Shorts or leggings?
I asked for help deciding on my race outfit on race day morning, unsure of what to wear in the cool yet humid weather. 99% humidity according to my Iphone.
Thankfully my Instagram followers are slightly more used to running in humidity than I am and it was a resounding win for shorts.
I was invited out by the Savannah Sports Council, Savannah Tourist Board and the race organisers to take part in the Publix Women’s Half Marathon race (there’s also a 5K). Coming two weeks after the LA Marathon, it was the perfect step back in marathon training in the build up to the Edinburgh Half.
The race itself starts in Forsyth Park and loops out around the city, to the baseball field and back to the park.
My plan for the race was to take it easy and just get the miles in – with 14 on my training schedule, I jogged the short distance to the race start from my hotel. However, that didn’t give me a lot of time to use the porta-loos and make it to the right starting point in the corrals, and so I felt like I was dodging and weaving a lot in the first few miles.
When I saw the 2hr pace group at around mile 3, I decided to hop in with them to avoid going too fast and succumbing to the humidity (or the post marathon legs!). Aside from the pacing, I also got to chat with the pacer who was running Boston the following weekend and had lived/run in Savannah for years. He gave me and others a bit of a tour on the run!
I loved the uniquely ‘Savannah’ people they’d positioned around the course, such as Forrest Gump sitting in that infamous square, waiting for the bus.
With humidity levels soaring, and my post UK winter body not acclimatised at all, I made the decision to walk through every water stop and take on extra fuel. And it worked perfectly, I didn’t feel like I overdid it or ever felt too hot/thirsty. They apparently had added extra water stops when the temps were looking high, and I certainly appreciated that (along with the enthusiasm of the volunteers handing out water and Gatorade).
The race is flat, so if you’re used to running in those temps, would be a great PB/PR course (the winners came in 1.23!). But the thing I loved most was that it was really geared to all paces, from the very fastest to the walkers. They want everyone to feel welcome out there, to complete the race and earn the medal. And the medal was awesome!
Another thing I loved about this race, aside from the course…free race photos! Why don’t more races do this?
I finished the race in 1.56.55 and rounded out my miles with a jog back to the hotel before brunch.
I’ve got a whole blog post planned to share the other activities, meals and drinks from the weekend because it’s too good not to.
Race Day FAQ:
Packet pickup – at a cute expo at Kehoe Iron Works – there was free wine, yoga sessions, cute race gear and local companies exhibiting. It was actually one of the nicest (and most calm!) race expos I’ve been to.
Bag drop – I didn’t use a bag drop, and actually didn’t see one – however I have been informed that there was one in the park! I find that a lot of US races expect everyone to drive and therefore not need to leave things at the start.
Aid Stations – there were water stations every 3ish miles with cups of water and Gatorade, plus Clif gels around mile 10.
Loos/Bathrooms – There were plenty of loos at the start (as long as you get there early enough!) as well as loos on the course too.
Cut off time – 4 hours for the half marathon, 1 hour for the 5K
How much is entry? Half Marathon is $60 until end of May 2019 and up to $120 if you enter at the expo. 5K is $30 until the end of May, up to $50 at the expo.
Post-Race – this is one of the best post-race parties I’ve been to, with 26.2 beer, Mimosas, food stands and live music to help you celebrate your achievement. Plus they host free yoga in the park the following day to help you stretch out your legs!
Is it just for women? – Yes it’s targeted at women, however there were a fair number of men running (including our pacer). Men are not allowed to win any of the prizes but are welcome to sign up!