Distance: 26.22 mi
Type: Loop/Out-and-back, Road
Difficulty: 3 / 10
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Filed Under: Running
The 26.2-mile marathon course, mostly flat with a few rolling hills, begins and ends at the American Airlines Center near downtown Dallas. Along the way, runners pass through the wooded Turtle Creek area, prestigious Highland Park, around White Rock Lake, through beautiful Lakewood and down the Swiss Avenue historical district.
The race includes the Michelob Ultra "Run the Rock" Half Marathon and the 5-Person Relay Race, which also begin and end at the American Airlines Center. Half-marathoners will follow the marathon course race except for the necessary 2.5 mile detour which trims 13.1 miles off the marathon total, while the relay runners utilize the entire marathon course. All three races begin promptly at 8:00 AM.
The 2005 Dallas White Rock Marathon course is relatively flat overall with the exception of the "Dolly Parton" hills located at mile 19. Now remember, this is Dallas so we consider anything with a net elevation gain of over 50 feet a big hill.
The first 5.5 miles are run with a slow steady uphill gain - you probably won't even notice it. The starting 1.5 miles are through downtown Dallas and the Uptown area, featuring part of the course on the brick-lined McKinney Avenue. A trolley still runs in this part of town (although it won't be running race morning), so watch for the trolley tracks! The next part of the course is run through the Turtle Creek area of Dallas, and Highland Park. This is an area of expensive houses and extensive landscaping. Since it is still early in the race, you may not notice any of this.
The next 3.5 miles are a flat stage, with some slightly downhill portions on the way to White Rock Lake. You?ll run on a bridge over Central Expressway, one of the busiest highways in the area. Mile 6 begins just east of Central Expressway, where you enter an older residential neighborhood. The first relay exchange zone is located in this area, just off the marathon course. You?ll run a short distance on Greenville Avenue, home to some of Dallas? famous nightclubs and eating establishments. Then into another residential neighborhood for a long straight run. The trees in this area are quite old and tall.
Then you get to White Rock Lake. The 10 miles around the lake are flat, fast, and quite scenic. If there is a front blowing in from the north you'll feel it at the lake. If not, you might be tempted to take a break and picnic at one of the lake front picnic areas. There are numerous aid stations located around the lake. If you?re feeling good you can really open it up around the lake.
Just past mile 19 you hit the Dolly Parton hills. The Dallas Hash House Harriers sets up camp just before the hills, handing out beer and cookies to all. The hills also serve as "THE WALL". Once you get through this part, you'll do fine. The next 2 miles are slightly uphill, through quiet residential neighborhoods on wide concrete streets. Beginning just past mile 21 you will turn onto Swiss Avenue. The majority of this street is slightly downhill. This is a good time to get your second wind. The houses are grand and majestic, the streets wide, and before long you will be able to see the tall buildings of downtown again.
Just before downtown the course jogs north along the Central Expressway access road. Once under Central Expressway, you will be back in the financial district of downtown, running between the skyscrapers. The course takes a couple of turns, and then you're within sight of the American Airlines Center and the finish line!
This is a fast course that has been designed by runners, for runners. Numerous runners use the annual Dallas White Rock Marathon to qualify for Boston. The weather has been great the past three years, and the aid and support along the course is second to none.