Race Day (Sunday)
On Dec. 1, 2013 I ran in the Space Coast Half Marathon. This is the first race of five in The Big Bang Series. The series will award a commemorative shuttle medal each year for the retired Space Shuttles. This year’s medal celebrated the first shuttle, Columbia STS-1.
The morning started early. We stayed at the Hampton Inn, one of the host resorts. We were up and out the room by 4:45 to get to the start. I rode with fellow Running of the Ears friends (ROTErs) Greg & Stephanie Jackson. They were doing the full marathon. The half marathon started at 6:00 AM and the full started at 6:30 AM in the opposite direction. They started a half hour later and in the opposite direction so most of the half marathoners would be off the course when they got there. I met up with longtime friends Michael & Tara Bell at the start. They were also doing the half marathon, so we all started together.
The start was fantastic! They had a jumbo-tron screen at the starting line. When it was one minute to start, they put up an actual shuttle launch on the screen. It went through the normal logistics of a shuttle launch, and when it was 3,2,1 lift off they fired us off in smoke billowing like a launch. It was almost too think to see going through the chute, but no issues.
The run was on. The first few miles were really dark because the sun had yet risen and the street lights weren’t strong enough (one weakness that needs to be addressed). We all activated our GPS watch & phone lights to get through this part. When the sun did rise, what a beautiful sight. We were running along the waterfront the entire race. It was an awesome 13 miles of scenery. The race was through a neighborhood, so many came out into their driveways to cheer us on. Some had special treats to offer like Smores, eggs & grits, candy, and one home was a bartender making bloody Mary’s. I’m interested to see how many runners actually took him up on this!