The Detroit Free Press Half Marathon
On Sunday October 17th, 2021 we travelled to Detroit , Michigan to run our 45th State in The Detroit Free Press Half Marathon. We signed up back in May and paid $110 per person. However, I found a discount code that gave us $22 off total. We originally choose this race because goes through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel into Canada. I believe its the only "international" half marathon in the US. We even had to submit our passports when signing up for the race. But as luck would have it, about a month before the race the route was changed to stay stateside due to the covid travel restrictions. In the 44 years that the Detroit Free Press Marathon has been put on this was only the 3rd time it did not go to Canada. The other two times were in 1993 when the tunnel was under construction and in 2001 after September 11th.
There were 12,849 registered runners between the Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and 1 mile race. From what I read that number was substantially down from previous years when there were about 25,000 runners. I downloaded the race app so that we could track our progress, get last minute updates and see how we fared against the other runners. The packet pickup was the Friday and Saturday before at the Health & Fitness Expo located in the TFC Center. Parking was terrible but we were lucky to be visiting our cousins who live nearby and they just dropped us off so we could run in.
Of course we prepped for the race enjoying a carb filled Italian dinner. We dined at Amore de Roma, a historic building that was built in 1888 right next to the Eastern Market. Of course Dave enjoyed his lasagna and I had the melanzana, which was basically an eggplant parmesan with a side of pasta. Both came with soup or salad and between that, the appetizers and dessert we were extremely satisfied and ready to run.
On Sunday the race started at 7am. Since we stayed outside of the city we drove in. We had an incredibly hard time finding parking. In fact, we never really found a "legal" spot to park in. All of the roads were closed and almost all parking garages belonged to the hotels. As we drove around in circles the start time got nearer and nearer. So we decided to chance it and park wherever we could fit our car. We then walked about a half mile to the starting line.
As we got closer to the corrals we could hear the dj playing motivating music and giving last minute instructions. Once we squeezed into our corral the countdown began. It doesn't get more motivating then Detroit's own Eminem playing Lose Yourself as we departed on our 13.1 mile journey.
The weather was perfect for a run, although a little chilly at the beginning being in the low 40's. But once we started moving it felt great. Even though the route didn't take us over to Canada it was actually one of the nicer courses that we have been on. It took us through many historic neighborhoods with beautiful homes. Many residents cheered us on from their lawns and balconies while they enjoyed their morning coffee.
For a good portion of the race we ran in close proximity to a man dressed as a hotdog. As you can imagine there was a lot of cheering and clapping for the hotdog. A little after mile 4 is when we passed the Motown Museum. Last time we visited Detroit we took a tour of it and I highly recommend it. (Although it is currently closed until Summer 22' due to renovations).
At mile 11 is when we began entering back into the city as we ran past the beautiful Masonic Temple. Everything just sort of aligned into place between the weather, the flat course and race preparation. We were on our way to a very good time for us, at 2 hr 19 mins. However, as we neared the finish line it came as a surprise to hear the dj announcing that the first place finisher was also about to cross the finish line. The first place finisher of the Full Marathon! Oh well, it was still an amazing race. And our car was still parked where we left it when we returned. Oh, and did I mention there were free downloadable race pictures?!