Disclaimer: I received an entry into Mankato Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of exploring a new city in Minnesota via an awesome 13.1 mile run. I can’t believe I have lived in Minnesota for so long and have never been to Mankato, MN. Lucky for me, Mankato Marathon hooked me up and I was able to represent BibRave at the event. While looking into all the details of the race, I imagined it to be a small event without the typical thrills of a marathon weekend. Boy was I wrong!
Packet Pick-Up: The packet pick-up was the day before the race. They had the expo set up at the Mankato State field house. I was expecting a table with a bunch of numbers but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the whole thing was organized. The expo wasn’t huge, but there was enough stuff for runners to buy, if you forgot your gels or equipment. There was definitely a ton of things for kids to do so it was very family friendly. I was able to grab my packet, grab some fuel, and sign the big marathon poster.
Race Start: The starting line was in one of the parking lots of Mankato State. That meant that there were plenty of spots to park. That was great for my girlfriend because she was on photo and cheer duty, like she always is whenever I am running a race. Bag drop, water and last minute essentials were all located near the starting line so there was no need to rush around. Once again, plenty of spots to warm-up and get a few runs in. The 10K, Half and Full Marathon all started in the same location.
Race Time: How have I never heard of this race before? Besides absolutely perfect weather, the entire race just destroyed my expectations. The whole course was very well marked, there were plenty of aid and water stations, the elevation change never seemed to be an issue, and they had MN Pacers running different pace times. I had a blast running with the 1:50 pacer. I think her name was Erica and she was the best! The whole race runs through the city, the parks and through some farm land. The parks that we ran through were very beautiful and pleasing. The big surprise was around mile eight where there about 100 spectators cheering everyone on. There was music and a ton of energy, which really rocked! Then the finish line brought you right into downtown where there were tons of people cheering you on through the finish! The only criticism that I have is at times in the park you were running down a path which was a little small. Not a huge deal though.
After Race Party: The finish area was spread out through about three blocks. Upon the finish, I was given a sweet medal and an empty bag. Which I was like, “What am I suppose to do with an empty bag?”. Well the answer was stuff all the amazing food and drinks that they had at the end! After I grabbed my bag filled with my warm-ups, I was able to enjoy all the other festivities. The local bars and restaurants were all open and had outdoor seating and the road was blocked off with tons of activities for families. My girlfriend and I opted to sit at one of the bars, listen to some awesome music and have a, well deserved, Mankato Brewery craft brew! And yes she deserved it too because she went to three different places to cheer for me!
Overall the race was awesome! I am waiting for registration to open, because I want to do the Full Marathon next year!
Keep the run on!