The Holiday Half Marathon in Point Clear, Alabama was a back-to-basics runner's dream. Simple. Well-organized. INEXPENSIVE ($25!!!). T-shirts were optional both as part of race-swag (an extra $5 savings) and among the runners. (Hey, y'all, it was hot out there!)
Organized by the Port City Pacers, the Holiday Half Marathon felt like a long and well-supported group run with a formal finish line. As I said when I registered, more races should be like this race.
Because the race was small (fewer than 250 people by my best estimate) the event felt very laid-back. Organizers provided a light breakfast (coffee, juice, cookies, bananas) for those who like to eat and run.
|Smiling at the finish line... before the race.|
And the most important pre-race detail: Lines for the port-o-lets were longish but fast-moving.
|The starting line|
Runners lined up to a chalk line on the road. A shirtless runner waved a dime-store flag above his head while another man held a cassette player and megaphone aloft to broadcast the national anthem to the small crowd. Unorthodox, sure. But effective.
Oh, the humidity!
|Pre-race: fog over Mobile Bay|
My only minor quibble with course support is that the gatorade at aid stations was awful. Either some volunteer mixed the drink so it was horribly watered-down, or organizers bought the zero-calorie junk. (Um... I'm running 13 miles here. Give me a little sugar!)
But there were plenty of aid stations and the race cost me a mere $20 (I skipped the t-shirt), so that's the closest I'm getting to a complaint.
Despite my complaining about the weather, the simple T-shaped course pancake flat. It was also beautiful. Once the morning fog lifted, the sky was brilliant blue (which also meant that half of the course was baking in the sun, but I digress...)
|View over Mobile Bay from the race-course at about mile 12|
|Mullet Point Park in Point Clear, AL|
|Post-race view over Mobile Bay as seen from Mullet Point Park|
Race times were clock time, not chip timed. But in a race this small does it really matter? My stopwatch and the race clock were virtually identical.
|Post-race pizza party|
Proof that I had a bad run:
I completely ignored the keg of post-race beer. Instead I downed sugary soft drinks - my first soda in... 5 years? 10? Then I took off my shoes, and walked/hobbled sock-shod back to the car.