November 6, 2016
Given how often city streets seem to be closed for one road race or another, you may assume that the Triangle hosts a dozen or more marathons a year. While it's true that regional running culture is especially healthy right now, most area races don't stretch for the required 26.2 miles, at least along the roads. In fact, only three do—Cary's Tobacco Road, Raleigh's Rock 'n' Roll, and Raleigh's City of Oaks. The first is tediously flat and less than scenic. The second is pleasant to see but corporately controlled and a bear to run. But the third, which has been running around downtown Raleigh and north through the city's greenways for a decade now, is the real winner. Set just after Halloween, it's not an easy course, with rolling elevations past Crabtree Creek and a ghoulish "Hill of Death" beyond the twenty-mile mark. Still, the look is pretty and the crowd pleasant, with easy access for motivational onlookers. It's one of the only marathons we've ever wanted to run a second time.