Disclaimer: As a BibRave Pro I received a complimentary race entry to the Novant Health Charlotte Half Marathon. As always, all opinions are my own! Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out a BibRave to review find and write race reviews!”
Happy Tuesday! Welcome to another edition of Tuesday Topics. This week’s topic – what are your Winter weather running tips? You can write about this, or any other running related topic. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post!
Before getting started, Zenaida want to thank everyone for linking up with us week after week. It’s always hard to know if a link-up will be successful and I’m glad that this one connects me to many awesome bloggers. We always love reading your posts so keep them coming!
I’m going off topic today to bring you my Novant Health Charlotte Marathon (Half Marathon) race recap!
This race series offers a 1 mile kids race, 5K, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay – basically something for everyone!
Each year the race donates money to the Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. The funds helps support patient programming items and supplies to help make the hospital feel a little more like home to the children staying there. This year’s race raised almost $38,000 for the hospital!
I went to the Expo around 3:00 p.m. on Friday. It was held in the Charlotte Convention Center. It was small, but very efficient. I went to the back of the Expo to get my bib and didn’t have to wait in line at all. What I loved about this experience is that I picked up the bib and then my race shirt was handed to me in a bag. I didn’t have to go searching for the race shirt after getting my bib.
After getting my bib, I ran into this guy..
I also loved this light installation for #RUNCLT. So cool!
I stayed at the expo for around 45 minutes before leaving to go back to the hotel. My back was killing me so I knew it was time to retire to the hotel room and relax for race day.
It was unseasonably cold and windy on race morning, but thankfully the anticipated rain never came – yay! The race had a nice early start of 7:30 a.m. The hotel wasn’t to far from the race start so I left the hotel around 6:50. It was super windy outside so I didn’t want to wait longer than necessary. The race started right on time and I crossed the start mat within 2 minutes. I was not off on my hilly running adventure!
I looked up the route and elevation before the race, so I thought I knew what to expect but I didn’t think the race would just be up, down, up, down the entire time!
The first few miles are through downtown Charlotte, It was nice to get a tour of all the construction going on in the city. My Lyft drive from the previous day told me that on average 50 people move to Charlotte everyday – no wonder there was so much construction for new roads, buildings and apartments!
The first mile wasn’t bad but after that I started to notice the rolling hills. Toward the end of this portion we started to run through a few residential neighborhoods. I was impressed with the amount of spectators that came out during this portion to cheer us on!
I would say that this was the hilliest part of the course. I was cruising until mile 9 and then I had to take my first walk break. My IT band wasn’t feeling the uphills and my ankle and knees weren’t feeling the downhills. Can you say ouch? One thing that kept me going during this portion was the crowd support. There weren’t tons on spectators everywhere, but when we did see them, they were loud and full of support!
Okay, just 3 miles to go! At this point I was entering the pain cave – things were starting to get rough. Just as I approached mile 12 I got the boost that I needed. A spectator with an adorable puppy was standing near the mile marker and the puppy gave me a high five. I love animals so this was just what I needed! I was able to push through with a mix of running and speed walking for the last 3 miles. As I was running to the finish line wind was picking up like crazy. You can see in the photo below that I was trying to hold on to my hat, lol.
The race finishes behind BB&T Ballpark.
Would I recommend this race? Yes, but just be very prepared for the hills.
The race just posted this awesome video recap from race day – check it out!
My mom ran the 5K race and came in first in her age group! We didn’t know this until we left the finish area so I’m hoping they can mail her the age group award.
There were MANY pros to this race!
Welcome bag of swag
Upon checking into my hotel, I received a nice swag bag of race items – tall glass, sticker, temporary tattoos, phone wallet, portable phone charger, lip gloss and a pen. It was a nice unexpected treat!
The race had 6,000 runners between all of their races. I think the half marathon had the most runners but the course never felt crowded.
After the race we were able to pick up water, bananas, granola bars, fruit cups, chocolate milk and Gatorade. I also appreciated that they gave us bags to hold all the items as well.
I received a really nice navy blue long sleeve shirt. I loved this because I don’t have too many long sleeve shirts so it’s nice to add that this to my collection. The medals for each race were awesome, and I especially loved my half marathon medal.
I was happy with the amount of pre-race communications that I received in the weeks leading up to the race. The race also did a great job at sharing updates via social media as well (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
There were also a few cons to the race as well:
Race Signage – When my mom and I arrived to the the start area we noticed that there weren’t many signs. Luckily we just followed a crow of runners, but it would have been nice to have more sign, especially for the 5K runners since they were supposed to be in a holding area since the other race distances started first.
Runner Tracking – The race uses the RaceJoy app for tracking and I’m not a huge fan of it. In order for it to work, you have to register yourself as a runner on the app. You also have to not only run with your phone, but you have to start the app as you cross the start line. I was very concerned that the app would kill my phone battery so I didn’t use it. It would have been nice if my mom could have used the tracker but I just ended up calling her when I was at mile 11 to let her know I was close so that she could meet me at the finish line.
Start Line – I didn’t even know the race had started until the people in front of me started to move. There was no National Anthem or countdown to start so it was a little weird.
So many HILLS! – I am NOT a fan of hills but I knew that this course would be hilly. I just didn’t think that it would literally be up, down, up, down the whole time! Technically this could be a “pro” if you’re a fan of hilly races 🙂
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