When you have to run 13 miles for training, why not enter a race? That’s my thought process anyway. It can be an expensive thought process, but it gets me out there and I do it with a smile!
My marathon training schedule called for a 12-miler this past weekend. I decided to sign up for the first annual Lewisburg Half Marathon with two guys who will be joining me at the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I normally shy away from first-year races, but seeing as this was local I wanted to do my little part in helping get the race started. There were a little more than 200 participants. Hopefully that number will grow in coming years, but I imagine the race will always be on the smaller side.
Lewisburg is only about an hour from where I live so we just drove up Sunday morning, subsequently missing the expo. Based on photos, I think it was very organized and decently attended. Packet pickup on race morning was quick and the tech shirts were a great color: bright green (not construction green). They also had men’s and women’s cuts, which was really nice. They also offered chip timing.
The weather on race day was sunny with a high of 68. It wasn’t even 50 when we started and was only about 59 by the time we left after having lunch. Perfect running weather for me!
While the race was in Lewisburg, it avoided town completely and toured the hills and valleys of the surrounding farmland. I knew it would be hilly, but it was a bit hillier than I predicted. The water stops were well spaced, well stocked, and the volunteers did a great job. The roads were not closed to traffic, but local police and volunteers kept us all safe. There really wasn’t that much traffic, unless you consider the tractors we saw. One of the rural churches was having a “Drive Your Tractor to Church” day.
Like I mentioned it was a very hilly course. It was definitely hillier than Bird-In-Hand, but there were a lot more trees offering more shade. Since it was cool that wasn’t a big deal, but it would be nice if it’s warm in future years. The course also didn’t overlap much so you weren’t bored by seeing the same scenery. The first 2 miles and the last two miles were the only parts that overlapped. Below are a few photos of the scenery we enjoyed while running.
I definitely enjoyed the downhill to the finish line. If the announcer could see your bib number, they announced your name as you came in. Mine was blocked by my jacket sleeves since it was tied around my waist. However, I was just glad to see I had managed to PR by about 5 minutes from my time at Bird-in-Hand! I finished just under 1:54 at 1:53:56. It’s amazing what a 30-degree temperature difference can make!
The post-race snacks were great. They had water and chocolate milk, cookies, bagels, fruit, and grill sticky buns! After the race, we learned Bill and Norm had finished in the top three in both of their respective age groups. Norm was actually 9th overall. Bill, Gabe and I hit up The Country Cupboard for brunch before heading home. Ultimately, it was a nice local race that I would definitely participate in again. If you happen to find yourself in the area next year, consider it!
I currently don’t have any races lined up until the Marine Corps. If anything, I’ll do the Give ‘Em Five Run for Veterans that I did last year. It’s a nice, local 5-miler in a nearby town. Another hilly race, but you can’t run here and not have hills.
Question: What kind of races do you prefer? Small and local or big destination? Or both?