Ok, so now, what did I think of Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival. I think that the organizers of St Luke's should take some notes. Having the expo in a tent outside allows for people like myself to feel less overwhelmed and claustrophobic. It really did allow a lot of free movement in an out of the expo. However, I do not think that there were a lot of vendors and definitely no free samples. (St Luke's was very crowded and very overwhelming, so I do not know if there were a lot of free samples, but, I do know that I did receive a few). The race loot. I do not know how I feel about the "virtual race bag." I think it takes away from the whole race feel. We did get a pretty decent race shirt, but that was it. No bag, no free sample of the magazine, no pen, nothing. Then, when we went to the vendors, they didn't have bags either. So if you were planning on spending a lot of money, you wouldn't have had any place to put the goods. My only other gripe with the expo was that Shalane Flannagan was there on Sunday (race day) but she was only available from 10-11. I don't know about you, but if a race starts at 830 (it did) where would most average Joes be at 11 am (still running!!!) I was and still a lot disappointed that I didn't get to meet her.
The area for the half both the start and finish was awesome! I haven't been exposed to a starting area like this one, but I definitely thought it was awesome. Definitely enough bathroom facilities at the starting area, just not enough in the finish area. I don't know how the food was, I didn't stick around for it, but I hear I shouldn't have missed it.
Now, onto the race. What can I say about this race. One word hilly! The first 6.5 miles was the bulk of the hills, with one more long hill at I think mile 10. I am really glad that I had done the stadium steps because I believe it helped me with the hills (I will definitely continue that torture). Once we got out of Bethlehem proper, I think the run was beautiful. The fall colors really were a nice backdrop for the run, and we also couldn't have asked for nicer weather. It was beautiful. I appreciate all of the effort that the citizens of the neighborhoods that we invaded did in supporting us. I definitely appreciated the "Got Chafing" sign, because it was at that point that I realized I had forgotten my body glide. I wish that the water and gatorade stops were a little more organized, but I do appreciate their timing. It seemed like every time I needed water we were at a water stop. I do wish there was more entertainment, although I am glad I found out before the race that there was none otherwise it would have been a longer 13.1 miles.
The finish area was awesome, although I really think that mile 12 was really mismarked. I think I was at 12.2 on my Garmin before the race marker came up. I know that really isn't a huge discrepancy, but when running 13.1 every mile marker matters. At this point of the race my feet were on fire. I got to see my family at mile 12,
|photo courtesy of my husband|
I crossed the finish line and that was it. No one hung the medal around my neck. No one draped with me the alien cape. I walked around people loitering in the finish area. I finally got my medal. It was a really nice medal, I just wish it was put around my neck, not just handed to me.
Will I do this race again, most likely. Will I complain about the hills, definitely. Will I do it faster than 2 hours and 35 minutes, YOU BET!