On Saturday, November 15, 2014, I ran in the Inaugural Summerville Sweet Tea Half Marathon. This race is only about 10 minutes from my home, so I felt compelled to sign up for it. Also, if you know me, I love sweet tea! Before signing up, I confirmed that there would be a medal, and that it was going to have something to do with the sweet tea theme. They did well.
The race capped at around 500 people. I think the final results showed 487 finishers, so that was quite impressive. So my running partners, Becky & Dan and I got there about 6am for a 7am race start time. Another friend of mine runs a business in downtown Summerville, so he let us park there, so we wouldn’t have to fight the parking garage traffic. We sat in the vehicles until about 6:30am, then headed out for a quick bathroom visit, and then head towards the start. Well, how do I start this…. IT WAS COLD! The early race temps were in the low 30s.
We had as many layers of running clothes as we could muster.
This is everything I put together the night before. For the lower body I had compression pants with running pants over top. For the upper body I had a long sleeved tech shirt and running jacket. Couple that with thick socks, gloves, and toboggan and I was pretty comfortable for the race.
There really was no formal start (no pledge or national anthem), just a 10 & 5 minute warning.
The race started on East Doty Street and finished on West Doty Street. So they were within a couple 100 yards apart. Everyone started together, but the bibs were chipped, so everyone had an official time. We had run the course several times leading up to the race, so you can look back at my recent Training B-Logs for more information on the route. Here is the course map that I put together from the hand drawing they had posted on their website.
It was a decent route for the race. We ran on the SawMill Branch Trail. The course was well marked with mile marker signs. The water & Gatorade stops were placed appropriately. There were no gel stops. There were four or five singing groups along the way that kept us entertained. The last four miles begins a steady incline to the finish. It is only about a 100 feet elevation change over the 4 miles, but it felt as though you were always on a steady climb. Just be prepared for this if you run this race.
There wasn’t much fan support on the course. Some, but not much. This could be, and I hope, it was because of the weather. There was a good crowd at the start and finish of the race.
Becky ran faster than us, she was feeling it, so she left us before mile 1. She did awesome at just over 1:42 and placed in her age group. She got an awesome glass etched with the race info.
Here are a couple of pictures of Dan and I battling to the finish line. Dan got me by a second.
At the finish line, after getting our medal, they gave us Mylar wraps, and had a good selection of bananas, bagels, and cookies. There was some water bottles, but they were hard to find. There was no Gatorade or Chocolate Milk for the finishers.
Dan and I did well. I actually improved my time from the Savannah Half last weekend. We ran a 1:56:55 (8:55 Pace) and I finished 6th in my age group.
All in all it was a good attempt at an inaugural race. We talked after the race, and we agreed that we would do this race again and recommend it to others. So if you are in the Charleston area or South Carolina, give it a shot.