Saturday, October 8, 2011

Race Review: Shamrock 1/2 Marathon

Brooks tech tee, cotton long sleeve finisher's shirt, tech hat, race bag, and medal
Talk about a weekend event!  This race is hosted by J & A Racing and they do a fantastic job.  The weekend starts on Friday with packet pick-up and a huge fitness expo, followed Saturday by the Townebank 8K and children’s marathon.  Sunday brings the marathon and half marathon. 
This was our first half marathon so we were excited and nervous.  We arrived at the race super early and found plenty of volunteers pointing out directions to parking areas.  The temperature was in the 50s so it was a little chilly hanging out by the port o potties waiting for the sun to come up.  The race start is set up in corrals depending on what you put down as your anticipated finish time when you registered.  With the race weekend capping out around 24,000 participants the corrals were a bit packed so we just squeezed in where we thought we should be!  The sun slowly rose and before we knew it we were off and running!  There were a lot of people on the course but there was plenty of room.  The entire road was shut down as we made our way away from the strip and headed out toward Joint Expeditionary Base, Fort Story.  While running through Fort Story you pass the midway point and get a great view of the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Henry light house.  The course loops around and finishes on the world famous boardwalk just past the majestic figure of King Neptune.  There are hydration stations every 1.5 miles along the course offering water and Gatorade and some gels at the half way point.  J & A Racing is a huge race organization so the support for this race was amazing.  Volunteers and supporters were out on the course cheering us on the whole way!

   
Weather: A 
It was chilly when we first arrived but we are talking Virginia Beach in March.  It’s chilly but once the sun came up and we got out there it was great.  The post-race party was also great because it was right on the beach with the sun shining and warming everything up!

Organization: A
J & A Racing is awesome and they do a great job putting on events.  If you travel to Virginia Beach on a regular basis check out the Live, Love, Run VB Challenge that J & A puts on.  Run their four races throughout the year and you get a commemorative item!  On a side note…unfortunately for us we have not been able to pull this challenge off yet.  We originally missed the Shamrock registration so we had to buy our bibs from some other people.  During the race I wore a bib with the name Colleen on it while my good natured hubby wore a bib with the name Amanda!

Course: B
The course is great as far as plenty of room goes.  It is very flat and the finish on the boardwalk and beach is awesome (make sure you check out the huge sand sculpture created special every year for this race).  Our only complaint was that running out to Fort Story is pretty boring and then running back to the beach is boring.  Not really sure how they could change this, maybe we are just picky!

Medal: A
This was my first medal and my hubby’s second.  I was pretty darn impressed with it and after accumulating more I am still pretty impressed with it.  It is not your average circle or square medal.  It is shaped like a Shamrock and is pretty hefty!  They change the design every year so for a race that is 40 years old that is saying something!




Schwag: A
For this race we received a long sleeve everyday tee shirt, a Brooks technical short sleeve, a running hat,  a cloth bag that we got at the expo with our bibs and lots of little treats (gels, beans, coupons), and finally the awesome medal.
Post-Race: A
The post-race party was great.  There was plenty or Yuengling Beer, Murphy’s Irish stew, and great music.  The party was on the beach which was nice because if the tent area felt like it was getting crowded you could just step outside and relax in the sand. 
Our Performance: B-
This was our first half and I am by no means upset about our B-.  We came in around 2:18.  I do realize now that I should have put in more training (I only did the long runs while hubby and his buddies were out there five to six days a week).  We did awesome until around mile 11 then I really started slowing us down.  We never walked though so that I am proud of!  We don’t always run our races together so I am pretty glad that we did run our first half together…how awesome is that?!!!
Overall Grade: A
We will run this race again.  Not sure if we will do the half or try the marathon but we will conquer that VB Challenge and get that commemorative item someday!!!
For more info, or to register, go to: http://www.shamrockmarathon.com/


my scrapbook page (we had to buy bibs off other runners since we missed registration)



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