LOCATION: East Providence, RI
DATE: Sunday, July 19, 2015
LENGTH: 13.1 miles
RUNIT RATING: One sweaty thumb up!
This past Sunday, I woke up at the crack of dawn to make my way to packet pickup for my 7AM half marathon. I am not complaining! With high temps in the 90s that day and humidity levels that seemed off the charts, it was more than worth it to sacrifice a little extra sleep for an early start time. My car thermometer said it was 73 degrees at 6:30 AM, and I kept wondering how I was going to keep myself from melting.
The event was organized well, and I had no trouble finding Mercer Stadium where the race course started and finished. Parking was a bit of an issue as all of the lots were full when I arrived but there seemed to be plenty of nearby street parking and attendants were available on the streets to guide you in the right direction.
There were bathrooms accessible to runners with flushable toilets (yay!) which was a nice change. However, the race start was briefly delayed due to long bathroom lines in order to make sure everyone had enough time to take care of business before the gun went off.
The first 5 or so miles were road miles and the streets were open to traffic. I didn’t feel unsafe, but this was my least favorite part of the course.
At about Mile 6, I found myself running through a quaint New England bayside neighborhood. The streets were lined with charming capes, and I was able to enjoy the scenery which helped me forget how HOT it was! After that, we made our way through a second neighborhood with newer construction homes and while it didn’t have the same charm and character as the first neighborhood, at least a few homeowners had their sprinklers on and I thoroughly enjoyed running through the cool mist. Whether it was intentional to help cool the runners or they were just watering their lawns, it was much appreciated.
This was an out and back route and the course turned back toward Mercer Stadium at this point along the bike path with serene river views most of the way back.
The sun was out now and the temps were climbing. The last mile or so of the race was back on the roads surrounding the stadium, and there was some elevation gain which made things interesting! The finish line was on the track inside the stadium, and I don’t know if it was the heat or just tired legs but that last .1 mile was tough for me.
This wasn’t my easiest half but the humid, hot weather was likely the biggest factor. There was a fair amount of crowd support in the viewing areas and at the finish and several bands were playing along the course to keep runners’ morale up. There were plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade being served by friendly volunteers who reminded runners to stay hydrated. There was also GU available at one station.
I wasn’t able to stick around to attend the after-party, but I did enjoy some post-race pizza and chocolate milk. I added a shiny new medal and technical tee to my race swag collection and accomplished a long marathon training run on a hot summer day in good company with about 900 other runners.
All in all, it was a great race put on by Run Rhody!
Runit tip: Be sure to register early for a significant entry fee discount!
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