Finished in 1:54:45(official time); no new PR
Overall Place: 554/2275
Men 45-49: 41/115
Race #91; Half Marathon #33
I ran my first full marathon here at Bayshore in 2011 and had a great time. I had always wanted to go back for just the half marathon and this was just as fun as the full was for me. There are a few more logistics since it's a point to point race but overall, a fantastic time. It's even better that this is on Memorial Day weekend and most make it a vacation given it's in beautiful Traverse City. This one sells out in about 20 minutes so if you are interested, you need to be ready in December to sign up. You won't be disappointed - it's one of the best views of a half I've been to.
Registration was very simple. You got online in December and signed up when they opened up registration. For this one, you have to be ready to sign up the minute they open since it sells out so fast. I didn't have any issues and was able to get in no problem. Just don't delay. One thing they did do was have registration on a Monday during work hours which I didn't like but I made it work. You also have the ability to sell your entry if you get hurt. I had planned to run the full last year and ended up selling my entry for full price given the demand at the race.
Packet pickup was on the Friday evening before the race and also on race morning. Since I had an hour drive over to packet pickup, I didn't drive over Friday night to see the expo and get my packet. I did come early as packet pickup started at 5am. I was up at 3:15am!!! Holy cow that's an early start. Since the majority of people are from out of town, packet pickup was very simple and I was done in a matter of minutes.
You first received your bib for the race. After that you got in line and received your tech shirt. I believe I got there around 5:30am and, as you can see, there was hardly anyone there getting their packets.
|In the high school gym - bibs|
After I put my packet in the car, I headed to the rest room. There was a huge line for the inside bathrooms so I made my way to the Port-o-Johns with no lines. After that, I got on a school bus to take me to the start of the race. Because it was a point to point and there were 2,700 runners, they had numerous busses going back and forth from the school where packet pickup was located. The race warned you not to wait until the last minute since not everyone could get on the last bus. Overall, it was an easy and well organized process. You can see below that we got dropped off in the middle of a field.
|Bus drop off|
|Port o Johns|
|Runners behind me|
|Runners in front of me|
The course, ah, the course! What a spectacular course this is. It's one of the prettiest courses I've ever run and the main reason it sells out so fast. As you can see, it's primarily on the water so the views are incredible. I did somewhat have a plan and that plan was to get my sub 2 in order to keep my all road half marathon streak of 2 sub intact. I was able to do it just barely! Conditions were perfect for running starting in the low 40's and finishing in the mid 50's.
|Map/splits/elevation per Strava|
|And we are off!|
|Lots of runners|
|Hills to start|
|Heading towards the water|
|A little shade|
|On the water|
|Towards water again|
|Still lots of runners|
|The water takes your mind off running|
|Port o Johns on course|
|More great views|
|Running both ways|
|Lots of spectators here|
|Beautiful homes on the course|
|Off the water|
|Back to views|
|Lots of cheering at the finish|
|Going past the marathon start|
|Heading to the track|
|On the track|
The aid stations were plentiful and fully stocked. The volunteers were giving out water, Gatorade, GU gel and GU chews. The aid stations here are pretty large compared to most races as well so they take tons of volunteers to help.
|Look at those cups|
|Plenty of aid stations|
The finish area was huge and very organized. You started with receiving your race medal.
|Moomers Ice Cream|
|Lots of runners enjoying the day|
|Plenty of food|
|Crowd in the stands|
|Port o Johns Start/Finish|
For your $80 race entry(highest I've paid for a half) plus online fees(half), you received a certified course that was semi-closed to traffic. You also received great aid stations along the course. You received a custom race bib. I was surprised they didn't offer QR codes on the bibs so you could scan your results right away. I didn't even look for my final results until I got home from the weekend but they were up when I looked for them.
You received a short sleeve, Brooks tech shirt! Yea how I love the Brooks tech shirts and this one will get used regularly on training runs. It's a really bright color this year but it's made well, fits greats and is also a very nice design. The logo is large but not overpowering.
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal close up|
Organization was top notch for this great event. They certainly know what they are doing. All aspects of the race were excellent. The point to point adds an element of difficulty for the race and they pulled it off with great success. I was very pleased with everything they did to keep things very organized.
Overall, this is a must do half marathon if you live in Michigan(even if you don't). It's a fantastic course and well run. The race has some extremely competitive runners race here every year. The communication via email is great. The start and finish line areas were well planned out. The race medal is nicely done and the shirt is awesome as I love Brooks shirts. If you have not done a race here, you need to do one by signing up in December and making a vacation out of it. Just be sure to sign up the first 1/2 hour of registration(at least for the half) and make sure to reserve your hotel right away(if not sooner) as well. You'll be happy you raced this one. I'll certainly be back in future years.
Disclosure: I paid for this race entry with my own funds. All opinions are my own.