Thursday, April 11, 2013

Race Review: Great Bay Half Marathon 2013

Nick (#290), Louie (#876), me (#291), and my mom (#1267)
On Sunday, Louie, our friend Nick, and I all ran the 7th Annual Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, NH. This event was sponsored by Exeter Hospital, and was run at the same time as the beyond the Rainbow 5K, which my mom ran!

Pre-race was a bit hectic. Packet pick-up was at Newmarket High School, and most of the participants kind of hung out in the gymnasium before heading up to Newmarket Elementary School, where the starting line was. There weren't many bathrooms available, so if you needed to use the bathroom, you had to risk missing the start of the race due to the giant lines. Shortly after we started running, we ran by a few stragglers that were still waiting in line.

The 5K and Half Marathon runners all started at the same time, which was awesome because I got to start the race with my mom! The course split after 2.5 miles - 5Kers heading back towards the city, and the Half Marathoners headed into the woods of NH. The half marathon course was beautiful, taking you past streams and great views of the water front. There were lots of supporters hanging outside of their houses, partying, playing banjos on top of their cars while hula hooping (talent!), belly dancing, and giving out pretzels and Twizzlers to the runners. (I'll admit, I took a Twizzler. It was awesome after 8 miles!) It was a great change of pace from Hyannis, which (due to the pouring rain) was pretty desolate.

One of the biggest challenges of this course was how hilly it was. If you aren't used to running on hills, this course will definitely be a challenge for you, because there are some monsters along the way! Luckily, being from New Hampshire, conquering hills during long runs is something I'm no stranger to, but I don't think I can say the same for Massachusetts natives Nick and Louie.

Even though this course is challenging, it's definitely manageable for beginner half marathoners. Louie and I both PR-ed by a considerable amount, and Nick, who was running his first half, reached his goal of finishing under 2:45. Don't let the hills scare you off - if we all finished, so can you!

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