Editor's note: This guide appears in map-illustration form in Friday's Star Tribune.
The 10-mile run begins at 7 a.m., and the marathon follows at 8.
Best place to watch the marathon pros
• Mile 5 on Lake Calhoun
While there are plenty of great spots to get a glimpse of the elite runners throwing down 5-minute miles, they generally remain bunched together early in the race. There’s also plenty of curbside real estate at Lake Calhoun to get a front-row seat to watch the action. If you’re hoping to catch the winner cross the finish line, high-tail it over to the State Capitol after the runners pass.
Best place to watch the 10-mile pros
• Mile 5 (Mile 21 of the marathon) on East River Road
This year’s TC 10 Mile is host to the USA Track & Field Federation’s men’s and women’s championships, so it’s worth getting out on the course early to catch these speed demons. If you park at Mile 5 on East River Road (aka Mississippi River Boulevard), you can cheer them up the biggest hill on the course.
Toughest hill: Mile 21
The East River Road hill that plateaus at the University of St. Thomas is perhaps the toughest section on the course. Once runners make it up the longest part of the hill, there’s a bit of a false flat before more climbing. It is the loud and enthusiastic crowd that gets many runners up this monster.
Park-n-Dash: Miles 10, 18, 25
If you want to see a runner several times, be sure to plan ahead because of road closures on race day. For a scenic and seamless cheering route, try hitting up Minnehaha Parkway, West River Road (aka West River Parkway), and then Summit Avenue into the finish on John Ireland Boulevard at the State Capitol. Here’s one way to do it:
Park-n-Dash/Stop 1: Mile 10 — Park in the neighborhood on the north side of Minnehaha Parkway so you don’t get stuck on the wrong side of the course.
Park-n-Dash/Stop 2: Mile 17.5 — From Stop 1, head north and east toward the Mississippi River and park in the neighborhood on the west side of West River Road.
Park-n-Dash/Stop 3: Mile 25 — From Stop 2, cross the Lake Street Bridge, which turns into Marshall Avenue on the St. Paul side of the river. Park in the neighborhood north of Summit Avenue or simply head closer to the finish and park there.
Most-spirited cheering spots
Mile 11 at the corner of Minnehaha Parkway and Cedar Avenue: There is always plenty of life on Minnehaha Parkway on marathon morning. From yard parties along the creek to the bustling and energetic crowd on the corner of the East Lake Nokomis Parkway and Cedar Avenue, you can’t escape the inspiration and excitement along this stretch.
Anywhere along Summit Avenue: This stretch is always full of enthusiastic spectators and music. This is also the spot where runners are often hurting the most, so the cheerleaders on the sidelines play a big role in willing them forward to the finish.
Best yard parties: Between Mile 9 and Mile 11
Residents along Minnehaha Parkway are famous for their marathon day bashes. Loud and motivational music, balloons and high-fives are in ample supply here.
Best pit stop
• Mel-O-Glaze Bakery near Mile 14 (Minnehaha Parkway and 28th Avenue)
Why not take in a few calories while watching the runners burn them? Mel-O-Glaze peddles some of the best doughnuts in town. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love everything from their old-fashioned buttermilk doughnuts, to their famous apple fritters and their glazed doughnut holes — better known as “Legal Crack Balls.” Also, they have coffee!
Photo Op No. 1: Mile 13.1, Lake Nokomis
It’s the all-important halfway point, and Lake Nokomis offers plenty of curbs clear of spectators from which to snap photos.
Photo Op No. 2: Mile 17.5, Lake Street Bridge
Not only can you catch a Kodak moment here, but you can also head over the bridge and catch runners again at Mile 21 on the St. Paul side.
Photo Op No. 3: Mile 26, Summit Avenue
Nothing beats the photos of the runners barreling down the hill toward the finish line with the St. Paul Cathedral as backdrop. If you’re an amateur photographer, you’ll love this shot.
Where to meet at finish: The Capitol lawn
There are large signs with letters from A to Z. Decide ahead of time where you want to meet your runner. It’s always a mad mash of spectators and runners at the finish. Have a plan.
Do: Bring a cowbell.
Don’t: Yell “you’re almost done!” to a runner, unless he or she is within sight of the finish.
Do: Cheer for people by name if it’s displayed on their shirts.
Don’t: Cross the road in front of runners.
Do: Make large and colorful signs of encouragement.
Don’t: Snag precious hydration and nutrition resources from the aid stations.
Do: Offer high-fives from the curb.
Don’t: Urge walking marathoners to run. They’ll run when they’re ready.
Do: Cheer for everyone.
Don’t: Holler the number of miles left to a runner unless you’re certain the information is accurate.
Do: Come early to watch the pros, and stay late to watch the final runners bring up the rear.
• Coffee and water
• Umbrella and rain jacket
• Tambourine or cowbell
• Brightly colored ensemble so your runner can spot you
• Cellphone to get tracking updates on your runner. Go online to avtex.com/athletetracker to set up. You’ll get splits from various markers along the course.