Eugene Chase Eppley once eloquently stated, “Friction is the enemy of speed.”
So is gravity.
I belong to a social media collection of road race management professionals, Event Professionals Group. Some of the most respected admins in the business offering ideas and input. I posed the following question to the group recently- “Anyone know off the top of their heads the flattest road marathon in the U.S.?”
Always chasing the superlatives. Even in my industry I had to make a clarification early on. No, that one has sidewalks! Or paths! Or trails! Or whatever else is substituted for a bona fide road race. The oldsters, the purists, they (we) remember unencumbered racing. Shoulder to shoulder describing both the course layout as well as the competition. Curbs are meant to be run between, not run over. Wide Open Places = Wide Open Races. No “big squeeze” funneling runners onto 4 foot wide corridors of concrete.
Back to my investigation. Florida courses were mentioned. Bay State in Lowell, MA and Humana Rock N Roll New Orleans and Jekyll Island Marathon in Georgia, Palm Beach, Chicago, A1A in Fort Lauderdale, Louisiana Marathon, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Miami Marathon, Chasing the Unicorn in Pennsylvania, Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, and the most intriguing to me, the Winter Warm Up in Dublin, Ohio which is run on a 1 mile loop.
My studies went further. To London. To Rotterdam. To Berlin.
With just a couple exceptions it would seem you need to travel internationally or at least to the coasts to find the flattest, fastest closed road course marathons. What interests me is the design of near to pancake flat opportunities. Held entirely on closed roads. This I preach. This I teach.