Yes, we've considered Whistlestop. In fact, I ran it in 2001 as my first marathon. And in the rain the whole way. And I made every rook mistake possible, including starting way to fast which reduced my to walking much of the course between miles 18 and 23. Nevertheless, I finished 20 seconds under 4 hours.
Returning to the race for a shot at redemption holds its attraction.
But I wonder if the crushed limestone might slow us down. The other downsides include the small field that stretches out there. I remember not running with anyone else for long periods of time. And spectators were lacking along the course. Adimal and I will have eachother and we'd see our wives and my kids at a handful of road crossings, which would compensate....
Last night a new guy showed up to run with the monday evening running group in Waupaca. (Yes, we've kept it up since early January and I have yet to run alone.) He said he's run all 15 Fox Cities Marathons yet was reticent to recommend it for a BQ. The elevation map shows a steady climb from miles 14 to 22 but an elevation gain of only 100 or so feet. He also said there's a lot of concrete; less last year. (The course has been rerouted several times over the years, apparently.)
FCM enjoys a lot of community support and enthusiastic spectators for a small marathon, aqccording to the comments on Marathonguide.com. At the same site, "Lakefront" and "wind" are used synonymously and frequently.
I quizzed the new guy about both marathons before he said, unprompted, "You know what you should do? Ashland."
So here we are. Back to square one without a race picked. Fox Cities is Sept. 24. Lakefront is a week later, and Whistlestop is Oct. 14. Chicago is Oct. 22. We're not likely to register for one of the first two AND Chicago given the expense of the latter and need for hotel reservations.
What's good about Fox Cities is that we can eat and sleep the night before at my home and drive the 40 minutes to the starting line the morning of the race. Come to think of it, we could probably run much of the course as a pre-race weekend LSD.
I think we're leaning toward Fox Cities. If so, the Pfitz plan goes into affect this week. Still we've got time to decide. Any more thoughts from y'all would be helpful.