|Half Marathon State # 12
Half Marathon #22
On Sunday, October 18, 2015, I ran in the Hershey Half Marathon in Pennsylvania. There were approximately 5,000 runners in the half marathon. For me, this was the second leg of a back to back half marathon weekend. I paired this with the Baltimore Half Marathon on Saturday to accomplished two states in one weekend toward my 50 By 50 Challenge.
Since I did the Baltimore race on Saturday, as soon as the race was over and I was cleaned up, my buddy Chris picked me up and we were off to Hershey to get to the expo before it closed at 5:00 PM. We got there a little after 4:00 PM. The expo was at Hershey Park Stadium. There wasn’t much to it, so I did not even take photos. Plus, we were freezing and it was outdoors under the bleachers, so we mainly just flew through and got my stuff and we were out of there.
Now on the way, I needed something to eat so we got the recommendation to go to Bmore Burger Stack, which was on the way. Talk about a hole in the wall, but man they had a awesome burger and fries.
After the expo, we went over to Hershey Chocolate World. I will save that for a later blog post.
For this race, we stayed at the Hampton Inn Hershey which was only about 10 minutes from Hershey Park where the race started and finished. Now, on to the race….
The weather for the race was quite different than Baltimore the day before. Race start weather was around 33 degrees with a 6 mph NW wind and 75% humidity. It was COLD!
The race start was at 7:30 AM. We arrived about 6:30 AM. Did I say it was cold, because…. it was COLD! I tried to layer as best as possible.
While waiting for the race to start, Hershey brought out characters for us to take photos with.
Before the race started, I experienced something never before done at a race. They had a pastor come up and do about a 10 minute devotion and prayer. It was very moving and helped me put my morning in perspective. However, the pastor started discussing The Last Supper of Christ. I looked at my buddy Chris, and asked if that was an appropriate topic considering we were about to run 13.1 miles. The pastor did an awesome job, but just threw me a curve ball as I considered my next 2 hours!
What better way to start a race than with a sunrise over the “Farenheit” roller coaster!
Then the race was on. Chris got some cool photos of us taking off through the starting line.
Here I am meeting back up with Chris at about the 2.5 mile mark. I started shedding a few articles of clothing to him.
This was a challenging day for me. After about 4 miles in, I started to suffer a lot of pain from the race the day before, and no resources to soak in an ice bath. I realized real fast, that I was not going to be in under two hours, so I began to just do run/walk intervals to get me through the race.
Since I started taking it easy, I got a few pictures along the way. Check out those interesting pants behind me!
Looking back at my splits from Baltimore yesterday, and compare to these below, you can see the struggles! I did manage to keep it under a 10 minute overall pace, but was my slowest half marathon of the 22 I had run.
So here was the course and elevations from my Garmin.
The course started outside the box office to Hershey Park Stadium, and we finished up on the track inside the stadium. Here is a shot of the finish line earlier in the morning.
The crowd support for this race was awesome, and I truly needed it. The first 4 to 5 miles were around Hershey Park, with the remainder of the race out in the Hershey community. The kids from the Milton Hershey School were out in droves to cheer us on. Here is a YouTube video they posted of them cheering us on. You will see me at the :56 to 1:01 time stamp.
So, this was a great place to run and a great race. I just got brought down by my circumstances, and finished at a 2:07:33.
The race medal was really cool as it represented the Hershey’s Kiss. You can see my medal on the Pennsylvania Race Medal Page.
So not a bad haul for a busy back to back weekend!
One great benefit, to encourage you to run this race! They give you 2 free tickets to Hershey Park After Dark. Once I was cleaned up and rested, Chris and I spent the rest of Sunday at the park riding 14 roller coasters in 5 hours, 20 minutes. I will do a blog post on Hershey Park next week.
To wrap up this recap, I cannot go without telling you about my awesome friends Chris & Beth Darling. They picked me up at the airport on Friday morning. Chris then picked me up after the Baltimore Half and drove me to Hershey, and spent the next two days with me there. I could not have done it without you buddy. Thanks so much for your giving spirit Chris & thanks Beth for letting the boys go to Hershey!