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August 22, 2011

Marathon Bar Review and Giveaway

Administrative note: I'm in a giveaway frame of mind lately, so the next few weekday posts will all include some kind of giveaway offer. As luck would have it, today's post involves two.

Just before this post went to press, my contact person at Pearl Izumi wrote to ask if I could help spread the word on a killer cycling gear contest they have going on this week in conjunction with the US Pro Cycling Challenge, with a grand prize of $2000 worth of Pearl Izumi gear.  Awesome, right?  The whole thing is being conducted through PI's YouTube channel, which is where you need to go for all the details. So check out the PI contest over there, then come back for the Marathon Bar contest here.


Back in June, I was invited to stop by one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events to check out the new versions of Marathon energy and protein bars. The bars have been around for a while, but the company has stepped up its involvement in endurance sports this year, becoming an official sponsor of the entire Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon series taking place at multiple venues across the country.

However, thanks to ultrarunning, my own participation in road racing events has diminished quite dramatically over the past few years, and it was going to take a lot more than the prospect of a snappy marketing spiel and a few free samples to get me to attend a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. When I politely declined the invitation, the Marathon rep offered to send me a gift package anyway, and agreed to provide the same thing for a few lucky readers.

Obviously, that kind of partnership is a lot easier for me to support. So let’s run through a brief review, with a giveaway contest to follow once we’re finished.

The Marathon Bar product lineup includes five flavors of energy bars, and two flavors of high protein bars. I received samples of two energy bar flavors – crunchy dark chocolate and crunchy honey and toasted almond – as well as both protein bar flavors, caramel nut rush and chocolatey nut burst. The energy bars range in calories from 150 to 220 each, and contain 10 to 14g of protein. The high-protein bars have 21g and 290 calories for chocolatey nut, and 20g/280 calories for caramel nut. All of the bars are low glycemic index foods to help provide sustained energy, and contain essential vitamins to enhance their nutritional profile.

From a taste standpoint, my preference was for the energy bars, which have a crisper texture as well as some non-chocolate flavors. (Here’s a strange thing: I love chocolate, but typically don’t like chocolate-flavored energy foods, gels, or anything else I might consume while active. I have no idea why.) The protein bars are both quite chewy, with a taste and texture that isn’t very far removed from a candy bar – basically, they’re like better-for-you, nutritionally fortified Snickers bars.

In our household, the standard for energy bars has been set fairly high: as I’ve described in several posts, we’re an entire family of CLIF junkies. Using that comparison, there wasn’t anything from a taste or performance standpoint about the Marathon energy bar to make me switch from using regular CLIF Bars, and there wasn’t anything to make my wife switch from her Builder’s Bars to the high-protein Marathon versions. However, we recognize that our individual preferences may vary from yours, which is why it’s nice to be able to offer a few samples you can try for yourself.

Actually, the giveaway includes more than just energy bars; Marathon Bar will provide three winners with a prize pack (see below), including a tote bag, a tech fabric shirt, and a cool little portable chair that’s great for taking to the beach or youth sports games. You’ll also get the same samples of energy bars and protein bars that I tested for this review.

To enter the contest, just leave a comment below this post; on Saturday, I’ll randomly select three winners to receive a prize package from Marathon Bar. If you happen to be at one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll events this year, you can stop by the Marathon Bar booth for samples, or if you want more information about their involvement in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, check out their Facebook page.

Thanks very much to Marathon Bar for sponsoring this giveaway, and good luck to everyone!

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Trailrat 8/22/11, 8:15 PM  

I'll throw my name in.

Westminster, CO

Wendi 8/22/11, 9:56 PM  

Snickers, hmmm....Did you say dark... chocolate?

TIM 帝木 8/22/11, 9:56 PM  

I'd be happy to win some samples, but does it matter if I am not in the US?

Dan 8/22/11, 10:39 PM  

Hi Donald,

I'm in for the Snickers (duh), but the real reason for this comment is to give you (and your son) a link to an incredible video about rock climbing in Yosemite.

Morgan Hill

Donald 8/22/11, 10:55 PM  

Dan: brilliant! I'll find a way to put that in a post sometime for sure. Thanks!

Andy 8/23/11, 12:24 AM  

Hi Donald,

I am a newcomer to your site. It is great!

I have recently been inspired to enter the world of Ultras and your site has really fueled my knowledge, interest and desire!

Thanks and count me in for the giveaway!

Peace and Love,


Larry Linux 8/23/11, 2:40 AM  

Very cool - a teacher (and trail runner's) favorite price - free!

Count me in!


PS - Really enjoy the site, especially the Random Shots of Beauty!

pichburg 8/23/11, 4:05 AM  

Gotta love anything with the Snickers name on it :)

Tristan 8/23/11, 4:09 AM  

I tried them a long time ago, but would like to see what the current offering tastes like, thanks for bringing this to your readers!

Tammy 8/23/11, 4:41 AM  

Awesome!! Okay-- I will admit, I had no clue that snickers made these products!!!

Have a great running day everyone!!

Adam B. 8/23/11, 4:42 AM  

Add my name to the list!
Thanks, and I love reading your blog!

Brandon Mulnix 8/23/11, 4:59 AM  

How long until the Energy Bars have expired? My Mouth is wired shut for the next 4-6 weeks and the I want to enjoy these Energy Bars. I would have the opportunity to sample them this weekend at a local Ultra Race, but again I am stopped by the inability to open my mouth and chew... I can't wait to try one out. It wont be the first food I eat, but it will be on the list.

Alejandro 10 8/23/11, 5:14 AM  

Why not, a free tech shirt for a grad student? Sure, it doesn't hurt to try.

Chris 8/23/11, 5:21 AM  

Mmmm, snickers. Count me in. Thanks.

Jeff 8/23/11, 5:25 AM  

Sweet! (Literally) count me in!

Trail Clown,  8/23/11, 5:35 AM  

Cookie Monster need Snicky

Anna 8/23/11, 5:50 AM  

I never win anything!

awo,  8/23/11, 5:51 AM  

I adore chocolate energy bars - helps cover the less than delectable protein flavors.

51feetunder 8/23/11, 6:03 AM  

They sound pretty good so far, sign me up!

Jenny Davidson 8/23/11, 6:10 AM  

Yes, please count me in!

SlimKatie @ Runs for Cookies 8/23/11, 6:14 AM  

I would love to be able to try out the bars!

TK 8/23/11, 6:39 AM  

Count me in!

Tom Logan 8/23/11, 6:45 AM  

Dude, I used Snickers during TRT100. There's my secret. Yum.

Mike E 8/23/11, 6:47 AM  

Always liked these...thanks!

Chris 8/23/11, 6:57 AM  

I want some snickers bars....please!

Chris M

TheRunningNobody 8/23/11, 6:58 AM  

One for the french-canadian running nobody ...

Yay !

Btw, nice contrast for the shot of beauty on the indian cigars ...

Michael Shane Helton 8/23/11, 7:00 AM  

Snickers is NOT what I think about when I am looking for an energy bar or when I am running a Marathon...but I am willing to give it a try for free. ;-)

Jim H. 8/23/11, 7:15 AM  

Now I have an excuse to eat a Snickers!

cognitive dissident 8/23/11, 7:18 AM  

I'm not married to any particular brand, and love trying new munchies...count me in for the giveaway!

Coby 8/23/11, 7:43 AM  

I'd never heard of these before your post, so it would be great to try them (for free)!

Brandon 8/23/11, 7:47 AM  

I'd love to win!

Fincher 8/23/11, 8:30 AM  

Always cool to see another giveaway! :-)

BE 8/23/11, 9:30 AM  

never yet won, but always happy to show support

Kiley Newbold 8/23/11, 9:33 AM  

I was pleasantly surprised with Snickers' entry into the sport's nutrition arena. I'll definitely throw my name into the contest!

C-Dog 8/23/11, 9:42 AM  

Pick me!!! A protein/energy bar made by snickers? I am in!!

Josh 8/23/11, 10:02 AM  

Count me in!

Josh C. - Pittsburgh, PA

Al D. 8/23/11, 10:05 AM  

Long time marathon bar user and long time reader and long time loser in these giveaways. Maybe my luck will change. I'll keep reading. Great work.

brian 8/23/11, 10:14 AM  

Enjoy your blog. Sign me up. Thanks.

Brian in sunny Portland

Tara 8/23/11, 10:22 AM  

That looks awesome- count me in!!

jamesbg,  8/23/11, 11:02 AM  

I've had chopped up Snickers at some ultra aid stations. Delicious. Now Mars is dressing the bars up as a "real" ultra supplement. Nothing wrong with that. And it's great that they sponsor races in a such a big way. Enter me please. Thanks for the contest.

Jane 8/23/11, 11:41 AM  

My dream has come true. A candy bar dressed in a power bar wrapper. I want to eat one of those, please!

diana 8/23/11, 12:01 PM  

i have a half coming up ; this is a great prize pack!

Don 8/23/11, 12:47 PM  


Knuckles 8/23/11, 1:17 PM  

Sign me up, please.


John 8/23/11, 1:48 PM  

Count me in...

Jay 8/23/11, 2:03 PM  

Thanks Donald!

Josh 8/23/11, 2:32 PM  

I've been a closet reader of your blog for some time. I appreciate your reviews and perspective on minimalist running footwear, particularly soft star. Thanks for the honest review.

pontdo 8/23/11, 2:39 PM  

Snickers & Marathon...can't go wrong!! Please put my name in:).

mjskas1 8/23/11, 3:29 PM  

Great give away! Count me in.


Jodie 8/23/11, 4:57 PM  

I would love to win the marathon prize pack!

David 8/23/11, 5:41 PM  

Sounds like a good product!

JimDog 8/23/11, 6:10 PM  

I'm running my first Full at the Denver RnR, I'll have to keep a look out for their booth. Count me in for the contest please! Thx!

matt 8/23/11, 6:18 PM  

Definitely sounds worthy of a try

islander 8/23/11, 6:55 PM  

Thanks for another great contest. Count me in!

Greg,  8/23/11, 7:22 PM  

My hat is in the ring.

Greg from Madison, WI.

Paul 8/24/11, 1:01 AM  

I could do with some snickery goodness for a change. Count me in too.

Blair 8/24/11, 5:30 AM  

M and M Mars is a favorite company of mine. Although that may extend to most chocolate companies.

Justin 8/24/11, 9:42 AM  

Count me in!


RunLikeWater 8/24/11, 9:47 AM  

The original marathon bars got me through many a long night in college. I'd love to try the updates.

c.bellevie 8/24/11, 10:34 AM  

Mmmmmmmmmmm.... Chocolate. Gwhwhwhwha.

Melissa 8/24/11, 11:12 AM  

This is an awesome giveaway!

ajones 8/24/11, 2:17 PM  

Last time I tried Marathon bars they tested like, and had the sugar of a Snickers bar. I think it was the first iteration of them.

Tim R.,  8/24/11, 2:42 PM  

I'm In

Mikey 8/24/11, 8:27 PM  

I actually became a big fan of the snickers marathon bars a while back, then just sort of forgot about them for some reason or another. Wouldn't mind adding them back into the the rotation!

stephan.uzzell 8/25/11, 3:28 AM  

I usually have a Snickers on my long (60+) bike rides. Something Snickers-like that's "designed" for endurance sports? Sign me up!

*~*~* Tracy 8/25/11, 6:34 AM  

I'd love to win these!

Alex,  8/25/11, 11:17 AM  

Count me in. BTW, will you be writing up a review of the salinas valley half this year?


RunningLaur 8/25/11, 5:18 PM  

Sign me up!
When I was working 20 hour expo days at our really big marathon here in Phoenis, Marathon bars were the only thing around, and they got me through. Would be great to try them in more 'normal life' circumstances.

Eric 8/26/11, 9:23 AM  

I'll take a chance!

Eric Mauricette
Old Town, Maine

noe 8/27/11, 7:52 PM  

!1!1 So I saw one of the comercial on tv and it made me go to your site and it seems cool it good make me VeRy HaPpY tO bE cOuNtEd In ThE GIVEAWAY:)!1!1


GOOD LUCK with every thing:)

domoslay 11/6/11, 1:59 AM  

Just found this WEB page. Would like to work with Snickers company to help in our Triathlon race we have in Milledgeville, Georgia. First one held last year and this year we plan to grow and get even better. Can anyone give me points of contact to make this happen? Thanks.

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