This weekend I did the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was my second time running this race. I ran it as my first half marathon in 2011. The morning did not start out great. Upon driving into the Coastal Grand Mall, where the race was to start, it started raining. I ran the race with my running friends Becky & Shelly, and we had running support services from my wife Jennifer. After Becky, Shelly, and I used the bathroom, we decided to go back to the truck to get out of the rain. About 10 minutes before the race, the skies cleared and we had no rain from start to finish for the race. The corrals were full, so we just waited in the parking lot near our expected pace flag, and fell into line as the corrals began to flow through the start chute. The race started promptly at 7:00 AM. Because of the rain, it stayed nice and cool at 61 degrees, and 82% humidity. Shelly and I ran together, with a goal to just finish under 2 hours (finished in 1:58:37). Becky set out to PR, and boy did she! She finished at 1:43, beating her previous PR by almost 3 minutes.
The race is pretty flat except for climbing one small hill (overpass) around mile six. The race is a very large rectangle. The first 6 miles are on Robert Grissom Blvd. and then you go over a small overpass onto a frontage road, and turn onto 62nd Ave. North. We cross over Kings Highway and turn right onto Ocean Blvd. which we travel on for another 5 miles. While on Ocean Blvd., we pass Plyer Park on our left, which is where the finish is near the beach. After passing it, we continue down Ocean Blvd. another half a mile, and then make a quick turn to the left, and onto the beach boardwalk for the final half mile. This last portion is serpentine, so you will make a lot of turns. The finish is great and has a lot of energy, with fans on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right. At the end they present you with an awesome surfboard medal. The finisher support included water and numerous snacks to munch on. There were plenty of water stops, which had both water and Gatorade. However, be prepared that once you turn on Ocean Blvd., you will go about 2.5 miles before you hit a water stop. Other than this placement, the water stops were placed appropriately. It was a really easy race to run. Here is the Garmin data from my watch.
I did a GU 15 minutes before the race, and then GUs at miles 4, 8, and 11. This worked extremely well.
BEST RACE SIGN OBSERVED: You are running better than our Government!
Day One (Friday)
On Friday we left Charleston around 3:00 PM, and got to Myrtle Beach around 5:30 PM. We went straight to the race expo being held at the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes. Bag pickup was quick, easy, and uneventful. The expo for this race is small in a convention room. Since we had been there before, we did not spend much time at the expo. Before dinner, we decided to go check in at our resort. Based on a recommendation of Becky, we stayed at The Horizon on 77th. We got a one bedroom for $85/night plus the numerous fees and it was worth it. This was an awesome resort/room. We had a master bedroom, full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, living room, and ocean-view balcony. I highly recommend this resort if you are going to Myrtle Beach for this race, or just for vacation. The hotel is about 20 minutes from the starting line, and about 10 minutes from the finish line.
After checking into the hotel, we headed to Broadway at the Beach for dinner, where we were meeting Shelly and her sister Tiffany. We met for dinner at Liberty Steakhouse. It was a really great dinner, enough for leftovers. Shelly’s sister Tiffany is hilarious. She entertained us throughout dinner. It was great to laugh some. With the rough couple of months we have had, it was nice to sit back and just laugh some with friends over food! After dinner, we walked around Broadway at the Beach for a while then departed. Jenn and I wanted something sweet after dinner. We were thinking the same thing – Krispy Kreme Hot and Now Doughnuts. So we stopped at a KK and picked up a dozen and took them back to the resort to close of the evening!
Day Two (Saturday)
On Saturday, Becky was running Eukanuba Coastal 5k, so Jenn and I got up and went with her to the race to cheer her on. She did really well, setting a 5k PR (she was PR queen this weekend!) at 22:15. She was 4th overall and 1st in her Age Group. After the 5k was the most awesome event of the weekend, the Eukanuba Doggie Dash. This was a 1 mile run you do with your dogs. It was awesome fun. You had dogs from Greyhounds to Pomeranians. There were awards for the top three, and a midsize dog shocked the crowd with the victory at just under 8 minutes. If we ever do this event in the future, I’m taking my Edisto, a German Shepherd/Greyhound mix, because he and I could have probably won this thing! After this we went back to the resort for a few, and then went out to do some shopping. We had lunch at a Steak N Shake and ended the night with an early dinner at Bennett’s Seafood Bar, which we always frequent when we go to the beach.
Day Three (Sunday – Race Day)
Sunday was race day. We were up at 5:00 AM, and headed over to the Coastal Grand Mall around 5:45 AM. Becky rode with us, and we met Shelly at the start around 6 AM. The race recap is above. After the race, we all said our goodbyes and went back to our respective resorts. After an ice bath and shower, we packed and headed home.
Updated 2013 Medal Rack