Monday, 9 June 2014

Halfway to 12 Half Marathons in 12 months: Bootlegger Half Marathon,Dawsonville GA

The Bootlegger Half Marathon took place at 7am (7th of June) in Dawsonville GA.

This race was almost a 4 hour car journey from Columbia, soo long. We brought along the puppy so we stayed in a dog friendly Best Western. It was ok. We had to stay in a smoking room as apparently they are the only pet friendly it smelt a little. I never realized what a difference this would make as I always choose non-smoking rooms. However, it was in an awesome location right beside a Dunkin Dognuts and Georgia Premium Outlets. 

I didn't make it in time for packet pickup on Friday evening so I picked up my packet on Saturday morning before the race. One really cool thing about this race was that it started near the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Packet pickup was in the Hall so I got to walk around. I don't know a whole load about the US car racing circuit but I love Formula 1 racing, so I can appreciate a good car. 2 free entries to the museum...score!! 
A picture with my fellow Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs

The t-shirt was technical and the design was nice. Nothing else to report for packet pickup.

A pretty straight forward race for me. I ran at a good pace walking through the water stations and only once or twice otherwise. The course was hilly but consisted of rollers. I can deal with these, short hills and you know a nice downhill is on the way. Aid stations were nicely space out and well organized. A 4 mile race started with the half and full marathon. The half was a partial out and back with a turn around at around mile 8. Most of the course was on small highways in the countryside which meant I seen a large number of dead snakes ekk! 

Having not run a lot in the last few weeks I didn't know what to expect but I felt pretty good running in the lower morning temps (low 70s vs. 90s here in the evening). I was able to hold a decent pace. My IT band let me know it appreciated my low mileage as it didn't really act up too much at all. I was aware of my left knee for the last few miles but it wasn't painful and didn't slow me down. Honestly it was tiredness that slowed me down. I was tired by the end and my hamstrings were tight. I didn't overheat or get sick. I think I got the fueling/water right. Walking through the aid stations helped as I was able to drink a little more than if I ran. Most stations I grabbed Gatorade, different flavors at different stations :), only cutting it off for the last station as I didn't want to get sick.

I got back with 1:57:something on the clock. I presume this was gun time. My results say 1:58:22 (chip time) so I donno where this extra time came from. I thought the timing equipment was at the start of the finishing chute, with the clock, but even the finishing chute wasn't long enough to add almost a minute to my time unless they were handing out medals before I crossed the timer. I know there were problems with the timing system, I think my time should have been close to 1:57. A little annoying and I would be pretty mad if I thought I got a PR. What's the point in having a timing system you cannot work.

Other than this it was a good experience for me, but this is the first race I ran where I could see cracks in the organization. Martina was at the finish the whole time I was running and saw a lot of stuff. A number of people went the wrong way on the course. One guy running a blistering time in the half ended up crossing the finishing mat after eight as he said no one directed him on course. A bunch of full marathoners got lost ending up at the finishing point when they were meant to be starting their second lap wasting precious time. One guy begged for directions was ignored by officials and had to be directed back to the full course by spectators. I waited over an hour for awards and I saw at least 4 marathoners meandering through parking lots trying to get back to the full course. I was directed three times. Once to go onwards at the four mile turn around, once at the half turnaround and lastly at the turnoff towards the finish. Otherwise I just followed other runners..that could have went wrong but luckily it worked out for me. 
There were understandably some very upset people. One maybe two runners going wrong I'd say ok maybe they weren't listening to directions, 10-20 well something needs to change. I think next year the organizers need to have different bib colors for different help the volunteers direct runners or a few large signs (even handmade ones). A few more directions would also be good at different points. Honestly, I'd be annoyed if my half was f'ed up, especially given my 12 in 12 months challenge, but if I was running a full I'd be devastated. 
A few small changes and a test run of the timing system before the race by the organizers would make this a really great race.

I felt ok at the end, I grabbed water, some pretzels and a banana and immediately started stretching. We hung around for the awards. I got 2nd in my age group, my first half marathon placing yay! By the time we went back to the car I was feeling good. After heading back to the hotel for a shower we went to a grill type restaurant were I got a giant delicious bean burger.

Since our hotel was so close to the outlets it would have been a crime not to go shopping. Our hiking plans were scratched and off we went. A couple of hours in the heat (turns outside with the dog) were enough so we chilled out and watched TV for the afternoon. 

Sunday we all had a lie in and left the hotel around 11. We broke up the long drive home by stopping at another set of outlet shops, an hour into our drive, to go to some shops we skipped the day before. The drive was uneventful and we made it home in time for me to have a two hour nap and get up for some dinner :)

Bootlegger Half Marathon 1:58:22(chip time)


  1. Congratulations on another strong race and finish! How many of these are you planning to do this year - you are breaking records!

    1. Just a few, lol! It'll be interesting to juggle marathon training and racing, there might be some breakdowns on the way :)