Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Runners World Classic for review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! Thank you!
Aaaaand we’re back! If you missed part 1 of the recap, check it out here!
Sunday morning, my mom and I woke up bright and early for the last race of the hat trick – the half marathon. I’ve never run 9+ miles on one day, only to turn around and run 13.1 miles the next day, so I didn’t know what to expect from my legs. I knew it wasn’t going to be a PR though. It was also forecast to be another hot day, humid and in the 80’s – not exactly ideal running conditions.
Just like Saturday morning, my mom and I made it down to Merrimack College in no time. We checked our bags, used the porta-potties (which there were plenty of!) and met up with another running friend who was also running the half. We were all pretty excited to see cloud cover – the longer the sun would hold off, the easier the race was going to be.
At 6:45, we made our way into the starting chute and I lined up next to my mom between the 9:00 and 10 minute/mile pace signs. I don’t think she believed me until the end, but my plan was to take it easy on the half and just enjoy running the race with her, rather than trying to run it at a more aggressive pace the way I usually do.
As with the 5 and 10k, the organizers had done a great job planning for plenty of water stops and positioning police and medical volunteers. I also carried water on my SPIBelt and even though I’m not a huge fan of carrying my own water, I was very happy to have it. My favorite water station was around mile 5 where a choral group, Voices of Hope was volunteering – they serenaded us with “Don’t Stop Believin'” as we paused for water!! It was so awesome and really put us in a good mood as we continued on.
Most of the course was along shady, tree-lined streets of North Andover, but we also got to run through along their Main Street, where there were a bunch of spectators out cheering. Overall, the race didn’t have a ton of crowd support, but the folks who were out were very enthusiastic, so they made up for it. 🙂 My mom and I kept our pace pretty even, starting out at around 10 min/mile, and slowly working our way down to around 9:15/mile. You could tell people were really feeling the heat and we passed a decent number of people in the second half who had probably started out a bit too fast.
The course wasn’t the hilliest we’ve ever run (I’m looking at you Vermont!), but it had some decent climbs between miles 8 and 11. My mom and I continued to take it easy, taking walk breaks as needed. FINALLY, we were making the turn back onto Merrimack’s campus and hitting the Mile 13 marker. We managed to kick it up a notch, running around 7:15/mile over the last 100 meters or so for a finish time of 2:08!
All of these races were awesome and such a fantastic experience. Originally, I had been thinking I would just do the half marathon, but I am so glad I did the full hat trick. It’s such a cool challenge and difficult to replicate outside of a Runners World event. Looking back, I’m surprised at how relatively good my legs feel and filled with such gratitude that I’m strong and healthy enough to be able to run 22.4 miles in a weekend. My mom and I had such a blast and pretty much everything about this race was smooth (kind of the opposite of our experience at Delaware…).
It’s crazy to think that just over 4 years ago, my mom and I were running our first half marathon. Here we are, 15 half marathons later and I think it’s safe to say we’re kind of addicted. 🙂 The Runners World Classic was an awesome experience to add to our list of running adventures and I would 100% recommend it (or any Runners World race) to other runners. And sign up for the Hat Trick! 😉
Have you ever attended a Runners World race or event? What’d you think?