A Very Promising Race Worth a Look (about: 2013)|
A. H. from Thomasville, NC (10/27/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Greensboro Marathon
Disclaimer- I do not consider personal performance or weather in any way. These things are beyond the control of any event organizers.
This was the first year of this race, filling a void in the Triad area. Since the NC Marathon folded a few years back, it was good to see the return of a proper road race. This one was better than any previous offerings.
Course: Point to point is great. Not only because of the concept, but it avoids a pitfall of many marathons- you don't get an overcrowded start overpopulated with half marathoners and hordes of people with no concept of pace. Also, you don't get teased by a finish line half way, or get a crappy route for the second half. It also lightens the load on parking when runners have multiple options/destinations. In conclusion- please keep this a point to point race. The course was rolling countryside (some may go so far as to call it hilly) with a start on a college campus, a run through an old-fashioned small downtown, and a finish in a good-sized city downtown (the very heart of it). In between this were miles of lovely country road, many horse pastures, and lots of woods that make the world your bathroom if needed. Roads were wide and accommodating with no bottlenecks. Many had some pretty steep slopes to them, but the beauty of paying for a race is that you can run on either side or in the middle without concern.
Organization/Execution- Race day buses were very nice coaches, comfy, roomy, heated, and with toilets. Plenty were offered. Parking near the finish was a breeze. There were a lot of pacers from I think 3:05 up through 4:00 or more. A special thank you to the gas station near the start that allowed us to warm up inside before the start. Water was every 2-2.5 miles (perfectly adequate) with Gatorade available at each and many GU offerings throughout. Police/Sheriffs did a phenomenal and friendly job of maintaining a 26 mile long course. There was some traffic, limited to one way, but I never felt annoyed by it. Mile markers were FANTASTIC- they used large bright stickers on the road every mile with banners every 5- I didn't miss a single mile. Course directions were also flawless. Port-a-Johns may have been a bit thin, but as a male having all those woods pretty much resolved that. Suggestion- get a few boxes on the course from Goodwill or Salvation Army to encourage runners to discard gloves/jackets/etc. in them instead of along the road. Volunteers were friendly and abundant. Supporters were scattered, as to be expected on a rural p2p, but were there and very cheerful. A few people expressed thanks for participating which is very much appreciated (only 309 ran the full). The finish was smooth, water and a race logo finishers towel were given. There was food but I didn't check it out.
Expo/Freebies-I don't care about expos. I get my bib and get out, which I was able to do very quickly. This does, however, bring me to my only real complaint- the medal and shirt. The medal is very nice indeed, but the half medal was over twice the size- I just don't get it. Worse than that, my shirt (a nice long sleeve tech shirt in an unfortunate color combination) has in huge letters down BOTH sleeves Greensboro Half Marathon and a Greensboro Marathon logo on the chest. I asked, and it is the marathon specific shirt, but this had to have been some sort of mistake, or I at least hope it was since I can't understand why anyone was deliberately design it like that. Another small issue- the bib used a large flat adhesive timing tag that was really heavy for a bib. As for the freebies in the bag- a few ads and coupons.
I really enjoyed this race and for the most part it exceeded my expectations. Hopefully it continues in the same form for years to come and develops a larger and more competitive field. Perhaps a Winston-Salem to Greensboro idea could even be considered.