|Half Marathon State # 25
Half Marathon #46
Can you say HALFWAY!!!!! Half Marathon State #25 is now in the books! On Sunday, December 9, 2018, I ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Biloxi, Mississippi. The race was a point to point race along the beachfront from Gulfport to Biloxi. You could actually see the finish line 13 miles away it was so straight (well you could see the casino near the finish).
We drove to Biloxi. MS for this trip, breaking it up Friday and Saturday morning. We arrived at the MGM Park on Saturday around lunchtime, and it was pouring rain. We went into the casino for a little while to wait for our friends from New Orleans to arrive. Once they got there, we walked (swam) over to MGM Park for the expo, or lack thereof. The expo was a couple of tents outside of MGM Park. There wasn’t much of an expo, mainly just a packet pickup. Because of this, we were in and out within about 10 minutes.
After leaving the expo, we all loaded back up in our vehicles and went and found our hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Biloxi. We got a Beachfront room, so we were not only able to see the ocean, but the road, Highway 90, that we ran the race on, was right outside our window. After finding our hotel, we wanted lunch and to get out of the rain. We had heard about Shaggy’s Biloxi, which was a seafood restaurant on the beach. It was awesome. I highly recommend it if you go to Biloxi! After lunch, we ran a few errands, and then attempted to do my new state standard for finding a cupcake shop. Well we didn’t have any luck finding a locally owned cupcake shop, which I like to support, so we ended up at Smallcakes.
After our outings, we were pretty wet and soaked from the rain, so we headed back to the hotel for the evening. After a while, we decided we would order a pizza from a local vendor. Boy, was that a nightmare! Do not try to order online from Sal & Mookie’s or The Scillian II. They do not deliver, even though their websites say they do. At the Scillian II, we placed an order, and it said it was going to be near a 2 hour wait. Well, about 1.5 hours into the wait, they called to tell us they had a large party and ran out of ingredients. This is just poor customer service, so don’t give them your money. We ended up ordering Domino’s.
After we ate, we got our gear ready for the next morning.
On Sunday morning, the race started in Gulfport at 7:00am. Since our hotel was in Biloxi, near the finish, we had to walk about a mile from our hotel to the MGM Park to catch a shuttle to the start. We woke up and got to the shuttle, and were at the start about 6:15am. There were plenty of porta-johns. The staging area was just west of the start in a park.
It was a chilly morning. However, for the race, it was a northwest wind, so it was to our backs the entire race!
They would not let us go to the starting line, because Highway 90 was still active. With about 15 minutes until the start, they released us to get lined up at the start. There were no corrals. We just lined up based on pacing group signs.
The race got started right on time at 7:00am. As I said earlier, the race was a straight shot along the beach. The west bound lanes were ours for the first few miles, and the east bound remained opened to vehicular traffic. About halfway, we were pushed down to 1 lane and the beach path to allow for some westbound vehicular traffic.
Here was the course map.
It was a beautiful course.
It was a great opportunity to run along the beach. If it wasn’t so chilly, it would have been a really great race.
At about the 11.5 mile area, you turn onto an I-110 viaduct that loops upward, so there is a little bit of an incline. After the loop, you run on I-110 for about a half mile, then turn around and run back, but this time you have a steep downhill to make up a little time from the previous incline, if you so choose. After this you make a couple of lefts, and then run into MGM Park and run along the outfield warning track of the baseball and finish under their Jumbo-Tron.
I ran a 2:02:50 which is not under my goal of 2 hours for each race. However, with the ailments I have been experiencing lately, I was satisfied.
The finisher area is on the concourse of the baseball park, so you have to climb up some steps from field level finish to the concourse. It was a pretty good finish area. The had water, Powerade, Coke products, Chocolate and other milk flavors, soup, pizza, pasta & chicken, and BBQ Pork sliders, among other things. It was really good. After spending about 15 minutes in the finisher area, I began to walk toward the hotel. Our friends text me to tell me they were just passing the hotel, so I wanted to try and meet them before they turned onto the I-110 viaduct. Man, that was a cold walk back, with the headwind now. I am so glad we ran Gulfport to Biloxi. The other direction would have been miserable.
Here is all the swag from the race.
Well, that is a wrap on my 2018 half marathons. It is also a milestone as I have reached my halfway goal toward running a half marathon in all 50 states. This was my 25th state and my 46th half marathon.
As always, I give a shout out to our friends Matt & Kira. They gave me my 50 states medal rack, and it is now half full and starting to look colorful!
2019 is going to be a slow year for me. I am going to just do local races and not be traveling to any new states. So this will be my last state update until 2020. Every new state now requires me to fly and get hotels, that is tight on the budget. 2019 will be a budget rebuild. It will be tough but I will survive. Stay in touch. I will still review all my local half marathons, so if you need South Carolina, get ready for some reviews!
Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!