Here is Holly's Providence Race Report along with video and Dave's comments on spectating and touring the area at the end:
There are not many options for a marathon in Rhode Island as you could imagine. I was excited to see this one as the weekend was a good timing for me. I was going to target this one as the one that I would race and try to get a good time. We stayed at the Omni which was a great location for this race. The Expo was at the mall right next door and I could see the start and finish line from my hotel room. I stayed in the room until a half hour before start time. This was such a nice change from the runDisney races a few weeks before. The marathon was going to have a separate start time and its own course vs. the half marathon and there were about 1000 of us lined up for the full. The weather was perfect at the start but rain was in the forecast and I was worried I wouldn’t be done before it started. This was more incentive to run faster!
The beginning of the course was nice and went by Brown University. After that it got pretty boring. We were just running in coned lanes on busy roads. I was not really enjoying the course. My legs weren’t feeling great either, but thankfully they did loosen up around mile 7 or 8 and I was able to keep close to my goal pace. The course got a bit prettier around the half-way mark, but overall it was just on some paved trails through the woods. I was hoping for some more water views and they were few and far between. The water stops were plentiful and they had water, Gatorade, and some had bananas and gels.
I was hoping to get under 5:15, but I just couldn’t get there. 5:17:53. I was still very happy with this time as it’s my second fastest marathon. Another incentive to run fast was the beer garden was only going to be open until 1:00pm. I made it to the beer garden and had a delicious Naragganset beer. Dave unfortunately got stuck in traffic hell because downtown Providence decided to schedule three major events at the same time. I felt bad for him, but he did such a great job of seeing me several times on the course and he is always super supportive.
I’m glad Rhode Island is finished and I wouldn’t rush back to do this one again, just do to the non- scenic nature of the course. However, the organization, medal and support were amazing.
We made it to our hotel in time enough to hit a local restaurant before the kitchen closed. Union Station Brewery wasn't very active for a downtown bar on a Friday night, nor were their beers some of our favorite, but at least the food was good. It's no longer a John Havard's location so maybe that had something to do with it.
Saturday we decided we could hit the expo later in the day and tour Newport in the morning. It was a 45 minute one-way drive. I found a blog post about a ten mile drive around the peninsula, but didn't have anymore details. Thank goodness for the visitor center and their knowledge of the route. We followed the route to see Fort Adams, the Portugese Monument, kite flyers, new beautiful homes, and the famous mansions. It was a bit of a killer for me to drive by all the crappy tourist shops and nautical dive bars knowing we were not visiting any of them. We did get out of the car and walked around the fort, the monument, and The Breakers mansion. As we were exiting town the traffic coming in was significant so good call on the morning visit.
We headed back to town for lunch at Trinity Brewing. They have been around for a long time and their restaurant was a bit quirky. Beers were good and true-to-style and the food was very good. We visited the race expo held in an empty mall store (think of when the Halloween costumes fill an open slot). While there we killed time in a couple of stores and I bought a sweet Boba Fett wallet in Spencer's.
Afterwards we headed outside of town to visit another brewery. Revival Brewing is housed in the basement of Brutopia Restautant. The restaurant has all their beers on tap and the downstairs brewery can serve samples (state law), mostly stuff you can't find upstairs. The basement was all about play with free pinball, ping pong, bags, and a chalk-drawn box ball court. Beer-wise we preferred their brown ale and coffee stout (shocker). Dinner was at Trattoria Zooma up on Federal Hill. Great atmosphere and delicious food.
The morning of spectating went relatively smooth save for a few glitches. Around mile 13 I missed Holly due to an unforeseen premature road closure. By the time I hoofed it over to the trail she was on I missed her within a minute (confirmed by iPhone tracking). That miss had me divert way around the course to get to a new spectating area 4 miles later. I planned to spectate at Mile 24, and actually stood there for two minutes, then thought better of it and headed back to the hotel. The drive through the Brown University area was nice but after that things got ugly. The convention center was attached to our hotel and next to the finish line. Besides the races and associated road closures you had a college graduation, the Providence Food and Wine Festival, and usual downtown traffic all colliding into one mess. Adding to the fun is the fact that the streets around here come to odd angles. I was feet away from the hotel and the police would not let me turn. This diversion led me about 3 miles out of town. On the way back in the police wanted me to go straight, but I turned right and yelled out the window "I'm staying at The Omni". By the time I parked Holly texted she was in the beer garden. I was not in a good mood for hours.
Holly was correct that the map of the course was deceptive. It looked like there would be plenty of water views. Actually the water was always just a block away. There were plenty of opportunities for snacks, and it was real fun to have a big donut at mile 11 and eat it slowly in front of the runners. I think I had over a dozen viewing opportunities so navigation (with a few exceptions) was not too bad.