Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jamestown Half Marathon Recap

The 2013 Jamestown Half Marathon in Rhode Island was the second year the race took place. Overall, the experience can be divided in half - from before the starting gun went off and after the race began.

Before the race began, the Jamestown Half is one of the most poorly planned races I've ever been a part of. With over 2,000 registered runners, there was only one person handing out bib numbers. This resulted in a very long number pick-up line. Additionally, there weren't enough buses bringing runners to the start of the race (everyone must park in Newport and get a ride to Jamestown). The result: The race began about 25 minutes late. It's pretty shocking the race organizers couldn't pull this together better, considering the main sponsor (United Healthcare) also sponsors full and half marathons in Providence and Newport, which are much better organized. On top of it all, the race begins at 6:30am, so it's pretty bad to have something this disorganized so early in the morning.

Once the starting gun went off, the experience drastically changed. The course, which does a full circle of the island, is beautiful from start to finish. There are views of quant homes, beaches, ponds, fields and trees. While there's not a lot of people watching, the people that do attend the race are vocal and supportive. The course has a good mix of flat, uphill and downhill, making it challenging but fast at the same time. Even though there were double the amount of runners as last year, the race was still pretty spread out (for me at least) - after about four to five miles, I couldn't see another runner in either direction.

I've done this race two years now and I'm unsure if I'll return for a third. However, considering the lack of July marathons on New England, this is a very good option.