Memorial Day is only a few days away, which means the Buffalo Marathon Race Weekend is almost upon us.
In affirmation of the event’s popularity, both the Marathon and Half Marathon sold out quickly for the second year in a row despite race organizers adding 21% capacity. This year’s Full and Half Marathon start earlier on Sunday at 6:30 AM instead of 7:00 AM, in keeping with a trend amongst marathon races to start as early as possible in order to minimize racer’s exposure to higher mid-morning temperatures. Borrowing from other signature metro races like Boston and New York, the 2016 Buffalo Marathon is offering athlete “live tracking“, allowing family and friends to monitor location and performance of racers during the event itself using their smartphone or web browser.
The race weekend kicks off with a “0.0k” party Friday night at Templeton Landing, with the Family-Friendly 5K, Kid’s Race, and Race Expo taking place on Saturday. The Half and Full Marathons wind their way through the downtown early Sunday morning, and are expected to end around 1:00 PM. Slow Roll Buffalo is also taking part this year, organizing free riding events on both Friday and Memorial Day Monday, and are encouraging anyone with a bicycle to take part. The athlete/spectator guide can be downloaded here. Information on parking and road closures is also available online, and anyone driving downtown Sunday morning for the Full and Half Marathon is advised to give themselves lots of time to find parking and make their way to the start line.
Racers from 45 states and 18 countries will be taking part in the races this year, including elite runners who hope to take home some of the $17,000 of prize money. There is also a new racing division for the visually impaired this year, which has nine racers taking part. For the first time in many years, both the Full and Half Marathon routes will be identical to the previous year’s due to the lack of construction projects forcing detours.
The keynote speaker at the Race Expo this year is once again Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World, and a staple at large North American races. Bart is not only speaking at the Expo at 10 AM Saturday, but also taking part in both the 5K and the Full Marathon this year. Meb Keflezighi, an U.S. Olympian runner and former Boston Marathon winner will also be holding a Virtual Talk and Q&A at 2:00 PM Saturday.
The Buffalo Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying race, and according to Race Director Greg Weber, roughly 12-13% of racers make the qualifying times each year. “Racers like the fact that the Buffalo course has long straight stretches and minimal turns, allowing them to break into their racing stride faster and maintain it for longer distances”, Greg explains. The current course record is 2:15:59 for men, and 2:39:01 for women.