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Oct 9, 2012

Brückeläufe Half Marathon Race Review

4 miles on the schedule today.....done.

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Brückeläufe Half Marathon Race Review

Short Version:

Finished in 1:49:17(chip time)
Overall place:  114/580
AG(M40-44) 14/37

Nice, flat and beautiful course.  Weather was a bit chilly in the low 40's but was overall great for running.  Nice sunny day with some wind at the end(last 3 miles) of the race.  A good inaugural half marathon event.

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Registration/Packet Pickup
Since I was a race ambassador for this race, I mailed my registration to the race director and he took care of everything.  If I had been a regular runner, the race had a website and a Facebook page that had information about registration.  The Website had a place you could register electronically or mail in a paper registration form so it was a very simple process to register.

In regards to packet pickup, you could pick up your back either the day before the race the evening before or you could pick it up the morning of the race.  I got there about 7am for packet pickup(they opened at 6:30am), an hour before the race start and it was plenty of time to park, get my packet, use the restroom and go to the start line.  Since it was a little chilly, I sat in my car for part of the time with the heater on since parking was so close to the race start.  Another nice feature is that the packet pickup was in an indoor pavilion at Heritage Park, where the race start was, so even if you didn't want to sit in your car, you could hang out inside until the start time.
Packet pickup / registration
The race also had a mini expo selling some running merchandise including race shirts from their other races, the Winterlaüfe and Volkslaüfe races, which are in February and July.  I have not been to either of these races but have heard great things about the races.  The Age Group awards were also on display and they were an incredibly creative idea and I'm sure will be one's that will be well sought after in the coming years of the race.
Mini expo
Age group awards
Overall award
AG awards - Awesome!
Start Area
The start area was all organized in Heritage Park very close to downtown Frankenmuth.  Parking was in a grassy lot right next to the Pavilion and that was also right next to the start area.  In addition, port-o-potties were located on the way to the start area plus there were bathrooms in the park as well.  Given there were about 600 people in the half, I lined up about 30 minutes before the start to use the bathroom and it worked out perfect.  There were plenty of port-o-potties for the crowd.

I will say that I just followed the crowd to the start area.  There really wasn't any signage(that I saw) pointing where the start was but it did show it on the map on their website.  The race start was right by the river and behind the Barvarian Inn and was a great place to start the race.  It would have been nice to see some kind of start line signage at the start.  The timing mats were in place having some kind of blow up or metal start signage would have helped.  It was a little confusing until runners started to line up.  There really wasn't any announcements until five minutes before the race started to tell everyone to get in line but it was a fairly small race so easy to get everyone ready quickly.  The race had the national Anthem and we were off.  As I said, it was a bit cool this morning and I even wore long pants and a light jacket but overall the weather was fantastic for running.
Zehnder's Wooden Bridge
This was the view behind the race start
Runner waiting to line up
Lined up to run!
Start behind the Barvarian Inn Lodge - gorgeous fall colors!
Course
Since this was the inaugural race, I couldn't wait to see what the course was like.  I did something that I never do and that was carry a camera with me throughout the entire race to take pictures.  Keep in mind that I was running with the camera so the picture are not perfect but you get a great idea of the course from these.  My goal was to take pictures of all the bridges and I seem to have missed one.  I wish I took more pictures than this actually since the countryside was so beautiful.
Course Map - per my Garmin

Elevation per Garmin - nice and flat
We started in a grassy area in the park but were only on this less than a 1/4 mile.  After this we had some gravel road to go on for a little as well until we finally hit the pavement.  The race took you out towards downtown as we hit  our first bridge, which was the most exciting one to run across since it was the famous covered bridge in Frankenmuth.
Grassy start by river
First Bridge to run over
Zehnder's Wooden Bridge
Inside the wooden bridge
After this bridge, it took us near downtown Frankenmuth, and then out onto the neighboring streets.  We went through some very quaint neighborhoods and headed out past the Fortress golf course and then to mostly to farmland.  It was a fantastic route as I don't get to run in the country much so it was very relaxing.  We made our way through 13 bridges although there were really only 4 that were really significant bridges and the rest were more like road bridges.  Of course, I was not expecting all 13 bridges to be really exciting as that would be impossible with a 13.1 mile route but nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable route.
Near downtown Frankenmuth
Bridge #2
Bridge #3
On several of the bridges, we also ran on dirt roads, which made a nice variation of what we were running on.  It was nice to get off the pavement for parts of it.  We did a loop in one part of the course(you can see it on the map) so that we could run over a steel bridge and then run over it again.  I have to say that it must have been a very tough course to map out so that you hit the bridges and also got in at least 13.1 miles.  Kudos to the race staff for pulling this off.
Brigdge #4 The Gugel Bridge
On the Gugel Bridge
Bridge #5
I love the sign
Bridge #6
Bridge #7
Bridge #8 - Dehmel Black bridge
Bridge #8
Bridge #9 - back again
Bridge #10
Near the finish we came into downtown Frankenmuth and were running on parts of the sidewalks.  This was not a problem given the number of people that raced this but could be an issue if the race were to get several thousand runners.  Some of the turns on the sidewalks were quite tight and could be difficult with lots of people running it.  Overall though for this year, it worked out fine and was not crowded at all.

Sidewalks in town
Bridge #11 - in town
Covered bridge picture taken from Bridge #11 - can't believe I got that while running.
Bridge #12 back again
I must have missed a bridge on one of the roads to make 13 bridges but I assume it was like the other road bridges.

There were plenty of volunteers including the Frankenmuth police on the course directing traffic and runners.  Course support was minimal and really was just the volunteers primarily from the race which did not bother me at all.  I was not expecting a big crowd.

This was one of the most enjoyable courses I have run in a race and made going well worth the extra drive.  I do enjoy sometimes doing smaller races where it's not crazy crowded.

Aid Stations
There were several aid stations on the course but they were spread out much more than normal.  I'm not sure you actually need an aid station every mile but these were sometimes 2 and 3 miles apart.  I was running with a woman that mentioned it a couple times because she needed some water.  Fortunately, I run with a water bottle so if you decide to do this race next year, I suggest carrying one to be prepared.  Perhaps next year there will be more aid stations.

Finish area
The finish area was located right next to where the start area was so essentially we did a big loop on the course.  The race had an announcer that was congratulating people as they crossed the finish line and also was telling people what time had elapsed during the race.  As soon as we finished, there were volunteers there that gave you your medal and asked if you wanted a bottled water.  The volunteers were putting the medals over the necks of people which is a nice touch at the finish.

Past the finish line, the race had a line set up of food including water, gatorade, chocolate milk, apples, bananas, bagels and large pretzels.  The pretzels were a nice change of pace as I've never seen these in a race before.
Finish line food
Volunteers with medals
After the food, you could go back into the pavilion to see what your time was on a chart they had up plus you could also see who won the awesome age group awards.
Results board
AG award ceremony
Amenities
For your race entry, you received a cotton T-shirt, race medal, course support(including police), and finish line food.

I was surprised to see that the race shirt was a cotton shirt as I don't think I've received a cotton shirt in a couple years.  Personally, I was really happy to see a cotton shirt because I have so many tech shirts and it's nice to have a cotton shirt to wear when you're not running.
Shirt - Front
Shirt - back
Shirt - back details
The medal was a nice design but it was quite small and the race could have really capitalized on this more.  With the bridge theme, they could have come up with an unbelievable medal but instead did a fairly basic design with a plain ribbon.  I do understand that the race is for charity so you need to take this into account plus it's the first year of the race.  The age group awards were AWESOME!!!  A really great design and idea and I wish I was fast enough to earn one.
Medal
Medal with Ribbon
Organization
The race had a nice website.  They had a Facebook page to update people on things.  Packet pickup was easy to go through and the volunteers knew what to do.  Volunteers were directing traffic well.  The start line was ok except maybe more signage needed.  The finish line was well organized and easy to come through with plenty of room.  Overall, a well organized race.  Given the same people organize two other races in the area with one being over 40 years, they have learned some things about being organized.

Overall
Would I run the race again?  Yes absolutely!  If you are person that really wants a superb medal and a tech shirt, you might be disappointed but if you want a great course to run, you will want to run this race.  I loved this course and would do it again just because of the course.  The bridges are fun to run over and the countryside is absolutely beautiful this time of year with the changing colors.  Run it just for the course and you will be very happy that you did.
Me at the finish!
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

9 comments:

  1. I don't care that much about the medals, but a good cotton T is always welcome!

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  2. Great race review Jeff! It looks like a great race to run next year :) Can't believe how good your pics turned out on the run. You really captured the event for me and made me feel like I was there.

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  3. Wow, I love all the bridges! I will be adding this to my 2013 race schedule.

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  4. Great run, well done! I love bridges! Wish I could do this race! I love cotton T's and I'm always happy when I receive one. Awesome event!

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  5. Wow what a cool look event and well done!

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  6. What a fun race. Was it hard to run on the bridges? Did they bounce at all?

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  7. Definatly on my to race list next year! Want to do both Frankenmuth races! Love the course layout of this one and your photos were fab!

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