|Half Marathon State # 17
Half Marathon #31
On Sunday, November 5, 2016 I ran in the Marshall University Half Marathon in Huntington, West Virginia. This was my 4th half marathon in 9 weeks, with 2 in back to back weekends. I have to take advantage of the Fall weather to get in as many as I can. This was State #17 toward my 50 By 50 Challenge and half marathon #31 overall. This was my last state for 2016; however, I have my annual Space Coast Half Marathon on Thanksgiving weekend to wrap up my race schedule for 2016. This particular race venue held a marathon, half marathon, & 5k events.
This was a quick turnaround trip. On Saturday my wife and I made the 7 hour drive up to Huntington, WV and went straight to the race expo. The expo was located at St. Mary’s Conference Center. We got to the expo about 2pm and there was not much of a crowd.
There was a neat sign they had for you to place a push pin to indicate where you were from.
There was a small amount of vendors in the lobby selling race gear. You then went in the interior door to the Conference Center where you were greeted by volunteers who had the roster to tell you what your bib number is and what line to proceed to. We were not provided our bib numbers prior to our arrival.
They provided a race short sleeved tech shirt and an awesome Marshall University gym bag. This was a nice touch and deviation from the standard draw string bags given at most races.
After the race expo, we headed to our hotel to check in. After checking in and relaxing a few minutes, we headed back in town to meet up with some fellow Fifty State Half Marathoners for dinner. We met at Huntington Ale House. They provided us a large group table in the back so we could eat together and socialize about our past and upcoming race events. It was great to meet new 50 Staters that I had not yet met before.
Here is the gear I laid out for the event.
On Sunday morning, the race start time was 7am. We had about a 10 minute drive in and arrived a little after 6am. It was a pretty chilly morning and super foggy.
I met back up at the start with some of the 50 Staters for a group photo before we started the race.
It was nice of them to even let my wife get in on the fun!
There really wasn’t much communication to prepare the runners for the race. All of sudden we just start hearing the National Anthem play, then several minutes later the cannon fired. They start their race with a cannon, which was super loud and startled many of us.
There were no corrals for this race. However, they did have pacers. In all my races I had never used a pace group; however, on this day I thought I would give it a shot, so I joined in with the 2:00 pace group. For the first couple of miles I stuck with them so as to not start out too fast. The pacer also would tell us when turns, hills, etc. would come up. From about miles 3 to 11 I ran ahead and just keep the pace group behind me. At about mile 11 they caught back up to me. The pacer came in super handy here as he specifically ran up to me an another person and told us to work hard on mile 11 so we could coast from mile 12. That was so helpful and encouraging. I think his name was “Bart” (forgive me if it was wrong, curly haired guy – 2:00 pacer), but just wanted to give him a shout out for the help!
You would think that in doing 31 half marathon reviews I would remember to take pictures along the course. Unfortunately, I am usually in the zone and focused on finishing in two hours that I forget. However, one of our 50 Staters, Robyn Fender took some neat photos along the course, so I am borrowing them from hear to show some of the course.
The course was pretty standard. It was relatively flat short for a few hill bumps here and there. There are three miles in the Ritter Park area that is on Limestone trails. This area gets really tight, and makes it difficult to pass, if needed. The water stopped were effectively placed and were serviced by super excited people that encouraged us.
The end of the race is why I signed up for this particular race. This race ends on the Marshall University Football Field (Joan C. Edwards Stadium).
As you enter the stadium, all the friends and family are in there to cheer you on to the finish line.
But then they give you a football to carry across the finish line.
The finish line is ahead. I tried to strike a Heisman pose but the legs just wouldn’t cooperate.
The finish line was on the goal line.
It wasn’t a bad race. I finished it in 1:58:38 (9:01 pace). I even got a picture with Marco, the Marshall University mascot.
The course route.
This was a pretty good weekend and provided me my 17th State medal toward my goal.
Here is my updated medal rack compliments of my friends Matt & Kira. Also, my Fifty States Half Marathon Club shirt with my 17th State colored in.
Finally, as most of you that follow me, know that when I do a 50 state race review, I try to find a local cupcake store to support. Well since we got into town late on Saturday, we did not get the chance to go until after the race on Sunday. Well, that was epic fail. All The Cupcake Stores Were Closed On Sunday! Didn’t they know I was coming to town? This could have something to do with it. Here is a recent article in Runner’s World about Huntington, WV.
My 2017 states will take me to Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Delaware, & Hawaii. That’s right, we are planning to go to Hawaii for our 20th Wedding Anniversary and while there run the Maui Half Marathon. So 2017 will offer up a super exciting venue!