The Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon opened recently for registration. I ran the race back in 2010 and loved the scenic and challenging course. I plan to run it again this year, hopefully as a pacer. The big change to the race this year is the marathon course. The super hilly section through Umstead Park has been removed and replaced by a section further east on the Capital Area Greenway.
Follow the links for maps of last year's course and this year's new course.
I can see why the change was made, because the new course will be much flatter and faster than the old one, which may attract more people to run the race. However, I have some concerns. The hilly and scenic part of the course through Umstead Park is what made this race special compared to other city marathons. It has been 18 months since I ran the race and the thing I remember and liked most is running on trails through the woods late in the race. My other concern is that the new course is pretty much one big out-and-back. Running back and forth over the same course just isn't as exciting as seeing new scenery throughout the race. Hopefully the new course will work out, because I really liked this race and hope it continues to be successful. I'll be there in November to report back what I think!