Trying to pick my first Marathon...

Hi all,

 I've ran 10ks for a few years and did my first half marathon in the cold, wet & snow in Milton Keynes in March in 1hr32. I set myself the goal of doing my first marathon this autumn and I'm just wondering if any ones has any advice/experiences regarding the 3 that I have in my shortlist. Any comments would be helpful!! image

 Amsterdam 21st October   Pro- Nice scenic canal route, finishes in Olympic stadium

Con- I've heard there isn't much support on the route

Dublin 29th October   Pro- Close by   

Con- Route seems a bit dull, cold

 New York 4th November  Pro- Sights, New York

Con- Very Expensive, Closing date soon

Amsterdam is probably my favourite at this point, as I need to get a move on before they all fill up soon. I really want to do my first marathon in a big city so that's why I've shortlisted these 3. 


  • Dublin is dire mate honestly 

    New York the best of the three by far

  • New York is a ballot, and you have to get to the start hours before it actually starts, and hang around (in November).  I understand the support is fantastic, but that hanging around in the park for hours beforehand really puts me off.

    I've no knowledge of Dublin at all.

    My only personal experience of the three is Amsterdam, and you don't get to run along the canals - the roads are too narrow.  You do run an out-and-back section along the river, though, and you do get to finish in the Olympic stadium, which is quite a buzz (same goes for the half mara).  The course is almost completely flat, which may be a pro or a con.

    I don't think Amsterdam fills up quickly - if at all - so no need to rush if that's your choice.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    If you're thinking about autumn marathon's abroad - are you open to others ones?

    My sister ran Amsterdam and really enjoyed it but said it was a little lacking in support at times.

  • Have you thought about Berlin or Chicago?

  • The Dublin course isn't great but there's plenty of choices for a beer afterwards. Amsterdam is well organised, flat and fast, true there's not much support or anything to see on the long out-and-back but that didn't bother me too much.

    Berlin is a great first marathon but I believe this has sold out already for this year.

  • There's also Athens in November
  • How about Frankfurt in late October? Munich or Cologne too? Also in October - Vienna marathon, Austria, and Lausanne in Switzerland,  Berlin's actually my favourite race, done it 5 times, so pencil it in for next year. Not to be missed. Best thing about Dublin mara was the Guinness afterwards. It can be pretty cold and windy there, plus in the first part of the race there's lots of walkers getting in the way. Amsterdam as has been said is flat but not a lot happening. Whatever you do, pick a big race, when the going gets tough, and it will, it's better to have lots of runners around you than being on your own which can easily happen in a smaller race.

    If money's not in short supply there'salso the Toronto Waterfront marathon in Canada. Or Honolulu if you would rather have warmer weather. Plenty more to choose from, search on AIMS Marathon Calendar website. Best of luck - I always think your first marathon is the best - because you don't know what's waiting for you out there, on every following marathon you know exactly what you're facing! Enjoy it.


  • Hi Guys, thanks to all of you for your comments so far! Berlin was my 1st choice but it sold out before I could apply for it. 

     Thanks Wilkie for the comment about New York, i'm not the biggest fan of the cold so the standing around wouldn't be my cup of tea! I think Amsterdam is still my favourite so far but definitely up for other suggestions such as Athens which I'll look into!

     Just seen that Ultra Ironwolf- I'll look into them also!

  • Liverpool is in October. It's still quite a new one but it got really good reviews last year. The Scousers are always good for supporting things. I'm thinking about doing it this year, depending on how London goes.
  • Do Poznan, Poland, mid October. I may be biased as it's my home town but it's a wonderful marathon. It has two laps, last year the route was changed from the normal one due to roadworks (they are preparing for Euro 2012), this year they said they may even do one lap but it was all in the prep still. You'll need to check out the website. The support is immense, bands playing, people all along the way, good support on aid stations. And most of all it's really cheap. The marathon itself costs less that £20.00, good starting marathon I would say. I manadgaed to have a flight there for another £20,00 but bear in mind though that this year's Euro will put flight prioces up. I already can't afford to go to my cousin's wedding in June as tickets are dearer than normally. But it's a brilliant event, honest.
  • No brainer mate. Budapest Marathon 7 october. its a flat out-and-back and, though not the most widely spectated, its a great city and you can have a great schvitz after the race to recover image
  • Hi James - have you decided which one yet?

    There are still places available for the Lausanne Marathon. A lovely (out and back) course between the lake and vineyards, and reasonable support along the way... 

  • I'm just looking for a Toronto thread, less than 3 weeks to go.

    Read through some of the earlier posts here, and wanted to add that I hated Dublin last year, quite liked NYC (despite ridiculous time you have to be up), but LOVED Berlin. Best marathon ever.

    Hopefully Toronto is going to be as good. Hoping for a 3:50
  • Hi Einepik and GCE, (and the others after my last post, sorry completely didn't see I had more posts) decided on Amsterdam- traning's going great and can't wait for it! Thanks for your help!


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