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Run Hard Columbia Marathon
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I ran the Run Hard Columbia Marathon on Saturday, 7 March 2015. The race starts on Sumter Street right by the State House, and finishes on Main and Gervais directly in front of this venerable building. The course is two coverings of a half marathon course. This leads to one of two main issues of the course, you do run right by the finish line at the halfway point, some runners (including me)find that disconcerting. The other issue with the course is that it is rather hilly. Columbia would be well-advised to buy a fleet of bulldozers and flatten a few hills. The organizers certainly had an ample number of volunteers to manage traffic and point runners in the correct direction at all the turns. Plenty of food and water was still available when I finished nearly 4 hours, 20 minutes after the start. There were nearly 900 marathoners, half marathoners, and marathon relay runners, so it was a fairly small crowd but large enough so I was never isolated on the course, even in the second half. It will be interesting to see when this race will be held in 2016. This was the first time the Columbia Marathon took place on the first Saturday of March, the three previous races were held on the second Saturday of March. For 2016 Myrtle Beach has announced their marathon will be held on 5 March. Given a choice I prefer Columbia, even with all the hills. They have less traffic and the restaurants tend to be less tourist-oriented. As I walked from my motel to the start less than 40 minutes before the 7:30 start time I noticed participants parking just a couple blocks from the starting line, and I don't think you can do that in Myrtle Beach.
 
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