I can’t believe that my last half marathon was almost 2 months ago; it seems like it has been forever! I can’t wait to register for my next one! Since I haven’t done so already, I wanted to share with you my review of the biggest race I’ve ever run in! What am I talking about? Check out my Mini Marathon recap and my thoughts about my first expo!!
Cost: $55 early bird registration ($75 for regular price) + hotel stay (Thanks Mom!)
Race Expo: The race expo was open Thursday (4-8) and Friday (10-9). I don’t have much to compare race expos on, but I thought this was pretty big. There were lots of vendors selling their products but not many vendors giving away freebies. How often do they giveaway from freebies? Anyway, I found my needed socks at the expo just fine!
Packet Pick-Up: Packet pick-up was available while the expo was open on Thursday from 4-8 and Friday from 10-9. There was no packet pick-up available the morning of the race. With 35,000 people registered for the mini, the process for picking up packets were super organized! My line had entrants 21,000-26,000 I believe — and I was third in line when I arrived. It was seamless and simple!
Chip Timing: Yup! The timing strips were right on the back of our bib.
Race Start Time: 7:30 am. The earliest start I’ve had yet! Plus we had to be in our corrals by 7.
T-Shirt: We received a nice technical long-sleeved t-shirt as well as a hat. I can’t say that the design is my favorite for the shirt, but I’m not gonna turn down a good dry fit shirt!
Bathrooms: Plenty of port-o-lets for everyone! This wasn’t the only street before the race that had potties lined up like this. I was able to use the restroom two times before the race, but then they did get crowded right before the race — I just don’t think lots of people got to their corrals early enough though. There were absolutely plenty of bathrooms — plus tons along the race course as well.
Bag Check: Pretty sure they had this – I just never use this feature.
Course: Pretty flat course that included about 2.5 miles on the Motor Speedway. I actually was not a fan of the speedway because the track was so hard and made my feet hurt. Plus, spectators were not allowed inside and there was minimal entertainment.
Water Stops: Plenty!! It was thrilled that the water stops were so ample. There were also designated Gatorade stops too — this way you didn’t get confused if you were receiving water or Gatorade.
Volunteers: Can I just say how much I love volunteers? Most volunteers at the mini took the time to say something like “Go Katie” as I was getting my water cup from them. I think it’s so great to get that extra special little cheer of support from a volunteer. I tried to find out how many volunteers were needed for this race, but I couldn’t locate it on the website. There were plenty though!
Crowd Support: Of course the last mile has the most crowd support, but there was consistent crowd support throughout the race too. We ran through a lot of neighbors, which allowed people to cheer right in front of their houses! There must have been someone from the race who passed out those hand clapper things, because it seemed like everyone had them!
Course Entertainment: Bands were everywhere! This was my first race with “real” entertainment and I really enjoyed it. Plus it was really nice to have since we weren’t allowed to use iPods or other music devices. Our entertainment in the Motor Speedway were cheerleaders.
Course Photographer: Brightroom photographers were on the course.
Finishers Medal: This is my best medal yet! I love the checkered finishers flag ribbon.
Post Race Food: I was able to score post race food from the VIP tent thanks to Chevy, but there was post race food available for everyone outside of the VIP tent. In fact, there was a whole party for everyone to enjoy! The food was picnic/grill-type food, there was a chocolate milk station, plenty of fruit, cookies, water, etc.
Overall Value: This race is such a great value — low entry fee, awesome shirt + hat, sturdy medal, post-race food + party, incredible volunteers, police support, and more.
Recommendation: I would definitely run this race again! Anddd I definitely recommend it for others if you are looking to experience your first big race like me. It was so organized that you would not have known it was the biggest half marathon in the nation had you not be told so!
So, what do you think? Would you run this race? Registration for 2012 is already available!