Wednesday, April 3, 2013
It only took 17 years, but they finally put a half marathon in my own backyard.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the city of Coral Springs, the planning committee decided to add a half marathon to the list of events taking place. Each year, the city sponsors a 5K race to promote and raise money for breast cancer and women’s wellness. Since I am such a big proponent of supporting local races, I was all in with this. The fact that the race was starting approximately three miles from my house didn’t hurt either! Prior to this race, the closest marathon or half marathon I’ve ever participated in was in the city of Weston, which is about 20 minutes away. It seems most longer races take place in big cities, as opposed to the suburbs. I quickly contacted my personal running community and invited them to come down and run on my home turf. I was disappointed that Elaine was the only taker, but was really looking forward to her coming down and staying with us.
My only concern for this race was the price. The early entry fee was $70, which is pretty steep for a local race. $45 is more typical, but the low budget race shirts and medals usually reflect the inexpensive price. Since this was the inaugural running of this event, there was no telling what the shirts or medals would look like. If the quality didn’t reflect the steep price, it could affect participation for the next year. About a month or so before the race, they posted a picture of the medal and the race logo on Facebook. This gave me the confidence that they might actually know what they were doing.
Elaine came down on Friday afternoon, as the race would be taking place on Saturday. This was Easter weekend, and she would be heading back right after the race. We made our way over to the expo, which took place at the Coral Springs Sportsplex. There were only a few vendors, but Elaine and I were able to get a pretty decent massage by a chiropractor looking to promote his practice. The race shirts were not bad at all, but could have been a better quality brand. Based on my experience in running local races, and by the attendance we saw at the expo, my best guess was that there would be less than 250 participants in the half marathon.
The start time for this race was 6am, which was a little on the early side. We left my house at 5:15, and were there in less than ten minutes. I was surprised to see so many cars in the parking lot, but I figured that many of the runners doing the 5K later that morning decided to get an early jump on the festivities. As we got out of the car, I immediately saw my longtime friend Doug. The two of us shared an office “back in the day” when we worked for Continental Cablevision. Doug had recently taken up running, and this would be his first half marathon. As we made our way to the starting line, it was obvious that I underestimated the number of entrants in this event. To my surprise and delight, there would be 532 runners!
It seemed a little weird that the course took place on many of the streets that I use for my training. It was kind of cool to be running right in the middle of University Drive, and not on the sidewalk. Since it is South Florida, the course itself was very flat; maybe a good day to PR this bad boy. The event coordinators did a great job in making sure there were water and Gatorade stations every mile, and the police were out in full force taking care of traffic. Elaine and I were keeping up a strong pace, with only one bathroom break the whole time. The coolest thing for me about this race was that the course took us right past my house, right around mile marker ten. Both Glenda and Rachel were there with sign in hand to show their support as we passed by. It was a natural adrenaline rush, as we made a final push towards the finish line.
My finishing time was not a PR, but I always seem to run strong when I run with Elaine. She is much faster than me, so I know I can’t slack when I’m running along side of her. There was more than enough food and drink after the race, and I would absolutely enter this race again.
The question is…does the City of Coral Springs want to put this race on again?
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON