Pre-Race Meals


I don’t know about you, but one of my concerns when I travel to races is what I am going to eat the night before. I want something that is going to help my race and not make me sick. It has to be:

– fast (I don’t want to be on my feet for an hour waiting for a table)
– affordable (I would rather spend $$ on the post-race celebration)
– nearby (I’ve already traveled to the race, I don’t want to spend another hour getting to dinner)

I’ve spent many a night scouring the internet for restaurants to eat at before a race, and on more than one occasion, I’ve settled for a dud. I’m hoping to put a stop to that right here – not just for me, but for all of us.

In order for this to work, I need your help!! I’ve started by listing the ten largest marathons in the U.S. at:

I need you to provide restaurants that you or someone you know has eaten at, preferably, but not necessarily, before a race. I’d like for you to give me the name, location, a brief description and whether or not you would recommend it. You can leave it in the comments section of this post and I will add it to the page. I may be able to rustle up a small prize for the person who can provide the most helpful guidance.

If this works, I will expand it to more races and locations – and I will also add a post-race page that will focus on post-race drinking, as well as post-race eating.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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10 Responses to Pre-Race Meals

  1. I’ve run Portland Marathon.. but can’t for the life of me remember where we ate. It was an Italian place of some sort… heavy on creamy sauces and gluten. Would not be an option for me these days. My favorite pre race dinner experience so far while traveling was renting a house from VRBO for Eugene Marathon and cooking a simple dinner with friends. Fun and you know exactly what you’re eating!

    • Jason says:

      That is a good idea! I’ve never rented a place for a race but I’ve had some so-so hotel experiences so I’d definitely consider it going forward.

  2. It’s so nice. Usually not more than renting a hotel. You also don’t have to worry about hearing drunks stumble into their hotel rooms at 2-4 am. Always a plus!

  3. emmelineruns says:

    I usually eat somewhere “safe” (i.e. Olive Garden), where I know I can get pasta and not be limited to crazy options the night before. I prefer the night of the race when I get to go out for something much more fun and would definitely be more helpful there. But for your research purposes, I had generic pasta at an Italian chain before Columbus marathon, Todd English’s Olives restaurant was SO GOOD before the Vegas Marathon, and at home before the MCM (Virginia girl).

  4. That’s a great idea – sadly, I can’t help with restaurants in the US. Like many posters here though, if I’m travelling for a race, I also opt for an Italian dinner the night before. I just go with pasta with the mildest tomato sauce and it’s always worked fine for me. =)

  5. I wish I could help, but I live in Canada. SoWWy 🙂


  6. jenbigham says:

    This is a great idea! I wish I could help! I coached Portland with TNT so we had a catered meal and I ate at a random bar or chain restaurant like Olive Garden before Boston… don’t even remember! This list will be useful – good thinking!

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