Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wrightsville Beach Marathon thoughts on the race

Thinking back to my marathon weekend, the guys organizing the marathon did a pretty fair job in my assessment. The expo was small but well organized. There was a single instance point and exit point. There were a number of venders along the way. Packet pick up started by identifying my race number and then finding the right table to pick up my bib and shirt. The concept of holding it outside in an enclosed tent seemed to work reasonably well.

They provided a course overview talk on both Friday and Saturday. I attended the Saturday session. Basically, it was the same as what I had read online. With the one exception, we had an opportunity to ask questions.

The race starts over near the beach in a park. The distance between the start and the finish is probably 2 to 3 miles. I was staying near the finish so I opted for the very short bus ride over to the start.

While 57 degrees isn't extremely cold, it isn't exactly warm to setting out side in the dark. There were no seats but plenty of open ground.

They did have plenty of porta jons.

With the bridge construction, they started runners in waves with some of the slower runners starting off first. They needed to get the bridge cleared by 9:30 of all runners.

They started the first wave some 20 minutes ahead of us. The system seemed to work pretty well. We passed a lot of people but there was plenty of room on the course.

For the course, the open section had a good number of people watching. There were tons of people around the Mayfield area. There was a lesser number near the bridges and on the beach side of the course. Probably the loneliest part of the course was through Land Fall. Here I was pretty much alone except for the occasional course worker. The race organizers had told us that Land Fall was a closed community so there was no setting up in side of it or biking through it.

I do need to give the course workers a "thumbs up". They were always cheerful even if I wasn't feeling all that chipper.

There were numerous water stops along the course. I remember seeing a Duke and an NC State attired water stops.

The course makes three passes by MayField before I made the left turn in for the finish. I actually kind of liked it because this is where most of the people located.

In order to determine how to direct me for the final turns, I had to pick up this wrist band between 19 and 20 miles. I had never done this before so I was a little worried about how it would go.

My worries were all for nothing. I was handed a "yellow" wrist band and slipped it on my wrist with no trouble at all. In fact, the wrist band came in handy to wipe the sweat from my eyes.

Before I forget, yes, they did have a bag drop at the start. I put my name on my bag and handed it over. The hardest part was finding it at the finish. They laid the bags out in an area beside the tent. It was a little like looking for a specific needle among a huge group of needles, but I did find my bag.

The results were posted right on time as advertised and the awards went off likewise.

I can only assume there was ample parking at the start. I do know there was plenty of parking at the finish.

Overall, I give these guys at Wrightsville Beach an "A" for their efforts. I would certainly considering it do it again.

The drive from Charlotte was about 4ish hours but once I got past Wadesboro, the speed limit ranges from 55 to 70 all the way to Wrightsville Beach.

Definitely this is one of the better places to visit for running in my opinion.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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