Finished in 1:53:40(official time); no new PR
Overall place: 78/594
Overall men's place: 47/167
Race #78 and half #29
This was a new half marathon put on by Running Fit Events. A well organized race at a great venue. The vineyard was a great place for a race and the hills in the area were challenging. It's a little far, at least for me, to get to this one but I was happy I ran it. Overall it's a good race to put on your list for next year.
Registration was very simple as it always is with Running Fit Events. All you do is go to their website and register. I like that Running Fit Events makes a website for each race they organize. All information is clearly laid out on the website and the staff is responsive if needed. I registered for the Thirsty Three series and this was race #2 of the series, the other being Hightail to Ale in May and The Scrumpy Skedaddle in October. A great value if you signed up for all three races at the first offering. The communication prior to the race was excellent with numerous emails with detailed information.
The race offered packet pickup both the day before and race morning as all races should do. Since I'm over 1.5 hours from Jackson, I opted for race morning packet pickup. My day started with a 3:55am wake up. I planned to carpool with Amber who I met thought SEMR(South East Michigan Runners) Facebook page and picked her up at 5am to get over there timely. I'm always an early guy but when we got there, there was already plenty of people pulling in to park.
You can see below how many runners were already there and we arrived around 6:15am. We parked in a field that was right next to the vineyard. I'm happy they didn't get the rain we had earlier in the week as this could have been a mess but it worked out well being next to the start area.
|Parking next to the start area and the vineyard|
|Sandhill Crane Vineyards - Jackson, MI|
With about 40 minutes before race time, we got in line for the bathrooms. The race had plenty of port-o-johns for the runners although there was quite a line for the 5k'ers. The race even had wash stations outside of the bathrooms which you rarely see. Yeah, I know, who takes pictures of Port-o-Johns? Haha!
|Plenty of Port-o-Johns|
|People in front of me at Start|
|People behind me at Start|
My goal for this was to run this as a training run. I did not do that. I changed it to a sub 2 hour goal as we started but ended up pushing harder than I should have given I have a full marathon in a week. It was a dumb mistake on my part but I enjoyed running the race hard. It was quite hilly and a challenge but a wonderful course. I was really happy we had a lot of the course on dirt roads and they were in good shape.
As you can see from my Garmin, it registered almost 600 ft of elevation gain. Yes there were lots of rolling hills but nothing that would kill you.
|Course Map per Garmin|
|Elevation per Garmin|
|Splits per Garmin|
|A little bit of road to start|
|Onto the dirt - so nice!|
|Country Roads - awesome to run!|
|Great barn - sorry it's blurry|
|Starting to thin out|
|A nice area to run|
We continued along the dirt roads. vYou can see how great of shape these were in with no potholes to deal with.
|Much of the course was on dirt roads|
|Lots of volunteers|
|Great road next to a field|
|Many shaded areas|
|Lots of Hills!|
|Perfect day to run|
|More course marshals|
|Runners going both ways in small out and back|
|Lead runners coming|
|The turnaround on the out and back|
|My buddy, Dan from work and his friend, Sarah waiving|
|More police support|
|Course marshals and back to road|
|A hilly road section|
|Yea - back to dirt!|
|Amber kicking my butt on the downhills|
The area had some beautiful fields. We were also close to the Waterloo recreation area and I can see why people love to run in this area. I must get back to run the trails in the area at some point in the future.
|Yes, it was hilly|
|Amber still ahead!|
|Who wants an ice cream?|
|Back to road to the finish|
|Great motivation and a tough hill near the finish|
|Great vineyard property|
I didn't get many good pictures of the aid stations. The race had plenty of them. The volunteers were awesome and cheering on the runners. They were well stocked with water and Gatorade and there was also a station with GU around mile 8. While I carry a water bottle, there was no need to run with anything.
|Great aid stations|
|Plenty of volunteers|
As you finished the race, volunteers were stationed to give you a water bottle and your finishers medal.
|Water after the race|
|Bananas and pretzels|
|An area to cool off|
|Wine glasses for finishers|
|Lots of tents with different food|
|Some great chips|
|This Hummus is awesome!|
We also checked out all the wine on the inside and there were tons of runners buying bottles of wine. The wine was very reasonably priced if you like wine. While I didn't try it, Amber said it was good.
The results were not posted at the finish, at least that we could find, but a volunteer giving out AG awards told us our results. You could also use the QR code on your bib to get your results.
|Lots of purchases|
|Many people getting bottles of wine|
For your race entry, you received a chip timed, measured course that was well marked and supported with aid stations. The bib had a QR code so you could check results after the race. You received a customary race button as Running Fit does with all their races. In addition, you received a Brooks Podium tech race shirt that was either a men's or women's cut. I love the Brooks shirts and they should offer these at every race. They wear well and, while I'm not a huge fan of white, this one will get worn regularly in training. The women's cut sure looked small so not sure how they ended up fitting. Considering there were more women running than men, hopefully they fit.
|QR code on the bib|
|Another great Running Fit button|
|Front of Brooks tech shirt|
|Back of shirt|
|Finishers wine glass|
|Wine topper medal with custom ribbon|
The organization for the race was fantastic. The website had all information you needed. The race sent out several emails to runners with additional information. The start and finish areas were well planned. The course was a good design. The race was well supported with police and volunteers. The only thing we could not find was results hanging up at the finish but we did see the 5k results. We were able to get results on our phone and a volunteer helped look up our times. After the race sold out, there were no transfer allowed. I can understand why the race does not want to do that but feel it should be an option for a fee.
Overall, it's a race I would run again. Yes, it's a bit far for me to run but worth the drive for a half marathon. I enjoyed the course and the challenge. Running Fit does a great job organizing races. This was a great theme race with the vineyard and wine. I love the Thirsty Three series so far of the two races I've done and it makes me look forward to the last race in the series. Given the last race is a 10k a week before my 50k, I vow to run that race as a training run. Seriously! If you missed the race this year, I think it's one to put on your schedule for next year especially if you like wine.
Disclosure: I paid for this entry with my own funds. All opinions are my own.