Route 66 Marathon Race Review & Where NOT to Stay in Tulsa

The Route 66 Marathon is in the done column & so is the great state of Oklahoma!  This was my 25th marathon and the 15th state in my quest to run a marathon in every state.  In order to be totally honest, when Judy talked us into Rt 66 we signed up, I didn’t exactly know where Tulsa, OK was on the map.  So I think I asked a few questions before pulling the registration lever:  1)  Can we drive there?  2)  It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, can Julie get time off from her retail J.O.B.?  3)  Is anyone else running?   Turns out EVERYONE was running, so it was a done deal.  We went to Tulsa, Oklahoma with 2000 other Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics & 50 States Club members.  I’m in the back.  Don’t worry, I can’t see me either.  Smile

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Tulsa was a 12 hour drive from Auburn, IN.  Takes longer when you have car trouble and have to stop every 2 seconds to turn off the car to reset the code and/or try to find a dealership with an open service department, in God’s Country, on a weekend.  Yeah, that happened but we finally rolled into Tulsa early Saturday afternoon.  Tulsa is in the north east corner of the Panhandle State.  Hello, Oklahoma!

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I was scheduled to be part of a Blogger Forum at the expo Saturday afternoon.  We made it in time for that and I got to meet some other bloggers and hear some great stories about running, blogging and life.  From left to right:  Esther, Jim, Joules, Angela & me.

Blogger Expo

The expo was a decent size but packet pick up was crowded and the computers went down causing long lines and some crabby runners.  Sad smile  Fortunately, we were in and out of the expo pretty quickly. 

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We hit some key booths:  Garmin & Gypsy Runner (cuz Amy runs a lot of the same races that we do, so we are totally BFFs, right?), then on to the hotel and dinner.

Normally, I try to keep things positive and upbeat but from runner to runner, I feel the need to share.  If you are planning to run this race next year, I’ll tell you where NOT to stay.  The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tulsa WEST – Sand Springs, 101 West Marrow Road, Sand Springs, OK.  Although we had called BEFORE we booked a reservation and were guaranteed late checkout, the manager did not honor that request when we checked in on race weekend.  And she was rude.  We were told to get our stuff out of the room on race morning, then come back after the marathon and she would check to see if they had a DIRTY room they had not yet cleaned.  IF she could find a dirty room, then maybe she would let us shower there.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I don’t want to shower in a dirty room where I don’t even know the former occupants.  This was a very unpleasant experience and now I’ve removed the Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express from my list of acceptable hotels.  I run a lot of races.  I travel for running, work and leisure and I have to admit that most places we stay are very accommodating.  Nobody has ever rudely sent me on my way, without a shower, for a 12+ hour drive, after running for 4-5 hours.  And hopefully this will never happen again.  We had multiple friends who had a great experience at the Double Tree, 616 W. Seventh Street, Tulsa, OK.  Do yourself a favor and stay there instead.  

Onto the race itself.  Very cold morning.  Race start and finish were in two separate locations but there were shuttles between those spots.  Win!!  We were underdressed and froze our bums off awaiting the race start.  But once the race started it was worth the wait.  There were starting corrals with very strict watchers making sure everyone was in their correct place.  5 minutes between corral starts.  Each corral was sent off in a flurry of confetti. 

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As always the first 3-4+ miles were super crowded, although for once, I didn’t have to run around a lot of walkers who started ahead of me.  But the streets were narrow and I wouldn’t so much see the hills we were running but rather feel the momentum going up or down.  It was a strange feeling but a cool one.  The course was beautiful and a perfect highlight reel of Tulsa:  Cascia Hall, Woodward Park, Rt 66 Pedestrian Bridge, University of Tulsa & amazing neighborhoods that were both pet & kid friendly.  It looked like an awesome place to live with so many houses showcasing lots of unique character.

Rt 66 Bridge

Bands.  Lots of bands.  The Rock N Roll series has NOTHING on The Rt 66 Marathon.  Nothing.  I heard more live music in this race than I’ve heard in all of my combined races this year.  Everything from Folk to Gospel to Rock to Bongo drums (we saw that guy 5x, he was committed to us in a HUGE way).  Great show, Tulsa, really great. 

Community support!  Wow.  Marathons take a long time.  This one took me personally FOREVER to run.  The community was out in full force, even in the chilly temps, with kids, dogs, food, drinks, jello shots, mimosas, beer shots, and even offering therapeutic rollers for those of us who had gotten a “little” stiff from the hills.

Hills?  Did I say hills?  Yes.  Lots of hills.  More than I had expected and I didn’t fare very well on them either.  Without going into all the bloody gory details, I fell last week while running and managed to mess myself up pretty good.  Well, I didn’t really know how messed up I was til I started hitting those hills.  Apparently I did more than bloody myself in the fall.  My hips are WAY out of line now and I stretched some of the muscles around my right hip and left knee.  So I was a hurting momma in Tulsa on Sunday and to be honest, had it not been for my BRF, Julie, I would have quit.  I almost quit anyhow.  But she “carried” me thru and stayed with me even though she could have ran so much faster. 

So, did we take the detour?  Heck yeah!.  The Rt 66 Marathon offers a Center of the Universe detour.  It adds 0.3 miles to your marathon and you get a cool looking coin for taking the challenge.  DONE!

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And we finished.  Cool medal.  Cool after party.  The Marathon Maniacs had their own special Maniac Corner where we traded in our medals for special Marathon Maniac medals.  Super cool.  This really is a must do marathon if you are a Maniac.  It’s a GREAT race with lots of support from the race volunteers, the local law enforcement and the community.  And THAT’s what makes for a  great marathon.  Julie, Judy & Me in Maniac Corner cuz we are definitely some sort of maniacs. 

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Thumbs up for Tulsa & the Route 66 Marathon!

** Rock the Route at Rt 66** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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18 thoughts on “Route 66 Marathon Race Review & Where NOT to Stay in Tulsa

  1. That is horrible about your hotel. We stayed at the Double Tree Warren Place. It was 20 minutes away but they provided shuttles down to the race. We didn’t take the shuttles but everyone seemed really pleased. And we had a late checkout. I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience with your hotel. But the race was good and I was so happy to see you at the end. Congrats on a great finish and a good time. I’ll be talking to you soon.

  2. Hey, I think I was standing behind you in the starting corral! That really sucks about your hotel, my friend and I lucked out on an awesome Air BnB. I was pleasantly surprised by Tulsa- I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun running a marathon, and it’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed a second half of a course more than the first. Congrats on another marathon finish!

    • It was a great race!! And I was so frozen in the corral. I had to wear a skirt cuz my knees were all scabbed up from my fall. So I wasn’t as comfortable as I could have been. Lol!

      Great job out there!!

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  3. I guess I forgot that about my trip to Tulsa…accommodations. I was either in a Holiday Inn or Days Inn…no problems with the checkout or such, but hotel sorta in not-so-good shape. I didn’t care…wasn’t in room that much and back then…it was go as cheap as possible. I should have warned you about the long drive there…I drove it straight thru and all night…sleeping in front seat of cab at some truck stop less than an hour away realizing I would arrive way before check in time. Once I got there everything was great… I was there days before the race…weather nice…brought my bike and rode and explored sections of the course…which is always fun thing to do!

    Don’t recall as many hills as you noting…and most what I recall and the hardest was last 6-8 miles or so. I guess there are some “rollers” in Tulsa from the start, but thought there was nice long section on Rte 66 following the river that seemed fairly level. They didn’t offer the Center of the Universe Challenge when I ran it, nor do I recall any great emphasis on Marathon Maniacs or being able to exchange medals for…but there were MM’s there and I guess if you need Oklahoma as a state on your list….likely gonna be running Route 66 in Tulsa!

    Also don’t remember anything about crowded streets…except 1st mile from start a bit tight…certainly nothing like that Monumental Marathon I recently ran, or in years past, Indy Mini…pure blockades to work thru for many miles! Based on your review…seems like they added quite a bit to the race since the days I ran it…and that is always great to hear! And I really don’t concern myself about quality of accommodations…especially in these “remote” state marathons…just as long as it as inexpensive as possible….and no roaches, rats or mice!

    If I make a good run at Boston next April…I may again resume trying to add on more to “states list” and maybe show up at that Flying Pig Marathon and keep it all real easy…maybe lots of walking! Then late summer or is it early fall (?)…do that “Peace” Marathon in Michigan. One year I may do that Boston-Big Sur thing and get California off my list, but it isn’t going to happen this year!

    Great race review….wish you would have had more moderate temperature and not as bad experience with the hotel! Keep it up TTF….you and your gang is
    amazing!

  4. Awesome recap!! And great lodging advice LOL. When we did Grandma’s, our hotel’s “late checkout” ended a few hours before we got back, so they told us we could use the pool showers…but they didn’t mention they were “open” showers right by the pool. Ummm, NOT happening. My friend and I grabbed a few towels and locked ourselves in the ladies room and took turns at the sink. 😉 You do what you gotta do. This race sounds like another to add to my bucket list!!!

  5. Thanks for being a part of the bloggers forum. It’s always great to hear what motivates folks to share their run stories. Sorry you had an issue with your hotel in Sand Springs. Next year get in one of the official hotels. I know they include late checkout.
    Hope to see you back in Tulsa soon!
    Cheryl

  6. I understand your frustration about not getting the 3pm checkout as requested and we do try to accommodate all late checkout requests. Due to having 20+ rooms that were runners in the race that were also requesting 3pm checkout, we were only able to offer a 1pm checkout. Our normal check-in time is 3pm and we had to have rooms cleaned and ready for arriving guests. We would love to take care of you in the future and please feel free to contact the hotel directly with any questions.

    • Thanks for the response Dana but I don’t want to call the hotel so that I can be greeted with your attitude or rudeness again. Once is enough. I’m thankful your staff was more pleasant & professional than you were to us.

      This isn’t our first time traveling for a marathon, we called to verify that we could get a late checkout before we booked the room. I absolutely understand that you had guests coming in but I do NOT believe that you were sold out on a Sunday night & unable to accommodate the marathon runners, which were a small percentage of the field. Any of the other runners could have met your 1pm deadline.

      The other hotels in Tulsa were very accommodating with 3pm check outs. I just don’t understand why your hotel was any different or why you think it’s ok to be rude to your guests. But don’t worry, you won’t have to deal with us again and we’ll try to spread the word so that you aren’t inconvenienced by any runners next year.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • I had a GREAT experience staying at the hotel…EVERYONE including the GM was very helpful and nice. I believe that the above comment is meant to be rude, just because you did not get your way….VERY SELFISH OF YOU…SHAME ON YOU!! There are other guests that expect to be able to check into their hotel rooms on time, so if checkout is 11 and the GM gave you until 1, then it doesn’t sound like she was being rude…she was trying to accommodate you and her other guests. So, I hope that you wouldn’t do harm to the hotel by spreading nasty lies. It is a very nice place to stay with nothing but friendly, helpful people….We will be staying there again.

      • Brenda,

        If we wouldn’t have called before we booked to make sure we could get a late checkout, then this wouldn’t have been a problem at all. The 1pm checkout didn’t allow us time to run the marathon plus detour (which started at 8a with a 5 minute stagger between corrals) & return to the hotel for showering. And we live 12 hours away. This post was meant to help other marathon runners make a more informed choice next year and pick a hotel that accommodates them. No lies are being spread. This was our experience. We were lied to when we booked the room, then the GM (who wasn’t on location & had to be called) was rude to us when we checked in & requested the 3pm checkout to be honored.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

  7. This is definitely THE race to do if you’re a Maniac and enjoy participating in the community. I do remember those hills (fondly in the first half, bitterly in the second), and missing out on the Center of the Universe due to a mixup in instructions. Oh well. Glad to see you got it done, despite the poor hotel experience. I too had a bad fall last week and have been slowly recovering from it — thought I could end the year completely injury-free, but it seems that fate decided to be cruel this time of year.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I had a great time at the race and would definitely recommend running this race!! Best music and support from the community!

    As for the hotel and the manager, I have never had such a horrible experience as I had with her. I called and verified a 3pm check out and the person who answered the phone stated to put it in the comments of the online check out and it would be NO PROBLEM!! Well it was a huge problem, I was on the phone with the very RUDE manager for almost 15 minutes. To suggest they would give me someone else’s dirty room that had checked out was about the most appalling, who would think to offer that……why not let us shower in our own dirty room then??
    We still have too many states left to run a marathon in and will be very choosy as to where we stay.

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