Two weeks to go...

Now it's getting real.  Your marathon/half marathon race day is just two weeks away.  Now is the time to make your race day logistics plan.  Below are some often overlooked but important race-day tips.

Establish your timeline. Writing out your timeline for race morning will eliminate undue stress and anxiety.  It will allow you to focus your energies on the task at hand - your race!

  • When are you picking up your race number and packet?
  • When are you arriving at the race course?
  • How are you getting there?  Car, bus, subway?
  • Did you build in time for traffic and parking?
  • Did you build in time to use the port-o-johns?

Parking. If you are driving on race day morning, you need to plan for your parking.  There are many parking lots and parking ramps available.  Do remember that the streets immediately surrounding the convention center will be CLOSED to traffic.  Click here for driving directions and the local parking map.

Packet Pickup.  Located at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, packet pickup will be on Saturday, May 23 from 9:00am - 6:00pm, and Sunday 5:30am - 6:30am. 

The Course.  Do you know the location of the starting line?  How to get there?  Do you know the layout of the course?  The elevation?  The location of hydration stations? 

  • START: The course starts on Delaware Avenue near Huron.  You will need to enter the starting line FROM THE BACK (not from the front of the arch!).  You must be in the street and pass over the timing mats UNDER the ARCH at which point your time will start.
  • PACE GROUPS: There will be banners indicating the pace groups to help you line up appropriately for your marathon time goal.  Marathon Pace Groups are at 3:10, 3:20, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:00, 4:10, 4:20, 4:30, 4:40, 4:50, and 5:00.  HALF MARATHON PACE GROUPS are at 1:35, 1:40, 1:45, 1:50, 1:55, 2:00, 2:05, 2:10, 2:15, 2:20, 2:25, and 2:30.
  • LAYOUT: The layout of the course takes you some of the most scenic areas of Buffalo.  However, you won't be paying attention to scenery!  You'll be focused in on your pace and body.  The course elevation is modest, but is worth noting.  From mile 13 to mile 15 there is a slight incline of 80' over the 2 mile distance.  By mile 23 as you run by the Albright Knox Art Gallery, you will go down a slight grade (about 20') and right back up (about 20') as you run past the Delaware Park Rose Garden.  To add a challenge, you'll have about a 1/2 mile SLIGHT grade up from mile 25 to 25.5, a climb of about 20'.  From there, it's DOWNHILL to the FINISH (downhill with about a 40' decline over the last mile).  For full course details, check here.
  • Hydration Stations: Water and Gatorade will be available every two miles beginning at Mile 2.  Remember to follow YOUR HYDRATION PLAN that you've been practicing throughout your training! 
  • Fueling Stations: PowerGel will be available near Mile 15 and Mile 21 on the course to bring in those needed calories and electrolytes!  Remember to follow YOUR FUELING PLAN that you've been practicing throughout your training!
  • Finish Line: Oh, this is what you've been looking forward to seeing!  Be sure to cross the finish line with your arms up and a big smile!  And, of course, pick up your finisher's medal.

Post-Race Party. The post-race party will be in the Convention Center immediately following the races.  This is the time to celebrate your accomplishments! The Half Marathon Awards will be presented at 10:00am, and the Relay and Full Marathon awards will be presented at 11:30am. 

Getting Home.  Make sure you have a way to get home after the post-race party!  Make this plan BEFORE race day. 

If you follow the tips above, your race day logistics will go without a hitch! 


Vicki is a distinguished athlete and international competitor, Vicki competed in the 1996 US Olympic Trials in the 10,000 run. She made her marathon debut at the 1999 Hong Kong Marathon, where she qualified for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. In 2001, she was invited to join the Fila Discovery USA training program, a program designed to develop American distance runners into elite marathon athletes able to compete with the best in the world. She has been a member of five USA national teams, including the 1993 World University Games and 1998 IAAF World Road Race Championship in Manaus, Brazil.