Richmond Marathon: Is It Hilly?

November is almost here and for the last 5 months Richmond has been in marathon mode. Richmond has a reputation of being a great first marathon. In fact, store manager, Tim Jones, will be running his first lifetime marathon at Richmond this year! In addition to being “America’s Friendliest Marathon,” the course is also considered easy relative to other marathons.

The difficulty of marathons most often comes down to how often you’re going up. And one of the most common questions we get from runners doing Richmond for the first time is: Is it hilly?

That, of course, is relative. So let’s take a look at Richmond’s elevation profile and then compare it to some alternatives:


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So in looking at the elevation profile for Richmond, we see 3 major inclines: Up from the River Road Shopping Center to the Huguenot Bridge (Mile 8) , up from Pony Pasture to Forest Hill Ave (Miles 11-12) , and up from Belle Isle to Main St. (Miles 17-18). The good news is, after mile 20, it is almost all downhill!


Altogether, the total elevation gain, or the total height of all the hills on the course, is 495 ft. Over the course of 26.2 miles, that’s nothing for any marathoner to handle!


Lastly, let’s compare the total elevation gain at Richmond to some other US Marathons:


Richmond Marathon: 495 ft.
Marine Corps Marathon:  535 ft.
Boston Marathon: 783 ft.
New York Marathon: 885 ft.
Pikes Peak: 7,901 ft.
Tucson: 130 ft.



Comparatively, not all that hilly! So just remember when you’ve reached Boulevard, it’s basically all flat and downhill for the final 10K.


Good luck, everybody! Who’s up for Pike’s Peak next year????

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