|Year of 1st edition:||1984|
|World Athletics Label Road Race:||No|
|Distances:||42K, 21K, 6.5K, kids run|
|Type of race:||Hilly, city run, multi event|
|Time limit:||5 hours (42K), 3h 40min (21K)|
Writing the Brussels Marathon review (I actually subscribed to the half marathon!) was interesting for two reasons. The first one, the usual interest in writing down my impression on the event’s strengths and weaknesses. The second point is that this is the first time I have been booking an event just the week before. In other words, I can deliver a good service to all you, last minute runners!
The booking process
Smooth process. The instructions are clear on the event website, where you need just few clicks to choose and book the event. It is easy to choose or not to have the event T-shirt. (I always say no, I have so many …and yet I end buying it. It is a nice souvenir, but honestly the quality is not the best in this event).
The possibility of having the personalized BIB (with name printed on) expired 3 weeks before the race (including a price “only” 5 € lower). That’s the price to pay for poor planning!
Fair amount of info, in terms of course and program. I would always like to find an altitude mapping (I discovered it was hilly only after booking!)
Another thing offered was a convention with hotels with attractive packages, including promotional fares, massages (!) and late check out. I would have booked it, as I needed to go back to Charleroi (thanks Ryanair!) to change hotel: a shower and a little nap after race was highly appreciated.
One more good remark: being a multi event (we will get there later), the interface is very user friendly as it is possible to add new purchases in the same cart, without restarting the whole booking process.
This is a multi event, including Marathon, Half Marathon, a 6.5K charity and a kids run. The Marathon is the only race with the event T-shirt compulsorily included in the package.
Remarkable event alongside the official program: the day before the races, a casual 5K run takes place. Its name discloses the purposes: it is the Brussels Beer run, that ends at the Belgian Beer Café for a refreshing Belgian beer after the warm up.
Expo and organization
The day before the race, operations go smoothly: the expo is located in the beautiful Parc du Cinquantenaire, next to the gate that is also the arrival point. The procedures to pick up the material are easy: I did not find much people so there was no line. The number of shops and their deals did not impress me. But a major source of disappointment was that the race pack did not include a bag! I think that an event with high degree of internationalization, with travelers not necessarily having a bag for the purpose, should always include a drop off bag. Many brought the T-shirt back in our jacket pockets, and I heard some complains about that.
Hilly, and with that Belgian weather (12 °C and rainy) that gives some extra… flavor. In general a good mix of green areas (parks mainly, but the full marathons have more countryside detours), and touching some of the landmarks of Brussels. Hilly (altitude gain 188 meters for the half marathon). Part of the uphill traits are due to car subway roads between 4th and 6th km: honestly, a challenging sequence if you (like me) did not include hills in your training. The participation of people on the streets is not as warm as in other similar events (but cold and rain don’t help!) but there are bands and performers along the way to cheer you 🙂
Something I did not like, the distribution of the refreshment points: I think that two of them were distant only one km from each other, for example.
The beauty of the last 2 km, after a last uphill effort, is to see the final gate at the end of a final, gently downhill path: a sweet vision and a promise that soon it is over!
And again, the arrival point at the main gates of the park is really something…
Brussels Airport Marathon is a multi-event that will challenge you: the presence of pavé (classic stone paved streets could give the fascinating idea of running a Paris-Roubaix of the marathons. If you are in for a personal best, or a very participated event, this one should not be your priority :-).