October 21st, Sunday at 7:00 A.M over 24,000 runners geared up for the annual Detroit Free Press Marathon.
Over 24,000 runners stood ready to run, walk, or wheel their way to the finish Sunday morning downtown Detroit on West Fort Street. This year marked the Detroit Freep’s 35th Marathon, the events offered included: international marathon and half marathon, U.S. only half, marathon relay, 5k, and disabilities division.
The Ambassador Bridge, built in 1929.
The weather forecast predicted perfect fall running, and Detroit runners came ready to compete. The Freep marathon is unique in that it offers an international experience, with several miles run though neighboring Canada. Before 11am many runners have visited two countries, bragging rights are earned. At the 3 mile mark, half and full marathoners make their way over the Ambassador Bridge, enjoying a sunrise over the Detroit skyline.
Riverside Drive, Canada
Once in Canada, runners take in the views of the Detroit river along Riverside park, offering great photo opp’s of the Renaissance Center, Michigan Central Station, and Joe Louis Arena. They say the grass is always greener from the other side, the views of detroit were breathtaking. (Or was that from all the running?)
Although there is no time for a stop into Caesars Windsor, the course includes the only Underwater mile. The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is known for being the hottest and most trying part of the race. The consensus is that you hate to love it. The tunnel is shut off to traffic for several hours while filled with runners submerged under tons of water.
One particularly fast runner stops for a photo opportunity.
Once back in the States, Marathon runners set off to the MacArthur Bridge and run a lap on Belle Isle, while half-Marathoners head back through the city.
This year the Talmer Bank partnered with Freep to create an App for family and friends to live track any runner using the individual Bib number. Family and friends can enjoy the stats from bed, or across the country without venturing into downtown. The app shows split times and total finish times along with helpful race information and maps for participants. Click for course map.
Freep Marathon App: Featuring Live Tracking
The male and female winners of the marathon were both Russian natives. The men’s marathon winner, Viacheslav Shabunin came in with a time of 02:25:26. The leading lady, Liubov Denisova took first in the marathon with a time of 02:46:33. To see all results click here.
At the end of the race all finishers earned an impressive medal featuring the Renaissance Center, a 1953 classic corvette, and a tribute to Detroit’s Motown. This was a beautiful, organized, and inspirational race to run. Supporters came from all over to volunteer and cheer on the athletes. The city of Detroit was alive and vibrant today in all of its glory. See you at the start line next year, Detroit.
-Emily, 1st time 1/2 marathon runner.
Official race photos:
The Detroit skyline at sunset from the Ambassador Bridge