What Was Your Most Unusual Pre-Marathon Dinner?

belgrade marathon review
Written by Charlie

The pre-marathon dinner is almost as much ritual and tradition as it somewhat necessary to fuel your body before the big race. However, not all of my pre-marathon dinners have been normal! Find out what my unusual ones are and share your own!

Something I have appreciated at many marathons is how they put on a nice pasta party the night before the big race. Since the traditional pre-marathon dinner is pasta, that makes it something fairly cheap to offer on the part of the marathon but it is still a nice gesture.

What Was Your Most Unusual Pre-Marathon Dinner?

The typical pre-marathon dinner of pasta, bread, sauce, salad, and great conversation is something that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of marathon runners every year! Sometimes they are provided by the marathon (or offered by them) and other times you are left to find something on your own. Sometimes, they can prove to be less than usual!

Included Pre-Marathon Dinners are Great!

Marathons that I ran in Iceland, Serbia, Champaign (Illinois), Dayton, and Fargo (to name a few) all had free pasta dinners offered to the marathoners. I think my favorite pre-marathon dinner had to be in Dayton in Hangar 3 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Just something incredible about eating your pre-marathon meal under some really fascinating aircraft. Of course, you could then get up to stretch a bit and check out more planes on display in the โ€œdining areaโ€ as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Finding Your Own Pre-Marathon Dinner

But, not all marathons offer a free pasta feed โ€“ or even a paid pasta party! That has led me to have some interesting pre-marathon dinners for some of those marathons! ๐Ÿ™‚

My Unplanned Pre-Marathon Dinner

Probably the most unusual and totally unplanned pre-marathon pasta meal for me was when I was on my way to the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama. I was flying in from Rochester for it and the weather was starting to get ugly in the northeast (it takes place in the first part of December so what should I have expected!). I did a same-day confirmed to an earlier flight (yes, I totally miss those old days with Delta and their generous policies as well as being a Diamond Medallion).

I was flying through Atlanta and my flight out of there was delayed. I was going to get in quite late by this point so I hunted out my favorite Atlanta Airport restaurant โ€“ Sbarros. ๐Ÿ™‚ I ordered a nice pasta plate from there and ate my pre-marathon meal for the Huntsville Marathon in the Atlanta airport.

On the Hunt in Dubai

Another time, I was in Dubai running the marathon for the first time. Where I was staying was not exactly near any Italian places so I went to the Dubai Mall figuring I could definitely find something there! Well, not exactly! The closest thing I had found was Pizza hut. So I ordered a little pasta bowl, a small pizza, and some garlic bread. Those were definitely not the things to help me get ready for a marathon!

And Others!

Of course, I have had other pre-marathon dinners that included pizza! I remember a great New York City-style pizza place in Kansas City that we ate at the night before the Kansas City Marathon. The pizza is still one that I remember as the amount of garlic on it was incredible! ๐Ÿ™‚

But, these do not include my unconventional pre-marathon meals that I had when I did my solo marathon runs around the world. I have done this twice and the first time, I had to grab something before I headed out in LA (the 2nd marathon in 2 days โ€“ I had barely eaten post-Sydney run) and I ended up grabbing hash browns from McDonalds because it was right near my start. ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely not optimal!

So, what was your most unusual or unexpected pre-marathon dinner?

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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.


  • oatmeal, eggs Benedict, grilled ham, cheese plate, poached pears, strawberries and whipped cream spiked with Grand Marnier … drank prosecco …
    … oh, I be wasnt running, I was just at the breakfast buffet at Tavern on The Green watching the NYC marathoners cross the finish

    • I was reading through thinking “what in the world and how did you run a mile with all that!” – and then I read the end. ๐Ÿ™‚ Running can be a spectator’s sport!