Abbott World Marathon Majors consists of 6 of the world’s largest, and most renowned road races. Three of them have already taken place (Tokyo, Boston and London). That leaves three fall season marathons to close out the series: Berlin, Chicago and New York. Most of us running a fall marathon have already begun training. With the Berlin Marathon less than 70 days away, I wanted to share some highlights of this race and the remaining other Abbott World Marathon Majors that I have finished. I’ll keep it short and sweet! I’ve listed suggestions of activities to do before the race (that don’t involve a lot of walking), highlights or noteworthy features along the course, a major sight to look for while running each marathon and restaurant suggestions.
The BMW Berlin Marathon: Sunday, September 25th 2016
Before the race
There are many things to see and do in Berlin, but many of them involve walking. 1.) You can take a City Tour by Segway if you want to see some sights, but not walk a lot before the race. Just don't fall! 2.) I really enjoyed seeing the Pergamon Museum. Some walking is involved, but you don't have to over-do it. 3.)The Sony Center is quite the sight as well. The Sony Center contains a mix of shops, restaurants, art and film museums, cinemas, an IMAX theater, a Legoland, and more! You can grab a bite to eat and window shop or see a movie. 4.) I also enjoyed the Tiergarten. This is Berlins most popular inner-city park. You might want to go here for a leisurely stroll, and then eat at the Cafe am Neuen See (pictures below, from the Cafe website) for lunch or dinner. I don't recommend doing all of these activities the day before the race, just one!
HIGHLIGHTS OR NOTEWORTHY Race Features
Check out the aid stations. They serve tea at some of them! This is the first marathon where I’ve seen tea served at an aid station! I love unique features like this. Tokyo has tomatoes at one of the aid stations!
Borchardt is where I would suggest going for a delicious meal (pre or post marathon) in a historic restaurant that has a 150 year old history! Plus celebs like George Clooney have dined here! Check out their history and menu.
Sights along the course
The start and the finish are particularly special. Runners will run around the Berlin Victory Column right after the start gun goes off. Be sure to look up at the gorgeous statue of Victoria at the top of the column. The finish line is just past the Brandenburg Gate, which is a superb way to finish the race. Click on the links to find out more information to the places/statues I've listed anywhere. (Pictures above: Tiergarten, Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate from my travels; Pergamon Museum- image of Pergamon from brittanica.com).
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon: Sunday, October 9th 2016
Before the race
Architecture Tours of Chicago from the Navy Pier. Trust me! When my husband suggested this, I wasn’t really excited. But this was the perfect way to see Chicago without walking! You will enjoy a tour of Chicago by boat. You can buy snacks and drinks on board as well. This is a great thing to do before the race. Its relaxing, yet entertaining and productive!
Highlights or Noteworthy Race features
The neighborhoods of Chicago are incredible to run through. They are so entertaining and make running 26.2 miles fly by. Boystown is my favorite. The energy here is insane. (Pictures below: Chinatown, runsisterrun.wordpress.org; Boystown by Chicagonow.com; Chinatown by commons.wikimedia.com; downtown Chicago by Jack Schumacher).
While in Chicago, you must try a deep dish pizza! The popular place to go is Pizzeria UNO. Sometimes there is a long wait. Another suggestion for amazing deep dish pizza, is Lou Malnati’s. If you want something really unique, try High Five Ramen, a personal favorite of mine. There will be a bit of a wait here as well, but it is well worth it. For meat lovers, check out Portillo’s. Not a restaurant, but Garrett’s Popcorn is a Chicago treat. Take some back to your hotel. Try the Chicago mix, it's my personal favorite! (Pictures below taken from each website: Garretts Popcorn, Lou Malnati's, Portillo's, High Five Ramen).
Sights along the course
Mile 1 you will pass the famous “Bean” structure just west of Michigan Ave. Also look for Navy Pier, a famous Chicago landmark. Look for the large Ferris wheel! Consider riding the Ferris wheel before the race after your boat tour. The finish is at Grant Park, which is one of my favorite places to visit while in Chicago. You should do a shakeout run before the marathon around this park.
TCS New York City Marathon: Sunday, November 6th 2016
Before the race
I really enjoyed going to Escape the Room (multiple locations or versions. The one listed here has a location in midtown and downtown NYC). This is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. You don’t really have to walk around a lot for this activity, but you won’t get to see any major sights this way. Another suggestion for those wanting to see NYC sights is a Double-Decker bus tour where you can hop on and off.
Highlights and Noteworthy race features
There are so many things to mention here, but I would have to say my two favorite iconic items of mention would be the free Dunkin Donuts orange and pink hat you get while waiting for the race to start in the runners village. Dunkin Donuts so graciously gives out free coffee and munchkins at the runner’s village before the race, plus these free hats (see below). On that same note, if you opt to not have a drop bag, you will be given a VERY nice poncho that you will have forever. This is not just any poncho. It is fleece lined and very sturdy. Trust me, it is worth it. The crowds are super energetic and they make the entire race spectacular. NYC loves it's marathon. (Pictures below: Escape the Room NYC pic from roomescapeartisit.com; Ponchos from tcsnycmarathon.org; picture of me wearing the famous Dunkin Donuts hat, courtesy of the TCS NYC Marathon Facebook page; Double Decker bus from newyorksightseeingtours.com)
This is New York City and there are SO many good places to eat. It is hard to narrow it down. One suggestion for a good pasta meal is Carmine’s in Time Square. This is a family style Italian restaurant. If you want to think outside the box, and are craving ramen (noodles), check out Misoya. For a post marathon treat, try Levain Bakery! Depending on where you stay, these places might not be convenient for you. These are just some of my favorites. (Pictures below: Carmin'es pic by jaimedesousa.com; Misoya ramen pic by denniskchan.com; Levain Bakery pic by foodnfestivities.com; Pic of me around mile 8, 2014 NYC Marathon)
Sights along the course
Two major sights you will want to relish are the Verrazano Bridge (race start) and Central Park where the race ends. I can’t think of a better way to start a race than on a historic bridge. And ending in a famous park is also pretty cool. The entire course, like most of the majors, is filled with crowds cheering you on. You will get to see the five different boroughs of New York City and the diversity of each area which is wonderful.
These are just some of my favorite places to visit or to eat at. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. If you have been to any one of the cities mentioned, and have a suggestion for me to add to my list, please comment! I would love to hear what you have to say regarding your experience running these races and what you did personally for your trip! For those of you running one (or all!) of these World Marathon Majors, good luck training and have a wonderful time!
In addition, if you are running one of these races and are interested in the nutrition (aid station details) offered along the course, see my write-up on all these details and more in the Nutrition tab or click here.
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***Disclaimer: I am an ambassador for the Abbott World Marathon Majors. I am not endorsing any of the above agencies. These are pure suggestions based off my experience and travels to these cities. My opinions expressed here are my own. They do not reflect the Abbott World Marathon Majors organization.
Black and white photographs in picture featured in header are credit of: arzucanaskin.com; chrisharnish.com; jazzhostels.com.