Race Report: Sentara Colonial Half Marathon
The College of William and Mary’s Track and Field program and Sentara Medical partnered to host the 37th annual 5k and half marathon races. All of the events took place on the college campus and the weather was picture perfect; not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the upper 60’s.
The half marathon was a last minute addition to the race calendar. I had a choice of doing this half marathon or run 26 miles – final long run before One City Marathon – with Eric, my running partner. This was a no brainer! As you can tell we ran the half. The race clock started on Sunday at high-noon, which made planning a bit difficult. Generally most running events, I have attended, start early in the morning. Nonetheless, I planned the day like any other…just pushing food and hydration out a couple hours.
The expo was held in the William & Mary Hall, a multi-purpose arena that hosts collegiate events. Lucky for us we arrived early enough to secure a parking spot close to the expo and finish line. The expo had a couple local vendors – local running club, local running store, and a representative from Sticks (Mediterranean Cuisines). So it did not take much time to go through the expo. I did however buy a really cheap sweatshirt for my next marathon…could not pass up a toss away layer for $5. It will be repurposed once I cross the start line at One City Marathon.
Off to the starting line!
It was a short journey from the expo to the 5k & half marathon start line. Good thing because the bathrooms at the arena were extremely limited – one deep. I am the kind of person to visit a porta john and then hop back in line to go again. The starting area had plenty of fresh porta johns awaiting us (okay me). The area around the starting line was a great place to hang out. We were able to gather in a large field surrounded by several of William & Mary’s historical buildings. This area made it easy to talk to other runners and meet up with fellow Strava friends. After a quick meet and greet it was off to stretch the legs a bit around the field.
The start time is approaching
A Fife and Drum procession left the arena and marched to the start line. Upon arrival they paused for the National Anthem. Then the call came out for the runners to line up, and we were off once the black powder rifles fired. The Fife and Drum played as all the runners left the area.
When I signed up for this event, I knew the route was an out and back with a loop at the halfway point. However, I did not realize we had to run HILLS too. We left start line and traveled through the local neighborhood until we crossed over a bridge and onto a paved trail – most of the course was on this trail. Here, I wished I had worn my shoe gaiters – the trail was cover with small sticks, leaves, rocks, and such. One of those small rocks decided to tag along in my shoe at about mile two. Lucky for me, he did not spend too much time at the back of my shoe – it worked its way up to my toes where there was more room. This trail was lined with trees throughout, which was nice because this was turning out to be a hot day. The hills definitely challenged each runner’s true strength throughout the entire course.
Aid/water stations…could have been more abundant on the final leg of the course. I am thankful I kept my gum from the start as I was feeling parched towards the end. As we left the trail, and entered the neighborhood again, I found those providing directions were losing sight of their objective. Three times, I had to swing wide because the course was not mark with a cone or sign, but a person half-heartedly pointing the way. At one point our path was filled with other pedestrians, so I was not sure I was even going the right way, which felt unnerving. Once I saw the Hall again, I knew I was close to the finish. The final part of the course consisted of several sharp turns (on the sidewalk) to short climb to the arena (basketball court) where the finish line awaited me. As I crossed, I could see my wife waiting my arrival – absolutely the best part of the race!
Overall, this race was okay. I am not sure I would do it again, but for a last minute entry the price was fair, only $60. The cost did not matter as it supported the track and field teams.
Postrace meal was at Sticks – it was close by and they offered a BOGO free coupon…win win!
Crossed the finish line at 1:39 with a pace of 7:35.
Total Runners: 74 of 713
Males: 62 of 376
Age group (35-39): 8 of 44