Actually, Running a Marathon Inside a NFL Stadium Does Not Sound Like a Nightmare!

Written by Charlie

There are at least a few people that think that running a marathon inside a NFL stadium (or any looped course) would be incredibly boring. Check out these 5 reasons why this does not have to be true and why I actually like running marathons or ultras on looped courses!

I wrote last week about the Gillette Stadium Marathon (the home of the New England Patriots) – the first certified marathon to ever be run completely in a NFL stadium. I have had some feedback from people about it, some think it is cool, others not so much!

Running a Marathon Inside a NFL Stadium Does NOT Sound Like a Nightmare!

I saw an article by someone today saying it sounds like a “nightmare” to run this. I actually couldn’t disagree more with that! He takes the position that running 100 laps on a track would be very boring. For some, I understand that it could be. However, there are some cool things about running any race on a loop that can make a race appealing.

First of all, I have run a few races on a looped course – everything from under 1/2 mile (for 12 hours – over 130 loops!) to a 3 mile loop (over 24 hours). I have also done 10 – 18 mile workouts on a 1/4 mile track before. So, I know a little about running in circles or loops! Even though the author of the post above sounds like he is not a runner, I realize that even runners may think that running in circles is crazy. So, here are some things I like about races like this!

Running in Loops Allows for Better Aid Stations

Think about this – the organizers have a fixed point that runners will pass every .25 mile! This means they are able to make sure it is the mother of all aid stations. It allows them to focus all of their efforts at this single point to ensure that they have what the runners need. Plus, you don’t even need to think about carrying a water bottle! 🙂

Running in Loops Gives You Better Interaction

There are only 100 runners that will be participating in this marathon. If you were to stretch out 100 runners over the course of a typical marathon, you would likely never see another runner throughout the race! In fact, even during a marathon with about 1,000 runners, it is not abnormal to be somewhat isolated for a couple of miles at a time.

Running a .26 mile course means you will have company all throughout the race – even the opportunity to lap other runners!

About that lapping…

This can actually be a huge boost to you during the race! You will be able to pick someone in front of you and work to pass them or lap them and just keep doing that the whole race. This will help you to keep constant but changing targets throughout the race which can really help battle any boredom you may have.

Running in Loops Gives You Better Crowd Support

The stadium will be open for cheering family and friends which means you can see your loved ones the entire race! This is extremely rare in a marathon but this marathon gives you the opportunity to be cheered on the whole way. You are not going to get that at a small-town marathon!

Running in Loops Gives Weather Variety

How many times have you run a race and wished you could have been running in the opposite direction because of the sun or the wind? I am not sure how much wind you will find at your face in a stadium, but you will for sure get to experience varying weather throughout the race – and probably get a pretty even suntan (at least for the first couple of hours since it starts at 5PM).

Running in Loops Leaves No Secrets of the Course

Of course, a .26 mile course doesn’t have a lot of mystery anyway (especially in a football stadium) but when you run a course that is a loop, it helps you to quickly learn every part of the course. This gives you a chance to really own that course!


Sure, running in a circle for 26.2 miles is not nearly as exciting as running a route that takes you through a beautiful city or area of forests. But, a race like this gives you the unique perspective of a world famous sport stadium – from field level, for 26.2 miles. This is one of those races you run that is for the speciality of it, not the actual route.

But when it comes to all circle/loop courses, keep the above points in mind. Running a looped course is not as boring or a “nightmare” as some people might think! I ran a 12 hour .5 mile loop course 3 times and always had a great time! It was so much fun to run with friends throughout the day, even though we run at different paces. It was also a blast to have a monster aid station with all the food and drink you could imagine! Finally, the port-a-potties were never full – big plus!

Featured image By Art N. (Gillette Stadium) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I train for a half by running on a school track just so that I can stop for water when I want to! Also when someone told me that a 5 K was 12 1/2 laps, it made the distance goals more achieveable.

    • That is a good way to break it down! The first 8 miler I ever ran was on a track – not as easy as I had thought it would be! But it was nice to have the water so accessible!

  • I’ve run the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, Indiana which finishes inside the football field at Notre Dame. Also, when I ran the NJ Shore Marathon, it finished on the field at the Long Branch High School. The Kentucky Derby marathon entered Churchill Downs for a few minutes, and the Luxembourg Night Marathon finishes inside a convention center. I think there were a few others like this. None of these however were run entirely on a football field, etc.

    • So cool to finish in Notre Dame! I did the Illinois Marathon a few years ago and we finished in the university stadium. Fargo finishes inside their sports arena and I had done Akron which finishes in their (AA or AAA?) baseball stadium. I love it when races do things like this.
      I really want to do some marathons that finish in Olympic stadiums!

      • I’m fairly sure the Amsterdam marathon starts at the Olympic Stadium (I once lived across the street), but I’m not sure where it finishes. You would love Kyoto Marathon – it goes past many UNESCO world heritage sites.