How to be a Spectator at the Twin Cities Marathon
I’ve personally never run it, but I’ve been a spectator at the Twin Cities Marathon countless times. For me, there’s a tremendous excitement and energy that I get from seeing all the runners. The expressions of joy, pain, happiness, excitement… the magnitude of emotions is at times overwhelming. Knowing not only what they are doing in that moment, on that day, but the amount of sacrifice, hard work and dedication to get there is truly inspiring.
If you are running the Twin Cities Marathon, I congratulate you in advance on a job well done! Know what you’re doing is motivating for so many reasons.
Chances are pretty good that if you are not running the Twin Cities Marathon, you know someone who is! If you’re planning to spectate, here are a few highlights from the 2014 Spectator’s Guide to help you have a great experience.
Bring Your Phone
To get real time updates, sign up for text alerts (up to three runners) and track a runner’s progress along the course. Time and Pace status are sent at the 5k, 10k, ½ Marathon, 30k, 24 mile and finish line points.
Or, if you’ll be near a computer, you can watch a runner’s progress live throughout the course; seeing the same checkpoint updates sent via the text alerts.
Grab a course map, plan your spectating route (expect some road closures) and get up close and personal to cheer on runners. Here’s a list of the top 10 spectator spots:
- Mile 2 – Corner of Douglas and Hennepin Avenue (near the Walker Art Center)
- Mile 4 – Lake Calhoun (west side of the lake)
- Mile 7 – Lake Harriet (near the Rose Garden)
- Mile 11 – Minnehaha Parkway & Cedar Avenue
- Mile 13 – Lake Nokomis (the halfway point!)
- Mile 15 – Minnehaha Falls
- Mile 20 – The ALARC Wall
- Mile 21 – East River Road Hill (leading to the University of St. Thomas)
- Mile 22-25 – Summit Avenue (anywhere along this 3 mile stretch!)
- Mile 26 – The Finishing Chute (near the Cathedral and John Ireland Blvd)
Over the years of cheering on my husband, I’ve perfected my own 5-spot route using smart navigating through the city along with the text alerts of where he is on the course. Three of those spots are on the top-10 list, however, two of my favorite spots are not (Mile 17.5 and just before Mile 21).
To get there, I drive and park just off Marshall on the St.Paul side of the river. A jog over the Lake Street bridge to Minneapolis gets me to Mile 17.5 where runners are usually (still) smiling and in great spirits! A jog back over the bridge to St. Paul brings me to Mile 21 where runners may have just hit the wall and could use extra motivation before the hill that takes them to the crowds lining Summit Avenue.
It’s a great way to get in two spots at once (with a little jog for me!) and once I’m done there, I can get right back in my car and head to downtown St. Paul to John Ireland Blvd in time to see my husband cross the finish line.
Show Your Spirit
Make a sign, bring a cowbell and get vocal as you cheer for the runners along the course. Having a stranger yell out a motivating comment can do wonders for a runner’s mindset – so keep it going throughout the morning!
While you’re out there, be courteous and keep your eyes open. Don’t block the runners’ path and if you MUST cross the course, be sure you’ve got plenty of space and hurry (I’ve seen too many spectator/stroller/child/runner close calls over the years)!
Don’t forget to give a few shout outs to one of the 5,000 volunteers along the course. These folks are giving their time and energy to make the TCM happen and they deserve some cheers too!
Reunite with Your Runner
Need to find a runner after the race? The meet up area on the Capitol Grounds are designated with letters of the alphabet (A-L on the West Lawn and M-Z on the South East Lawn), so finding your runner after the race is a breeze.
When you’re reunited with your marathoner, shower lots of accolades upon them. They’ve accomplished something amazing and need to hear how fantastic they as you carry them off to their favorite post-race food spot!