Wait until the last minute to order a Pace Band?
Choose Expedited or Express Shipping at Checkout and receive your Band in 1-3 Days.

Not all Marathon Courses are the Same.

Make sure you're running the right pace with a Course-Specific Pace Band.

Over 700 Marathon & Half Marathon Courses. Order Yours Today!


Race Dates

2018: Saturday, September 8, 2018
2017: Saturday, September 9, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Mostly Flat
Type: Multiple Loops
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 64°F (17°C)
Average High: 74°F (23°C)
Average Low: 54° F (12°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 97.30
Course Score: 99.14

Race Size

2017: 140 Finishers
2016: 162 Finishers
2015: 112 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 65.7%
2016: 32.1%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: No

Marathon Pace Bands & Elevation Wrist Bands

See what splits you need to run for the Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) or other marathons, adjusted for the specific terrain of each marathon, your goal time and pacing strategies.

Create and Order your Waterproof, Snap-on Pace Band for only $6.99.

Course Description

The Grand Rapids Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon is a 4.08 mile loop course that offers runners plenty of shade, scenic views of Millennium park with its lakes and natural wildlife in a pollution-free setting.

The paved trail provides about a half mile of gentle climb before heading back down the hill. The rest of the loop is almost completely flat.

Marathon Rankings

The Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) was the 321st largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 303rd largest in 2016.

Last year 65.7% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 32.1% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) the 1st highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 8th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 99.14 ranks it as the 176th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 8th fastest course in Michigan.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are above the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) a PR Score of 97.30. This PR Score ranks it as the 322nd fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 11th fastest in Michigan.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 639 feet (194m)
Min Elevation: 594 feet (181m)


Recent Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) Reviews

4.5 Stars from 2 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2017 Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids).   

5 / 5 Stars


It's a beautiful course around a new park, it's well organized and has a nice atmosphere. Like the previous reviewer said, you basically go around a 4-mile loop six times, with a one mile entry and exit. I found it nice to get accustomed to what turns were coming up, and when to expect those aid stations. There are a few short gentle hills in one section of the loop, and the only 'sharp' turn is during the entry/exit (so you hit it twice), and it's not even that sharp.

The previous reviewer who went in 2016 unfortunately suffered warmer weather, and had a mild complaint about gel being handed out at the end of the line. Well, in 2017, we had perfect weather right around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And they were handing out gel at both the beginning and end of the line. Many of the volunteers handing out drinks would move along with you to help hand-off without slowing you down much. I thought they all did a great job.

My biggest complaint? There was a slight sulphur or rotten egg smell near the beginning of the race which dissipated after a lap or two. The park is an old gravel pit, and they have some sort of oil drilling machines; I'm not sure if those are the source of the smell. But really, it was nothing significant. I'm only mentioning it because I have no other complaints.

Race Tips

You really don't need a specific pacing strategy for this course. The entry to the loop at the start is *slightly* downhill, so you should know that the exit from the loop at the finish is *slightly* uphill. I didn't find it to be a big deal, though.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

OK, I went for a cheap motel called America's Best Value Inn on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. I would recommend against repeating my mistake. It's not all that helpful to have riffraff yapping away on the balcony until 3am. Room wasn't very clean and there were some maintenance issues.

review of 2016 Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids).   

4 / 5 Stars


The event was well organized, thanks to Don Kern and volunteers.All runners are BQ-minded, I felt the atmosphere and was inspired by it before the race.

Race Tips

Plenty of parking if you arrive 30mins before the race.

In this course, you run a 4-mile loop six times. It might sound boring, but the park is beautiful and has different views for you to distract yourself during the race, if you choose to. 1st mile of the loop is slightly hilly, the rest is almost flat.

Aid station is every 2 miles. Although there are elite tables for your own bottles, I found that not helpful because toss basket for the bottles is too short from the table. Not enough time for enough liquid. The race day was very humid, my body constantly asked for fluid during the 2nd half. And the aid station that is 2 miles apart became very very long for me. I would recommend drink from cups during the 1st half, and carry your own water bottle and gels (take advantage of the elite table) in the 2nd half of the race.

Gel supply is every 4 miles, but gel was given at the end of aid station. So I was forced to use both hand. Unless you stop, it is very difficult to take gel without a lot of water spilled. Not an ideal setting when you get tired during the 2nd half.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Most hotels are 10-25 mins away from the course. I stayed at 3 CHEAP hotels during my preparation. Knights Inn on Plainfield Ave (not recommended); Best Western on 28th St (GOOD); and Grandvillage Inn for the race (OK). For some reason, hotel price hiked before the race day.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Grand Rapids) in 4:45:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.