Three Spectator Routes for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
I can still remember my first time as a spectator of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon back in October of 2010. I was new to the sport of distance running, but had serendipitously met a running friend (we’ll call her C.) at my place of work and was eager to watch her run her first 26.2. Of course, few Twin Cities runners want to miss the excitement of marathon weekend, and as such I decided to line up for the TC 10 Mile that starts an hour before. The weather was cool, crisp, and sunny, and as I crossed the finish line of the TC 10 Mile, I eagerly thought about my next move: spectating the marathon!
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After finishing the 10 Mile race, I grabbed the usual water and snacks, found my gear check bag, and high-tailed it to mile 16 to catch C. Spectators were everywhere in a sea of cowbells, funny signs, costumes, music, and more; I was blown away! We caught C. as she ran by with a huge grin on her face, then quickly made our way to see her again at the finish line.
My first experience spectating was no different than the years I spent racing and watching the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon since – fun, exhilarating, and incredibly easy! In fact, I would argue that TCM is one of the easiest and most fun marathons to spectate in the country. The course offers plentiful viewing spots for spectators, and the route allows for easy access by car, public transportation, or bike. You can even run the TC 10 Mile race and jump back onto the course to watch the marathon like I did!
3 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Spectator Routes
Whether you’re racing or leading a cheer corner, below are three marathon spectator routes to catch all of the action. I purposely chose routes that involve public transportation, biking, and walking, though many similar routes are easily accessible by car. Check out the full Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon course map here.
Start Line to Finish Line
(Route includes walking and METRO Green Line light rail)
The simplest way to watch both the marathon start and the finish is to hop on the METRO Green Line light rail. Start at S. 6th Street and Portland Avenue to catch the thrill of the start line in downtown Minneapolis. According to Twin Cities in Motion, spectator viewing areas for the start of the marathon are along both sides of S. 6th Street west of Portland Avenue. For the 10 mile race, spectators can line Portland Avenue north of S. 3rd Street. After you catch your runner(s) at the start, hop onto the METRO Green Line light rail at the U.S. Bank Stadium stop and take the train all the way to the Capitol/Rice Street stop. Walk roughly half a mile to the St. Paul Capitol near the marathon finish line.
Start Line, Mile 15, Mile 23
(Route includes walking, METRO Blue Line light rail, and optional biking)
Interested in spectating more of the race? You can catch runners at the start, mile 15, and mile 23 by hopping on the METRO Blue Line and doing a bit of walking or biking. Start at the start line of the marathon at S. 6th Street and Portland Avenue, then after your runner(s) pass hop onto the METRO Blue Line at U.S. Bank Stadium. Get off at the 46th Street stop and walk South to Minnehaha Parkway to catch runners at mile 15. From there, you can walk or bike over the Ford Parkway bridge (just off 46th Street) and head north on Snelling Avenue to catch runners at mile 23 on Summit Avenue. Extra credit goes to spectators who walk or bike the remaining 3.2 miles to watch runners at the finish line.
Start, Mile 10, Mile 19, Summit Ave
(Route includes walking and biking)
Want to catch runners in the beginning, middle, and end of the race? This is the spectating route for you! Start at the start line at S. 6th Street and Portland Avenue, then hop on your bike (you’re committed to this, right?) and head south on Portland Avenue via bike lane from downtown Minneapolis to 50th Street where runners will be passing the 10-mile mark. Scream your heart out, then get back on your bike and ride north on Park Avenue via bike lane and hook up with the Midtown Greenway (entrance just North of Lake Street) and ride east to West River Parkway to catch runners at mile 19 before heading over the Franklin Avenue Bridge. Get back on that bike and head to Summit Avenue in St. Paul (several different routes available, though you should be able to cross at the Franklin Bridge, Lake Street Bridge, or Ford Parkway Bridge) where runners will dig deep in the final miles. You can catch your runner(s) anywhere from mile 21 until the finish line, just be sure to stay off the course!
For more spectator guidelines, tips, race schedule, and more view the full Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Spectator’s Guide here.
Are You Spectating the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon?
Are you spectating the 36th annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, October 1st? What routes will you take to see your runners on the course? Share in the comments below.