[Edited to add: This post was from a while ago. There was talk earlier this year about a major-revamping of the course, but the 2013 Course is the same two-lapper.]
Steve Lastoe has lots of control over the Yonkers Marathon. Yonkers is the second-oldest marathon in the US — Boston is the oldest — but has long been treated as a second-class event, if that. Steve wonders what can be done to change that, and he asked for suggestions.
I spoke about this a few weeks back on the New York Running Show (audio).
As I see it, Yonkers is early (September) although it will likely move into October. More important, Yonkers is known as a “hilly marathon”. Those wanting to run a conventional race simply don’t think of it. So can we turn a “hilly marathon” into a “marathon with hills”? To me, that is crucial. But geography is the problem. You see there is a ridge that goes slap-dap between eastern and western Yonkers. To get from one side of the city to the other means a climb.
The climb, though, is not so steep to the south. Like a general planning an assault (although there was the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, one of the most important battles in North American/British/French history in which the key was not going around the hill), what about crossing to the south? Indeed, if we could get into the Bronx(which is Yonkers’s southern border) we would really be in business hill-wise, although even staying in Yonkers works to eliminate a monster hill.
When mapping some possibilities and visualizing them, I realized that you’d have a good mix of places to run through. No real industrial stretch but communities and stores and such. A run through the campus of Sarah Lawrence (which is in Yonkers) and some residential neighborhoods. It would not be, could not be, a “flat course” although there would be flattish stretches. The hills, though, are manageable and the course rolling.
So for 2013, this could be a very nice addition to the running calendar.
I don’t want to diminish the current, two-lap course. The 2011 edition got very good reviews. It was, though, something of a curiosity. With the demand for a fall marathon, evidenced by the big-city races filling almost immediately, Steve’s logistical wizardry with a well-designed course would be half the battle of a solid option. At that point, the issue because getting the word out.
It’s a topic to be re-visited.