Summary: Running is serious business in Northern Europe so if you’re looking for a fun marathon where people wear costumes and the streets are lined with spectators holding signs with marathon-humour, Tallinn is not the one for you. Costumes are of course not banned but you’d just be the only one wearing one. If you’re not fussed about having a humorous marathon and just want a no-fuss flat and uncrowded autumn marathon, Tallinn is definitely the one for you.
- When: September
- Where: Tallinn, Estonia
- Price: € 40
- Plane ticket from London to Tallinn and back: £ 126
Race started at 9 a.m. I got to the start area at 8:15 and I had time to drop off my bag, run to warm up for 15 minutes and go to the portaloo 6 times.
Amazing for a marathon, right?
This year there were around 1700 marathon runners which meant pre-race was easy and hassle free, most of the crowd crossed the start line within a few minutes of the gun going off and the route was never crowded.
September weather in Estonia tends to be on-off rainy and 10-17°C. This year the forecast was for 22°C but thankfully on the day it didn’t go above 16 and the sun never came out. I was so happy but I heard a guy say around 15km to his buddy “I wish the sun would come out”. Nutcase.
There were 13 water stations and 2 energy gel stations. Water and sports drinks were in paper cups which I find really annoying as it’s impossible to run and drink from a cup but turned out I’m the only weirdo – NOBODY else had a Camelbak or their own water bottle, everyone just slowed down at the drink stations, drank their liquids and hit the road again. And all the litter was paper cups, not plastic bottles. Environment happy.
The route was flat except for the last km to the finishing chute. A bit of a cruel joke but it wasn’t a huge incline so I didn’t hate it too much. The finish chute was about 200m of cobble stones. Again, a bit tricky to sprint on but considering the rest of the way had been flat and mostly uneventful, it was ok.
I said ‘mostly’ uneventful only because km 20-22 were going through a wooded area and because it had been raining the week before the unpaved path was a bit muddy. Most runners were ok, I just felt bad for the guy who was going for a world record of bouncing two basketballs for the entire marathon distance – his face was afterwards covered in mud for the rest of the race.
After finishing we got a medal, a nice big chunky one, a space blanket and a goodie bag with granola bar, yoghurt drink, bottle of water and bottle of vitamin water.
All marathon runners were given free access to showers at a sports centre about 2km away from the start/finish area and free public transport for the whole weekend as well.
A handful of photos were up within a day already and as soon as new ones are added you get an email notification. Photos are 3.99EUR each for a high-resolution downloadable.
It was my first time running Tallinn Marathon and from the 4 marathons I have done, it was my best one as far as my finishing time but also the experience. It helps hugely if the start is hassle free and fast, if there are no lines to bathrooms/bag check/etc. It helps hugely when you don’t have to stand around for a long time before you actually get to start running.
Next year’s Tallinn Marathon is on 9th of September 2018. I highly recommend it, you not only get to have a hassle free flat race but you also get to see a bit of my beautiful country.