“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Saturday April 2, 2016 at 7:30 am, windy, sunny, 30 degree day in Springfield, IL.
I was excited to be running a Bibrave race so close to home, this was only a 3 hour 20 some minute drive for me, wahoo!!! Ha, yes, 3 hours is close…
Registration: Available online and closed about a week before the race. Price increased as race day neared. You could also register at the expo for only $60 (no shirt). Included in registration: unisex short sleeved white tech shirt, chip timing on bib, finisher’s medal, printed results sheet, admission to the Lincoln Museum, and post race food & “real” beer.
*a half marathon for $60 max*
The race also sent about 3 emails the week of the race from Abe; highlighting the important things, expo, visiting Springfield, etc. Perfect amount of race communication, some races can send too much email.
Expo: The expo and packet pick up was held at a hotel in downtown Springfield, the evening before the race. You could also grab your bib the morning of the race, up to 15 mins before it started. Someone else could get your packet for you, providing your license. Parking was available in a nearby ramp, or on the streets, meters free after 5. The expo was small, there were shirts for sale for $1, the Rolling Meadows Brewery had samples (beer served post race), a running store had some items for sale, information on the pacers, and there were a few other organizations with tables.
The expo was small, and I was picking up a total of 4 bibs, the volunteers giving out packets were very friendly and laid back, no hassles. I also met up with Pro, Frank for the first time at the expo.
It was then time to find some food, I asked on twitter for a good place to grab some dinner. Joel (you may remember him from other running adventures) suggested I go to Gallina’s. I walked in and wasn’t sure of the process, but it was laid back and I just needed to place an order at the counter. I ordered noodles with garlic & olive oil and a side of garlic knots. I didn’t know, until it was served, but an additional side of bread came with the food.
Ok, I know you are thinking, it’s just a half marathon, that is a lot of carbs. Well in fact it was, and there was a lot of garlic, however being away from home, eating this bland food, keeps all the guesswork out of race day.
I met up with Bibrave’s Community Manager, Julia (& Dylan) to hand off their packets, then waited for fellow pro, Christine to arrive (remember from One City) I had time to lay out all the things I would need to run.
Pre race: Participants began to gather near the start. Abe and Mary were milling about, and available for pictures. There were port-a-potties lined up. If you didn’t stay in town, there were many parking options on the street or in ramps. There was no gear check. The race started after some words from the announcer and a speech from Abe, followed by muskets firing. No National Anthem. There was no starting arch, just a timing mat to cross.
I really didn’t know what to wear, as there was no gear check, and the hotel was a couple blocks away. If you are super fast, it would be easy to grab your warm clothes or take a shower and make it back for the post race festivities. If you are slower, it be great to grab your things at a gear check so you have time to still hang at the post race fun. Ok enough about no gear check, not a huge deal…but something to consider. Also you could just park on the street and keep your things in your car.
I woke early to stop at the coffee shop across the street. I was early, but I was the second in line, as everyone else had the same idea. I forgot to plan ahead for breakfast, and the Sbux didn’t have their pastries ready, so I grabbed a Kind bar.
I was able to meet all the pros (Julia, Frank, Dylan, Christine and Cass) before the race, and take a great picture with Abe. By the way the Abe and Mary Todd impersonators were awesome! Their speech and body language were spot on! (It was really cold and windy)
Race/Course: The race takes you through the city of Springfield, passing all the things to see. Starting and finishing at the Old State Capital, by Lincoln’s house, the current Capital, and his tomb.
-Terrain – there were many surfaces. Paved with potholes (but after winter in the midwest, it’s expected) gravel trace, bricked roads.
– Elevation – The first 6 miles were flat, the last half were hilly, running through the park and the cemetery. Nothing too steep, but they were rolling
-Scenery – residential neighborhoods, parks, historical buildings, businesses, cemetery
-Photographers – many on course, pictures available for purchase a day after the race
-Spectators – the course wasn’t lined, but all the people that were out and about were loud and enthusiastic. Abe was in front of his house giving high fives.
-Aid Stations – there were 6 hydration stops with water & Gatorade, in different colored paper cups. one stop had gel. no food on course
-Volunteers – on the course at all intersections, and the busy intersections had law enforcement officials. There were volunteers everywhere, very friendly
-Mile markers at every mile, marked with a flag.
-Pacers – starting from 1:45 (I think and for every 5 minutes after) LOTS of pacers!
My Race:I hadn’t raced a half marathon since the NYE half in California, so I was ready to tackle the distance. I also hadn’t been specifically training for this distance either. However, I feel at some point when you run all the races, you learn what you are capable of. I started just behind the 2:10 pacer, which was being very optimistic, and I was able to stick right behind them for the majority of the race. The second half of the course had some hills and my lack of a decent breakfast (or what I like to eat) caught up with me in the last mile, I really felt light headed. However the cheering crowds at the finish pulled me through to finish with a time of 2:09:59.
Scenes from the course–
My hair…looks excellent in a visor!
Finish: There was no arch to mark the finish, but you could hear and see the crowd increasing as you neared the finish. Once across the finish, a volunteer placed a shiny penny medal around your neck, another handed out a bottle of water. There was a table of Gatorade as well. Runners had mylar blankets.
When I finished, I found it super crowded and hard to navigate, everyone was bottle necked. I was looking for someone handing out mylar blankets and wasn’t sure where they were, it was cold. I never found one. I did make sure to grab some Gatorade immediately, so I wouldn’t pass out with the weird light headed feeling, and dang it was very grape. After I got through the area, I found it less crowded in the post race area.
Post Race: The post race was a great party, it was held on the lawn at the Old State Capital. The folk band “The Blue Gs” were performing. There was a tent with the post race food of oranges, bananas, Kashi bars, Krispy Kreme donuts, chocolate milk and kegs of Rolling Meadow beers. (they never checked ID’s, or limited how many you could have) Abe was available for post race pictures. There were some re-enactors and 1840’s demonstrations. A tent was also set up to get a print out of your race results. Awards were announced when everyone had finished, AG winners received posters.
I have blogged before about how sometimes it’s not the race itself, but the people you hang out with surrounding the weekend’s festivities. The post race to this event is no exception. The Bibrave gang met up to enjoy the beer and donuts and take some silly jump pictures. The best part of this race….no limit on keg beer…of course we all drank responsibly.
Thanks to Cass for the above pictures—
Overall: This is a great race, organized well, great price, “fair” course.
After the race events, I collected my things from the hotel and took advantage of the Lincoln Museum admission. I played tourist for the afternoon. Capping off the trip with the $5 runner’s meal at the Alamo…where Abe was in plain clothes hanging out too.
Thanks Bibrave and Springfield for a great weekend