Race Review: BQ.2 Marathon Races

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On Saturday, April 17th and Sunday, April 18th, the BQ.2 Marathon Races were held in Geneva. This marathon is hosted every spring and fall and offers a fast, flat course for runners to try and earn a Boston qualifying time.

The race features eight 3.05 mile loops that run along the fox river and through downtown Batavia. This year, the first loop had an additional 2 miles to ensure that runners reach the full 26.2.

“Featuring a net downhill, (thanks to a gentle grade on the 0.3 mile starting spur), the 3.05 mile loop course offers plenty of shade, scenic views of parks and forest preserves bordering the river, and a glimpse of downtown Batavia.” – BQ.2 Website

Normally this race takes place on one day, but with the new COVID-19 restrictions, the race director split the event into two days. Runners were assigned a start time and given extremely detailed instructions on when to arrive, what to bring, and how to ensure everyone’s safety. The race even put out a short video to let runners know what to expect.

The BQ.2 Marathon produces one of the highest number of qualifying times for runners. Participants come from throughout the country hoping to achieve a qualifying time. With a net downhill and a looped course, it is easy to track times as you are going.

Runners crossed two bridges over the Fox River and had two aid stations on each loop. There was a strong cheering section at the halfway point of the loop which pumped up the energy as runners headed back to begin another loop.

“The paved trail along both sides of the Fox Valley River is nearly pancake flat. The path, river proximity, dawn starting time, and average lows in the mid 50’s make for a high probability of ideal racing conditions: cool temps and low wind. And the 8 loop course means 16 Aid Stations, 8 shots at the Elite Water Bottle table (yes, you are treated like an elite runner in this one), and plenty of opportunities for race-provided gel and of course, your own cheering section.”

As runners looped back to the start/finish line, they were greeted with a DJ who called out nearly everyone’s name and announced what loop each runner was on. There was music playing and dancing unicorns to keep everyone motivated.

I was extremely impressed with the organization and detail that went into this race by the race director, staff, and volunteers. Runners knew exactly what to expect upon arrival, alleviating as much race day anxiety as possible.

I have never run this marathon course before and know I will be returning in the future. It was such a fun experience and left everyone feeling special. Upon finishing, there was a bell that runners could ring if they achieved a Boston qualifying time. Volunteers were scattered along the course and finish line area making sure everyone was taken care of.

All runners received a long sleeve technical T-shirt, drawstring bag, and finishers medal. This was the first marathon for many runners since 2019 and a day to remember. A big congratulations goes out to all of the finishers, race volunteers, and race director for a job well done.

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