Finished in 2:03:11(official time); no new PR for the trails
Overall Place: 215/699
Men 45-49: 22/51
Race director, Joe Burns, puts on a fantastic race with the Back to the Beach. I love running this since its on my training grounds and having the familiar setting is really nice. Stony Creek is a jewel in the area. If you have not run this race, make sure you sign up early next year as this one sells out. The mix of asphalt, trails, dirt roads and the path makes for a really unique race.
Registration is done via Active(dot)com. Very simple to use.
The race had three options for packet pickup. You had two times you could pick up early by going to Hansons Running Shop either a week before the race or a day before. You could also pick up the day of the race. I went the week before the race. I forgot my camera so no pics at Hansons. The race had the bib numbers set up and you went into line to give them your number.
The race had a little snafu with some bib numbers with incorrect names but the volunteers, as well as the race director, worked to get them all fixed and all was good. You got in line to pick your glass color and to get your timing chip. The 10k had the chip on the bib but the half marathon had a chip that went on your foot. I still wonder why Hansons does not upgrade to bib chips for all their races but each year I say that at this race. It's literally the only race where chips are on your foot. Nevertheless, the chips work just fine and are accurate.
I got to the race a little early on race day as I had 15 miles on the schedule so I ran a couple miles before the race. The race was all set up when I got there and the parking was filling fast. Easy access to Stony Creek and plenty of parking makes things simple.
The start area is very organized and has plenty of room for all the runners. They had a course map so you could see where the course went. I've run this a couple times, plus I train here, so I knew the course pretty well.
|A place for photos|
|Joe Burns working hard|
|Start line ready|
|Runners in front of me(second wave)|
|Runners behind me|
I really enjoy this course. The variety of the surface is one of the best features of the race. It also gives you an opportunity to really run parts of the course. I went out WAY too fast and it cost me in the last few miles. It didn't help that I ran a couple miles before the race too and the humidity was tough too. My plan was to just run it how I felt so that's what I did.
My Garmin has always run short for this race(2015 - 12.96 miles; 2014 - 12.97 miles; 2012 - 13.02 miles) as does most of the people I know that run with watches. I do keep in mind that we are running through parts of the woods(and we know that Garmin's are not perfect) but I'd like to see the race do a new measurement just to be sure it's correct.
|Map, splits, elevation|
|Rich getting his sub 2|
|Lots of runners!|
|Tons of volunteers|
|Still on the path on the way to the Trolley Trails|
|Back on the path again|
|Heading out of the park - Michele and my shadow(he finished sub 2)|
|Joe keeping us safe|
|Turn onto Dequindre|
|Only mile 4?|
|Heading to dirt|
|Back to a little softer surface|
|Winkler Pond Rd|
|Nice and shady|
|Dirt and shade. Yes!|
|Really nice and quite back here.|
|Open roads but rarely did we see a car|
|Mile 5 on Mead road|
|Some hills here too|
|On Sheldon Rd|
|Back in the sun|
|Port-o-John before the park|
|In my training grounds|
|Feeling at home here|
|Nice cheer group|
|I love this pine area before the hill|
|Biggest hill at mile 8|
|Almost off the trail|
|Great signs all the way|
|A little grass running|
|Back to asphalt - boo|
|Back to the lake loop|
|Near Baypoint Beach|
|Sweat on the camera - sorry|
|Back to asphalt|
|Photo by Han Sudjunadi|
The aid stations were incredible as always. First, there were tons of them - more than I took pictures of. They had water and powerade stations. They had GU stations. They had cheer stations. They had Jello Shot stations! They had cold towel stations. Some of the best aid stations of all the races I've run for a half marathon.
|Aid station after we passed it|
|Volunteers were awesome!|
|Lots of aid stations|
|Jello shot station|
|Hill cheer station/wet towels|
|Mile 9 aid station|
|Power bar station|
There were plenty of people cheering on runners. There were also tons of runners hanging out after the race. It's nice when it's warm out and you don't just eat and leave right away. I saw lots of people that I knew which makes this even more fun.
As you finished, a volunteer was there to give you water, then your medal and then people cutting off the timing chips since they were reusable.
|Video and pictures|
|Lots of food|
For your race entry fee of $54.63($50 race entry plus online fee), you received a fully supported, and police protected, semi-closed measured course. You also received a race glass(half marathon only). You received a bag with your packet as well as a race sticker. You received an awesome medal and the race did a great job again on them with a new design as a surfboard and a spinning sun.
|Tech shirt front|
|Tech shirt back|
|Race glass and sticker|
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal close up|
The organization is great for this race. They have their own website, like many races do now. They send out reminder emails. The website answers all your questions. The start/finish area is well planned and in a perfect location. The volunteers all knew what to do and did a great job. The course was well marked and a great course to run. Results were online when I checked after the race. A truly outstanding job.
Overall, this is one on my top half marathons that I like to run. Even with an early start, it's nice because it's only 15 minutes from my home. Joe puts together an outstanding race with a great course with lots of variety in it. It's not just a trail race. It's not just a road race. This combination is what makes it so unique. It's a one of a kind. The beach theme is fun and it's a very popular race even with a harder course than many half marathons. I know I'll run this again in the future as this was my third time running it. It's highly recommended. If you have not run it before, you need too. Those that have run it know to sign up early.
|Rich, me, Kevin and Ben|
Disclosure: I paid for this race entry with my own funds. All opinions are my own.