Sunday, 8 March 2015

Run Hard Half Marathon, Columbia SC 2015

This week I ran the Run Hard Half Marathon. I knew large portions of this course from running around Columbia and I knew that this course would be HILLY!! This was for me a tough training run.
 
The expo was near work for me, on Friday, so I popped up there after work to pick up my bib and t-shirt. The expo was small but if you forgot anything there was enough there to pick it up. The t-shirt was unisex and a cotton/synthetic blend. I didn't realise it was unisex so I ended up changing sizes-shirt exchange was at the race finish.

The race started on Saturday morning at 7.30am. I got up a 6am, ate and changed and left the house at 6.50am, can't beat a home turf race. I drove for all of three minutes and parked on street about 2 minutes walk from the race start. All the meters were free all day so all my parking was free, even better. Being close to the race was great because the weather had swung back to being freezing. It  was around 30 at the race start. Not bad but you don't want to stand around for hours in it either.

The start was pretty low key. After the national anthemn we set of mostly downhill to start, running right by my work building.
 Within the first two miles we hit Saluda Avenue. This is a monster of a hill and will be the site of my hill training when the evenings are longer. Its close to half a mile of steep hill. Normally I don't walk within the first few miles of a race but I took a walk break on this beast. 
These guys from the RWB club must have had some sore arms by the end.

There were aid stations every 2 miles with water, gatorade and fruit. Aid stations also came with port-a-potties thank goodness because again I had to stop pretty urgently at mile 7. Every so often a paramedic would patrol by on a motorcycle and then there were cops at almost every intersection. Offical course support was spot on and unoffically there were a fair few supporters out there cheering us all on. For the most of the course the hills were constant but small enough. The last few miles were punishing though. There was one looong climb and then another killer hill at around mile 10. I ran every step of that last big sucker though. It did make me feel sorry for the full marathoners though since the full course was a double loop.

If you can see the arrow that'll let you know what the next few miles were like.

I pushed myself for the last mile. It was hard after that course but I managed a pretty nice kick for the finish stretch and passed a good few people. I came across the finish and received one of my favorite medals so far.  The finish had bagels, fruit, gatorade and water. I grabbed some water and exchanged my tshirt before jumping in the car and going home. 
The signs were decorated by kids from a local running program.
The awards were presented right on the state house steps.
My splits were all over the place but I didn't look at my watch just running by feel.

My friend ran the marathon of this race a couple of years ago (before it changed management) and finished near the back of the pack. I remember at that stage it had been all packed up and noone was there to cheer on the finishers.
 So with that in mind after I showered and put on my new t-shirt we headed back up to the Soda City Market on Main Street. This market is a farmers market that runs every Saturday but it was on the other half of the road where the finishing stretch was. 
We went up and I grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee. We alternated walking around the market with Boomer, who said hello to 100s of dogs, and stopping at the barriers and cheering for 5 or so minutes. Market browsing done we headed to the finish and stayed cheering for a while. It was slightly different atmosphere compared to my friends finish with an awesome DJ mixing up some good songs. I was the embrassingly loud cheering person, giving out the occasional high five. It was just as fun cheering as running. 
This was a very well organized race, slightly no-frills and a hard course but fun. They really stepped it up with the medal and the finish. It's totally worth it...it might not be the best first marathon but it'd make a good 2nd or 3rd marathon and a good half at any time!!! They do some great registration offers at times so follow their FB page if you are thinking about running it.


2 comments:

  1. Great job on a TOUGH course! Man! Look at that elevation profile! Wowza!!!! :D I can't imagine doing two loops of that. I... can't imagine doing any two loop marathon course. I don't like to go by the finish line until I am done. LOL!

    That is great you stayed to cheer people on!

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    1. Thanks :) It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but all I could think about was those poor marathoners!

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