BC Victoria Marathon Course Report
Victoria Marathon: Sit into EVERY uphill and recover on EVERY downhill while taking ALL turns wide
The good news: I LOVE the looks of the elevation map! “small, not-steep, gentle hills will provide lots of recovery opportunities and will keep legs fresh”.
Be aware: lots of dogleg turns and one hairpin turnaround. These will slow you down considerably, waste energy and hurt your ankles if you aren’t prepared to use them a recovery gifts, just like downhills. DO NOT PUSH ON DOWNHILLS.
The strategy: Like most urban marathons, Victoria wants you to see the BEST parts of the city. Unfortunately, like most urban marathons, the course will be riddled with loops and doglegs in order to meet that goal. Sit into EVERY uphill and recover on EVERY downhill while taking ALL turns wide. This will be critical to your success.
Position yourself at the back of your corral, centered in the middle. Let everyone else pull away and waste energy moving left to right since NO ONE remembers geometry to know what a tangent is, much less how to calculate one. Let them chase and hug corners, you are going to stick to the middle and take those first four doglegs nice and wide. Hold back and don’t get too comfortable on Cook Ave because Beacon Hill Park will slow the whole crowd down. Be patient, this is an advantage for you. Everyone else will be stressing about ‘losing time’ but you know better.
Dogleg at the 8k mark to exit the park, then again at 8.5 and 9.3. Now the ‘out and back’ portion of the race begins. Do NOT get greedy, do not try to make up any time because you haven’t ‘lost’ any. Besides, you have several more doglegs before you reach Oak Bay. Once you round the dogleg after the 16k mark feel free to settle in and enjoy the ride and views until you hit the doglegs and hairpins stationed between 23 and 24k. The time to pick up speed is now, find your stride without getting greedy and open up a bit between the 24k and 30k mark, where the doglegs start back up.
If you need water, make use of the stations that show up between 30-35k; don’t stop from there to the finish line.
When you see the 35k mark you know that you’ve got smooth sailing to the finish, so slingshot yourself around that dogleg and GO. Negative split every kilometer to the finish line (don’t go crazy, just focus on your breathing and picking it up a touch every time you see a mile or kilometer marker). I do NOT recommend stopping if you can possibly push through, there’s plenty of water at the finish line. Now is the time to dig deep and focus.
At the 41k mark position yourself in the middle of the street. There are 6 sharp turns, take the first 5 wide, gathering speed after every turn, then slingshot down Belleville to the finish line.