This year I am doing a series to showcase Marathons in America worth traveling for. Today is the 3rd race in the series. If you'd like to check out the previous marathons worth traveling for, you can visit this page HERE.
While there are many different distances, for this series I am focusing specifically on the Marathon, 26.2. Because for myself that is the only distance I travel around to run and it's easier to write on what you know!
This week I'd like to take you on a marathon adventure that is not only scenic and stunning, but also historically amazing.
Freedom's Run Marathon in West Virginia
I really enjoyed this marathon, I can't say enough good things about it. It was the perfect combination of tough and enjoyable. Definitely a marathon for a runner who trains well and enjoys a great diverse and beautiful course.
This is one race that I hope to make it back to again one day, let me tell you a few reasons why I consider it a race worth traveling for:
It's a point to point course. You'll start and end in West Virginia cross over into for part of it Maryland. It's also very well organized. I actually felt this race was put on by organizers who know exactly what runners want.
You'll feel like this marathon is their main event. While they also do have a half marathon, 10K and 5K for those who prefer shorter distances. If you know me and my blog, you know I love races that host marathons and make the runners feel like the 26.2 is their main event.
Each of their races run different courses, even if they may overlap a little, I actually didn't see any of the runners in the other distances myself so it did not overcrowd the trails at all. (Although I am sure they make each distance feel equally important.)
Small town race and hospitality feel. They only allow up to 1,000 runners to run the full marathon. So you get to enjoy less crowds and a more peaceful times while you are out on the trails and country roads. One of the best parts, your either running in National Parks, trails or country roads so for most the race you are away from traffic and crowds.
This race is full on American History, you can learn something new just about everywhere you go. You can visit more American history in the 26.2 miles of this marathon than most people do in a lifetime.
I highly recommend you learn a little about the area so when you go you can enjoy the different parts of history you pass through as well as take some time and visit and tour the National Parks either before or after the race. It's well worth the time to do so!
It's run in the fall, the temps are perfect and cooler, the area is just stunning. You'll have breathtaking views of the Shenandoah River. As well as amazing views of the Potomac from the country roads and trails you'll be running along.
The entire race is run on National Park land - In fact 4 National Parks and 3 Civil War Towns to be exact. A few of which are; Harpers Ferry, C&O Canal, Antietam, Historic Sharpsburg and Shepardstown.
On a side note, if your lucky (I was) as I was running through Antietam near Bloody Lane allowing my mind to wander and think about the history. If you listen carefully you might even hear the gunshots. Yes, the Visitors Center up above does a few gunshot shows and you may get a chance to hear the shots ring out as you are passing along this historic section.
Definitely a race for hill lovers. In fact most all the major hills are in the second half of the race. You'll love it, because not only are you running through Antietam hills of history, but the scenery is just beautiful. However, if you allow your mind to recollect the historic battles that took place in this part of the country, you'll be able to direct your mind away from the hills remembering that many died.
You can take a ghost tour before or after the race. The ghosts of civil war pasts they say haunt the area. It's a fun way to add a little spook into your trip and try something new. Who knows you might actually see a ghost...
It was the only race I have found yet where you actually get to run down a spiral staircase as you run across next to the B&O railroad and cross the bridge that goes over where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers merge together.
Last, it's about half a trail run and half road race. However, the trails (except when raining) nicely hard packed and very easy to run on.
Interested or want to learn more? You can learn more from their website HERE.
Note: For my Marathons Worth Traveling For Series. All pictures are my own. None were taken during the actual race itself, they are usually taken in and around the area before or after race day. Also, I was not asked to promote any of these races. The races chosen for this series this year are ones I enjoyed more over other marathons, and found the area's they are held in amazing places to visit.