I loved everything about this race except for the emoji theme. Excellent organization and support. Loved the pacers. Beautiful scenic course.
Definitely find a pacer and stick with them! I wasn't ready for the hills in Cincinnati but our experienced pacers kept us from going too hard on the hills, and led me to achieve a personal record several minutes below my goal time.
Book your hotel early, or try an Airbnb! We saved a lot of money by renting an apartment through Airbnb, plus had a lot more space and amenities than a hotel offers.
By IR about 2017
This was my 9th marathon, previous ones: Chicago (3x), Boston, IL Marathon, St. Louis, Houston & Buffalo. This was by far the funnest one of them all. For a mid-sized marathon the course support is pretty amazing & the pig theme is kept through everywhere.
The course is challenging through about 9 with a few good hills. After that it's mostly rolling but more down than up. You reach the highest point on mile 8 with an awesome view of the city. There are a couple miles where are you REALLY running down & it's a great opportunity to get going after the hills.
The race has way more aid stations than other races mainly because it's sponsored by Proctor & Gamble. Course is descently tough, crowd & race support awesome, would do it again in a heart-beat!
I ended up running a PR despite it being the hilliest marathon I've done. I kept it relaxed & controlled until I got through the hills after about 9. On miles 10 & 11 it's nothing but downhill followed by a little up on 12 & a HUGE downhill on 13 (-144ft). I dropped my pace on mile 10 & was strong all the way through 21. Once you hit 19 or so you get onto the interstate & crowd support wavers until about 24.
By Eli about 2016
Super fun course FULL spectators, bridges, great views, pig costumes and Elvis is even there. What's not to love?
Lots of great deals on hotels downtown (cheaper than the race hotels if you check sites). Easy walking. Get some graeter's ice cream!
By GD about 2015
Great marathon. Amazing support from fans and volunteers. Expo was great and the people of Cincinnati really support this race. Terrific course with some amazing views of the City. Loved going into Kentucky in first few miles.
By Buck about 2014
2014 Finisher (Marathon #11)
Course: Challenging hilly course
Spectators: Good / Excellent (20-25, not much easy spectator access)
Organization: Excellent (from greeters at the airport to volunteers at the finish, incredible job). Use of Paul Brown restrooms prior to start was nice too.
Weather: Excellent (50F at the beginning, never got above 65)
Extras: Poster, shirt, medal
Great course; organizers and support are excellent. 2012 saw one of the warmest starts to the race, and organizers were prepared. They were able to ADD aid stations to assist runners, especially for the full distance.
Gilbert Hill, the largest climb, is early in the race - and everyone, half and full marathoners, climb it. The rest of the course is easier after that hill - and the views of the Ohio River will be waiting for you.
There is a point where they ask spectators to separate from participants, so your family/friends won't necessarily be standing right outside your starting corral.
Most of the hotels in downtown Cincinnati are in older buildings. We stayed at one of the race partner hotels, and had a pleasant stay. Yes, it was an older hotel, but it met all our needs (close to expo, and start/finish area; hey, we're runners - we don't mind walking!). If you are looking to stay at a more modern hotel, be prepared to drive and navigate downtown. Various distances, as well as kids' races, take place during the entire weekend.