I have to admit, I really liked this race. I was originally signed up for the full but decided a few days before the race that due to getting over a cold and some lingering hamstring issues, I wasn’t up to doing a full marathon. I emailed the race director and asked to be switched to the half and he took care of it without a hitch, which I really appreciated. The pre-race packet pickup was limited to a 4-hour window the day before which made things kind of tight but I made some scheduel adjustments and got there in time. I would’ve just taken care of it the next day but the website made it sound like there might be a pre-race crush if you waited until the morning of so since I wasn’t familiar with the race at all, I figured I’d better not take a chance and got out there the day before.
When I got to the race the next morning, I was really surprised at how small and intimate it was. Only about 150 people doing the full marathon and about 300 doing the half, with the full marathon starting 30 minutes before the half. I could’ve easily picked up my packet before the race and saved myself an 80-mile round trip. Having said that, it’s very nice to be able to park your car practically right at the starting line. It was a cold morning but since the starting line was right there, I didn’t have to ditch my “throwaway” jacket before the race. Just popped it in my car and 2 minutes later I was off.
The course was flat and I was really pleasantly surprised at how much volunteer and water support was available. Due to the small size of the race there was no jam at the beginning where you have to weave your way in and out of people. You just settled into your run right away. It was a nice contemplative quiet race for me, which I really enjoyed. The only nitpick I have is that since it’s a loop course, with the full marathoners doing the loop twice, and since I’m not the fastest runner, there was one area of the course where I was running on the same side of the road with the full marathoners coming in the opposite direction. I had to swing wide out into the road a few times but fortunately, at that time of the morning, there was very little vehicle traffic.
The post-race had an ample supply of water and fruit, along with massage tables (I availed myself of the fruit but not the massage). Being a small race, there weren’t a lot of post-race festivities but I was pleased with what was there. And then it was a short walk back to the car where I stretched a little and got to cheer on other runners as they made their way to the finish line. Then I was on the road and gone. All in all, it was a very pleasant morning.