Making lists seems to be a pretty irresistible urge these days, and as long as we treat them as a bit of fun, I suppose they're harmless.
My reaction is always the same. How can you say which is the best marathon in the world unless you've run at least the best known 100? I read quite a lot about marathon running, and I could easily name 20 or 30 marathons that people have described in superlatives. Unless you've run them all, and more, how can you judge which is best? And even if you have run scores of marathons, that is going to be over a long period of time during which things will have changed. Who's to say that that fantastic Madrid marathon (say) that someone did in 1991 is still fantastic today? And the other obvious point is: what are the criteria? Someone who runs sub 2:30 marathons is likely to have different benchmarks than a plodder like me. A festive atmosphere, plenty of Lucozade Sport and a chunky finisher's medal might make me mark a race highly, while the other guy would be more interested in having plenty of room, PB potential, and a top-class field. My view, for what it's worth, is that the London Marathon is a great day out and I'm very glad I did it (in 2002). I might even do it again some day. But for most ordinary runners, there are so few opportunities to do a marathon (perhaps 2 a year max for the mortal runner), it seems a shame to do the same one year after year. Seems much better to sample some of the others. There's so much information out there that it's easy to identify a longish short list of good races. I've done only one other marathon - Chicago, which was also a superbly organised event with great support, atmosphere and facilities. Wouldn't really like to say London was better or worse. They were both really good, though London was definitely better value for money as it was less than half the price to enter. Isn't part of the appeal of running seeing new places? Maybe it helps to love travelling, but give me variety and different surrroundings any day. Andy
Posted: 13/04/2004 at 21:13