Back Road Half Marathon, Amana, IA. Saturday August 9, 2014. 7:30 am. Sunny 70, humid.
Background: First year for the race, but organized by a group out of Minnesota that isn’t a stranger to races, Meet the Monster Athletics. There wasn’t a race website, but an active.com registration page with race information.
Registration: Available online and on race day. Runners could register for the half marathon $60 or the 5k $40 (race day prices). Included with registration: bib, cotton t-shirt, post race beer & finisher’s medal.
Pre-race: The race starts / finishes at the Millstream Brewery in Amana. There is plenty of parking in lots nearby. There were 3 port-o-potties set up next to the brewery. The race was scheduled to start at 7:30, but organizers waited until everyone in the port-o-pottie line was through, maybe started 5 minutes late. There were some announcements made, but near the back of the pack you couldn’t hear them. No National Anthem.
Race / Course: Race started with the blow of a whistle. Course trekked through the back roads of Iowa County, covering pavement, asphalt, & gravel roads.
- Gravel roads – banking, uneven surfaces, loose rock, softer surface
- 3 major hills on the course – mile 4, mile 6, mile 8-9.
- 4 hydration stops – water & gatorade in clear plastic brewery cups
- No mile markers
- Possibly 5 spectators
- Little to no shade
- No volunteers or law enforcement at intersections, roads were open
- No medical tent or stop – * person was being attended by other runners at mile 12, I had no phone with me to call someone for help, I stopped to ask if I could do anything. Eventually someone came to their aide.
- No pacers
- Course marked with yard signs and green arrows
Post race: The bottom of your bib was taken for results, a medal in a bag was handed to you. There was water, cookies and granola bars, if you were fast you could have gotten a banana. Inside the brewery you could get your beer with the tag on your bib (even if they tore it off, you could still get a beer) Lots of seating to enjoy beer and post race. * I left before awards were handed out.
Overall: Good price for a half (pricey for a 5k) challenging course. Not a bucket list race.
Personal: After reading the above about the course you are probably wondering what I was doing running this? I wanted to prove to myself that I could run a half by signing up for it on the same day, I was also out for redemption, my last half sucked! I also had a $10 coupon that was honored at registration thanks to Running Wild. This race was only about a 45 minute drive from my house, so another reason I chose to run it. Who doesn’t like to pick up some bling in a training cycle?
I ended up finishing the 13.38 course with a time of 2:08, it’s a fair time for the weather. I was really trying to run negative splits, paying attention to my pace, but that hill just before mile 9 killed my pace, and then it started to heat up, so not pushing it was the smart thing to do. It also doesn’t help that I have PF that will not go away (ok maybe I should take a running break)