On December 14, 2013 I ran in the Kiawah Island Half Marathon on Kiawah Island, SC. This is my second year to run this race. This race is about a one hour drive from our home. Kiawah Island is a beautiful coastal place for a race. It is a gated community, so we had to park outside the gate and be bused in to town for the race. The race start is 8 AM; however, you have to be to the bus stop by 6-6:30 Am if you will make the race start. The event features both a marathon and half marathon, and both start at the same time. The entire group runs the first 13 miles together, then the marathoners turn right just before the finish area to run the course once more.
The weather was very questionable as their was rain in the area. The forecast was for low 50s and a 40% chance of rain. When we arrived at the parking area, we were hit with a shower. There was also a shower while we were inside waiting for the start. When the race started the temperature was 57 degrees, and it never rained throughout the race, which was a blessing!
The race start is uneventful, a little crowded like most races for the first few miles. I started the race with Disney running friends Becky & Matt. We separated after a mile or so, as they were planning a much faster pace. I ran the race on my own, which was fine since I didn’t know what to expect, as it was the first race out of my hand brace. I was quite satisfied with my time of 1:54:47. It was about 2 minutes slower than last year, but 3 minutes faster than the Space Coast Half Marathon 2 weeks ago. My only goal was to be under 2 hours.
As for the course, it is so beautiful. It course is extremely flat and fast. It runs through the community with lots of views of marshes, animals, and beautiful homes. The people that live on the island come out in their driveways and support us. The crowds were great, and very motivating. There were people out bicycling as well that kept encouraging us as well. It was quite impressive. I must have passed this one guy 6-7 times as he would ride ahead and cheer us on, and when we passed, he would again, bike ahead and do it again. When we got to the point where the marathoners turned, I personally thanked him, as he was continuing his mission on the marathon course.
This was the 36th year for this race event, so they do it right. Other than the traffic getting on the island, the parking, and the bus logistics, there are no complaints. The pre-race is great. The have a big convention center, with many conference rooms that we were able to lay around in, until it was time to go out to the start.
There were restrooms in the buildings as well as porta-potties, but like any race there could always be more! The water stops were great and properly placed about every two miles. They kept the water and Gatorade cold, so that was greatly appreciated. so any races these days have warm drink, which isn’t that great or helpful. At about every other stop they were also giving out orange slices and half bananas.
The finish is great, with a super new medal. In the past this race has offered and unusual (for race standards) recycled glass medal. This year they changed to a classy new medal. I liked the medal. This was my seventh and final half marathon for 2013.
For those that live in the Charleston area, you could get your race bib & shirt at early pickup in downtown Charleston the week prior at the Senior Center on Meeting Street. So Becky and I picked up our stuff last Saturday after we ran our 20 mile training run. For those out of town, you could do packet pickup at the race start area, but it was crowded. There is no real race expo for this race.
If you are traveling for this race, you can get a race package to stay on the island. Be ware it is extremely pricey to do so. Most people who travel for this race, will stay in Charleston and make the 45 minutes to 1 hour drive to the island.
This race had 2506 half marathon finishers, and 959 marathon finishers. As I posted earlier, I finished in 1:54:47 (8:46 pace), which netted me a 524th overall finish, and 52/155 in my age group.
My wife made the trip with me for race support on an early morning. There were numerous friends from work that ran the race; however, we never cross paths. Most everyone did great in the race and succumbed one or more of their race goals. So it was a great day for all of us.