City Marathon

On Monday, there was an exciting press conference that took place in Newport News announcing a new marathon, the One City Marathon. 
Image from One City Marathon FB Page
I didn't see all of the details until much later in the day and my enthusiasm was high.  I was ready to pull the trigger and sign up...that is until I read the full announcement and details.  The inaugural event is set to take place on March 15th, just one week before the Shamrock marathon weekend events.  I couldn't have been more confused.  Why on earth would they pick an adjacent weekend to one of the area's most successful race weekends?  The logic still evades me.  The newspaper article even quotes the race director and says it won't conflict.  And to you Mr. Race Director, I respectfully disagree.  If you're looking for a marathon PR in the spring, most people wouldn't entertain both events.

The One City Marathon weekend sounds fabulous - a marathon, 8k and 1 mile fun run.  All 26.2 miles will wind through the city of Newport News which has some interesting spots, including some waterfront areas that would prove to be scenic if that's the way the course ran.  And when I heard that legendary Boston Marathon race director, Dave McGillivray, would be the speaker at the pasta dinner and running with bib number 1, I felt downright annoyed.  Why force me to choose between Shamrock and One City?  Why not pick a different spring time frame (Feb or April) or a fall date?  I'm sure these factors were considered and I don't want to sound like a petulant child.  I would love to be able to support both events...and I still may.  Doing a shorter event at either race weekend followed by or preceded by a longer race could work.  Time will tell.

Later in the day, I noticed that Flat Out Events, the race management company, posted a photo on Instagram about the event and I took an opportunity to share my feedback.  They responded quickly and professionally and also mentioned that they had coordinated with J&A Racing, Shamrock's race management company, prior to launching the race to ensure there was no (my words, not theirs) competition or local turf wars.  This impressed me and in some way, got me on board. I still haven't signed up but I figured out you can already register for the marathon and registration is $70 - not bad!

For more details, visit the race website.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?  Try out an inaugural event or stick with the well-established race?  I'm on the fence and I'll likely do one of these two races.


  1. I completely agree Christine, the timing of the new race seems a bit odd. Shamrock has such a great reputation, I'm not sure why they'd want to compete with it.

    I'm having a similar debate for next March. Rock 'n' Roll USA is also March 15th. I had such a great experience running it this past year, but I also want to run Shamrock. So many races to choose from, and so little time!

  2. I agree as well, that timing was just stupid! If you wanted to partake in both events I would suggest doing as you mentioned and do a shorter distance at one of them.

  3. The race calendars are getting more full lately. I had my heart set on doing Rock and Roll Phoenix and then Disney dropped Star Wars on that same weekend. My choice was to stick with my first instinct and do Star Wars another year. Since you've been set on Shamrock, do that one. Maybe you can do the 8K associated with One City as a shakeout run the week before. That would give you the chance to check out the event organization without the pressure of the longer distance.

  4. That does seem really weird. I have tendency to stick with tried and true experiences if they're good. If Shamrock is a great event, I would do the longer distance with them and try out the 8k for the new event... An inaugural event usually has some growing pains. If it ends up being great, then you can run it next year, right?

  5. Odd that they would pick race dates so close, they must be just cramming to get them in before the spring break season starts.
    I have done back to back marathons and a lot of them. If your interested you can train to do it, and you have enough time to train properly. If you do it, one thing to keep in mind is your goal may have to be to just finish each, instead of go for any PR's. Good luck with your decison!

  6. That's a frustrating decision and I certainly feel your pain! If this race were the weekend after Shamrock, I would run the 8K...but it's not, it's the weekend before...
    If a marathon PR is your goal, I say stick with the race you are familiar with. Good luck with your decision! They both sound like fun races! :0)

  7. Inaugural events sometimes make me nervous b/c there can be a lot of mishaps. Maybe save that one for next year after they work out the kinks?

  8. Hmmm... seems like a bad choice of timing.

  9. You could always use the shorter race distance as a taper run before Shamrock. That way you get to get that inaugural experience but still get to do both weekends! But passing on an inaugural full marathon would be difficult - maybe try out the new one!