Charleston Marathon: mixed review


As you can tell from the title of this post, I have some mixed feelings on this one so here it goes.

First, this was my first attempt at pacing a half marathon.  I loved it!

My running partner CSR and I paced the 2:30 group for TrySports.  We got to wear some cool bright yellow pacer shirts and hold “2:30” signs the whole race (that was the hardest part of the race – the signs, not the shirts).  

CSR and I had just run the Goofy Challenge last weekend, but the 39.3 miles did not bother either of us at all.  CSR came up with a new name for what we were doing, “Marathon Sandwich”.  That’s a half marathon, full marathon, and another half marathon within a week.  I think the name will stick!

I was so inspired by the people I met on this run.  Some people were either running their first half marathon or were going for a PR in this distance.  I met a guy who had lost over 100 pounds (like me!) and a woman who just had a baby ten weeks ago (not like me)!  I ran with locals, people from other parts of the state and several people from out of state.  I absolutely loved hearing their stories, I loved crossing the finish line with all of them and I loved being part of their amazing journeys.

Here is what I did not love…

There were only 14 port-a-lets at the start of the race (there were over 3,000 people registered for the race).  There was very little signage at the start to direct people and I cannot even remember if there was an emcee at the start. 

I don’t really have much to say about the route.  It’s a long race - some parts are nice, some parts are not.  What I did not like was that at mile four there were no cups!  In fact, there were no cups after this point until the table at mile twelve!  

Luckily, the weather was cool enough that this did not become a safety issue.  But I could tell that the people around me, who had never run this far, were starting to panic.  People were even picking up used cups from the ground to get some water or PowerAde.  The volunteers were so apologetic and I could see they were really upset that the race organizers had not given them enough cups for the runners.

The finish was not much better.  There was food, but no water bottles.  We did manage to find some volunteers who were filling up cups with water toward the back of the finish area.  

I later found out that the race had run out of medals for the finishers after our pace group (almost as bad as not having cups).

The finish festival was nice.  It was inside a tent (although it was a little cramped) and they had shrimp and grits (every race should have this at the end), but there was no water!  Plenty of sweet tea, but again no water…

I do want to end this post on a positive note.  My son ran the Youth Marathon the day before and had a blast!  He received an awesome shirt and his medal was over the top!

I really hope this race gets better.  

Charleston is an amazing place to run and I want people to come here and enjoy this place I call home.

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