I really enjoyed the area around Raleigh and the course takes you through nice parts of the surrounding areas. The expo was well done and the concert venue beside the start/finish is very nice. Overall a good location for a Rock N Roll event. The big minus here is the hills. At about 1200 feet of elevation change it is not a novice or first marathon course.
1200 feet of elevation change! First half is rolling hills and the second half is long inclines. Best of both worlds!
We stayed outside of Raleigh at a La Quinta by Crabtree Valley Mall. My wife and I were easily able to navigate start/finish and she was able to see me at several places on the run. Access the middle of the race from Western Blvd. You should be able to see runners on Hillsborough and Avent Ferry. Use 40/64 and Route 1 to navigate around the outside of the city during the race.