|Half Marathon State # 03
Half Marathon #06
On March 24, 2013, I ran the 2nd annual North Carolina Half Marathon at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. This was the 3rd state toward my 50 by 50 Challenge to run a half marathon in all 50 states by the time I am 50.
We went up to the Charlotte area the day before. It is only about a 3 hour drive for us from Charleston. However, a majority of the trip was in a downpour! When we got into Charlotte, we went directly to the Charlotte Motor Speedway to the expo. There was not much to the expo; however, it was in the garage on pit row inside the race track, so as a Nascar fan, this was awesome. Here are a few pictures from the expo and the track.
After we left the race expo, we went to IKEA. Oh my were we overwhelmed! What a place. I highly recommend you check it out if you are in the area. They have all kinds of stuff for the home! Enjoy the restaurant while you are there. It was a really cool experience. After we left there, we went and checked in at the hotel, Wingate by Wyndham Concord Mills, which was really nice, and only 2 miles from the race track. We closed out the evening at the Concord Mills Mall, which was another overwhelming experience. That is one huge mall. I got my warm up walk before the race.
Seeing that it was going to be wild weather, I prepared well, and this race gear worked well. I ended up not using the toboggan on top, just the hat. I also taped up both knees with KT Tape, and it worked awesome for a 2nd race.
The race started at 7:30 am on the front stretch of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, just like the Nascar races start. The weather was quite unkind to us. It was 41 degrees, 8 -12mph winds, and 100% rain, a monsoon. Here are a few shots when I arrived at the track.
The shuttle from the parking lot dropped us off at the garage where the expo was on Saturday. All the runners stayed in here until 20 minutes prior to the start, when we were summoned to the starting line by the race director. Then, my God intervened. If you don’t believe in prayer and miracles, shame on you. My Lord and Savior turned off the facet! It was dry for the start, and stayed dry for about 8 miles of the race. Here are some pictures from the starting area.
So the race started on the Start line for the race track. We ran an entire lap around the race track. Typically the best place to run would have been the base of the track, but all the rain had rolled down the banking from the track, and it was a pond at the base. So I ran on base of the incline to keep my shoes as dry as possible. After a lap around the track, we ran under the start line again, and the in turn 1 of the track, we turned into the infield. We ran the next 2.5 miles on the inside of the track on smaller paved courses. We exited the infield through the tunnel pictured above, and ran about 2.5 miles around the outside of the speedway. We then crossed a pedestrian crosswalk over a major highway, we was a difficult incline. We then reached the Charlotte dirt track and ran around the outside of this (didn’t run on the dirt track to save our shoes), and then on to the ZMax Drag Strip. We ran up one lane, and back down the other lane. This now put us at about mile 8.
At about Mile 8, we head back to the speedway, which involved yet another pedestrian crosswalk, which was comparable in incline and length to the Aurthur Ravenel Bridge in Charleston SC (STEEP!). Once we came back to the speedway, at about mile 9, the bottom fell out, and the monsoon came. We had to run the remainder of the race in a downpour. We ran another 2 miles around the outside of the speedway in the other direction, and entered back into the track through a tunnel in turn 4. We then ran another mile inside the track, and popped back on the the speedway in turn 1 (where we ran to begin the race), did another lap around the track, turning onto pit road and on to the finish line. I officially crossed the finish line in 1:54:37. Considering the weather I was extremely happy with this.
I did GU gels 45 minutes before the race, 15 minutes before the start, then at miles 4 & 8. I had one to do at mile 12, but was too cold and wet to bother.
It was a great well organized race. The organizers and volunteers were really great and supportive considering the weather was so bad. I highly recommend this race. However, it was very hilly, so do some hill training before you take on this course.
So I am glad I did the race. It appears a lot of people did not show up. The online results said I finished 250 out of 1300 finishers. They had said earlier in the week there were 3500 registered. That is about 2200 no shows. Ouch! They missed an exciting event, and something I will never forget. My first race in the rain!
Here is my Garmin tracking data.
Finally, here is a picture of my bib and finisher medal. The medal was awesome, and worth the effort. It is a checker flag background, with a spinner race logo in the center. On the right side of the medal is the best part, it is a led battery powered drag strip light tower! There is a close up picture of the medal in the Race Medals page for North Carolina.
Thanks for reading. I hope this encourages you to run this race next year. I would do it, but I have 47 more states to complete my 50 by 50 challenge, so I probably will not do this race again in the next few years.
My next half marathon will be on June 2nd in Williamsburg, VA, the Run for the Dream Half Marathon.