NOTE: This has been sitting, complete, here in draft form for ages. I’ve just been busy NOT logging on to Word Press. Nothing like an exciting race recap almost FOUR months later.
A brief intro for my second list (you might recall I had a Pittsburgh Half Marathon list a really, really long time ago). My Pittsburgh race buddy, Jill, decided that she wanted to do a second half marathon before the middle of June. She found the Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon in Morgantown, West Virginia. And since her husband had to work that Saturday, she invited ME to go along with her! My race time was not the best – 2:25 (I did a lousy training job the two weeks prior), but in all other respects, this was an awesome race – we can’t wait to go back next year. So here’s why:
Thirteen Things I Loved about the Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon:
- I got to go to a race with Jill again – Well, I started out with her, but then fell behind few a few reasons. One was that I had trouble with my ear buds at mile four. There was no way I was running without music for nine more miles, so I had a little stop. Nevertheless, it was super fun to hit the road again with Jill early in the morning and have a fun race day.
- Easy to get to – The race was easy to travel to, and parking wasn’t an issue. It was also very well organized, so the pre-race routine was not at all stressful.
- Literally all downhill – We got bused to the start, then ran a straight shot down the trail to the finish, near where we were parked. I did the math, and we were running – on average – a decline of 1 to 1.25%.
- Not crowded, yet enough people to know it was a race – Because it was a straight shot (and not out and back), the trail wasn’t crowded. But there were enough people that I was always running with a handful of people.
- Plenty of water stops – I think there were seven water/electrolyte stops along the course. It was more than enough, and they were staffed with:
- Fabulous volunteers – Most races I’ve done have included friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. But this bunch exceeded expectations. They had fun, encouraging things to say beyond the typical, “You’re almost there!” (Liars!) and “You’re doing great!”
- Free gels – There were boxes and boxes of free gels in a handful of flavors. One of us, used this as an opportunity to stock up.
- BEAUTIFUL scenery – The trail was gorgeous. For my local friends, it was as if the drive to Ligonier was a trail and not uphill. The water, the huge rocks, the canopy of trees (Hello, shade!). I would have liked to stop a bunch of times to take pictures, but I just got this one of some BFRs (big, fat rocks):
- There was a banjo – Do I need to say more? The guy on the race committee who thanked us as we got on the bus to the start, set up to play the banjo to entertain us, somewhere around mile 7 or 8. (I did mention this was in Morgantown, WV, no?)
- Thinking “Oh, I only have to do this for about another hour” – And smiling to think that I used to struggle to keep it up for a single minute.
- They called out your name as you crossed the finish – I guess the timing system told the DJ who was about to cross the line. He did call me “Melissa Leeman,” but it was cool all the same.
- Crazy food at the end – There was TONS of REAL food at the finish. Pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vegetarian wraps, pulled pork sandwiches or sliders, dozens of desserts, etc. The best part was that the super volunteers were bringing us everything that they could carry over (e.g., pizza and Gatorade) to feed us while we were in line for the food. I had two pieces of pizza before I even got to the buffett.
- Appropriate race “bling” – This race didn’t have medals, but we got a cotton t-shirt that I love and wear all the time. (It’s not white and it’s really soft.) And our goodie bags included this little, stamped disk with the race details on it. I tied it on a ribbon I bought for $3 at Walmart and added it to my medal display. It made me happy.
I loved this race so much that I’ve been telling everyone I know about it. I’m hoping we take a busload – literally – of people to it next year.