On Saturday, February 7, 2015 I ran the Save The Light Half Marathon on Folly Beach, SC. This is a small local race for me, that has both a 5k and half marathon. Each race contained about 350 runners.
Folly Beach is a beautiful place for a race. It was an awesome view seeing the sun rise before the race over the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was in the low 40s at the start of the race with little to no wind. The race ended in the low 50s.
Proceeds from the race go toward the preservation of the Morris Island Lighthouse by Save The Light.
The morning started by arriving on the island about 7:15 A.M. for packet pickup. They have packet pickup on Friday as well, but it is about a 45 minute drive for me, so I just decided to get there early for pickup. Pickup was at The Tides Hotel. Pickup was on the second floor in one of the conference rooms. The second floor had a large open area for everyone hang out, meet up, stretch, and catch up before going out for the race start.
The race start was at 8:30 A.M., and started promptly. Since there was only about 700 runners, there was not much of a start, to include no national anthem. Also, there is no mat at the start, so when they say to go, the clock starts. So, if you are running this race for time, you should get toward the front. There is a chip in the bib, but it was quite an awkward system. There was also no mats on the course, so you need a watch of some sort to help if you are running for time. So the only time you are tracked is at the finish line.
I had a great group of friends run the race, with most of them setting PRs of some sort.
I started out the race with Luke, with the intent on shooting for a 1:55. Aaron & Rachel set out for a 1:49, which I thought would be insane for me to attempt. My PR from 2013 for a half marathon is 1:45; however, in my other 16 half marathons I have averaged a 1:57, so my intent on a 1:55 was still a big goal.
Well, Luke and I stayed with Aaron & Rachel for the first five miles. I was feeling good! I have to admit I had lost 10 pounds since my last half marathon in late November. I also have been doing a specialty running day each week since January 1st, where I rotate speed work, tempo runs, and hill training. It must be working, because I was able to stick with Aaron & Rachel for the entire race, and we had an amazing finish time. Because of the mediocre timing system our watches had us in at 1:47:45; however, when the official results came out, it said we were in at 1:48:08. No matter, the results were amazing and I was ecstatic!
The course was not that bad. I was concerned because the first three miles is a loop with the 5k runners, so I thought we were going to get bottled up. However, after about a mile, it all spread out and worked really well. The first 5 miles is a loop, and then you go out on the island to the point, where the Morris Island Lighthouse is. You the return back and navigate through more of the town, then the last 1.5 miles is a straight shot to the finish.
For a race that is really inexpensive, $40 for the half marathon, you get quite a bit of race swag. You get a print of the Morris Island Lighthouse (the top picture was the print), a cotton long sleeved race shirt, water, gatorade, bagels, cookies, bananas, and finally, the race medal!
To review more information about the race, you can look back at my earlier post of the race preview.