I am not talking about t-shirt size here ;-)
Lately I've been following the cool running thread on Sydney Marathon with great interest, in particular with respect to the new course.
Somebody posted a map-my-run on the new course and if you click the elevation profile, it doesn't look that hilly anymore. As a matter of fact, after km 30 where people normally tend to slow down, the course goes downhill.
Therefore, it seems that if a runner can navigate the first 30k and still have some in the tank, then sustaining goal pace in the last 10-12k is a real strong possibility due to the net descend.
Pros and Cons for Melbourne:
+ Three weeks later than Sydney equates to longer prep time
+ My in-laws has a house there = easier on the budget
+ HM race four weeks out; a useful test to predict marathon fitness and goal time
- Weather too unpredictable (although last year was great)
It seems the Melbourne course is flat with some rises at the end, but I haven't seen the course profile personally. Maybe TB who has done it in the last couple of years can chip in?
But if the weather sucks on the day, there is a risk that 4 months of good training will become a waste...
Pros and Cons for Sydney:
+ More reliable and pleasant weather conditions
+ Haven't done Sydney before and running the Harbour Bridge and finishing at Opera House will be special
- No tune-up races before the marathon
- I am not that great in hills (I always aim for flat marathons, hence past training always on the flat)
Currently still leaning towards Melbourne, but the new Sydney course is definitely very tempting.
Will not make decision until July/Aug, but any inputs will be appreciated. Thanks!