FLM Circus

It is a bit sad how many people regard the FLM (the only marathon I
can think of whose name is inseperable from it's sponsor) as the only
marathon there is inthe whole world ever. Though I do enjoy having the
following conversation dozens of times each year

idiot - So are you running the marathon this year?
me - Which marathon?
idiot - "The" marathon?
me - But which marathon?
idiot - You know? The Marathon?
me - Which Marathon? There are thousands of them. Several hundred in
the UK alone each year.
idiot - Oh I don't know, you know "the" marathon. The one with all
them hippos.

The crowd and support are the two things that the (F)LM is far
superior to other marathons (that I've done). The crowds are great
because they hide hideous places like deptford and poplar, though they
can hide some of the interesting stuff too. The first 2 times I did it
I completely missed that big boat on mile 7. Now it's just a pile of ash.

Paris and Berlin would get my vote for being really big events and
actually getting some nice parts of the city in there. Dublin was
quite good too.

Ones to avoid (from an asthetic point of view) are Milan (24 miles of
motorway), Athens (despite inventing the whole idea the route is 26
miles of motorway, no one for miles and they managed to get the course
to loop onto itself which led to collisions) and Prague (one of the
most beautiful cities I've ever seen, a great castle, great town
square, river, bridges. Pity the route manages to miss all of this)

My personal favourite city marathon would be the god forsaken
chav-ridden cesspit I grew up in. I know Leicester is not a big city
but it was a great course (basically you run out of Leicester and then
back in) and was well supported. I also fondly remember nearly
breaking my back as I slipped over a discarded kebab on mile 2. It was
just like being back at 6th form...