The half marathon in Manitowoc in June was my 8th half marathon. My previous PR was 1:59:45 at Fox Valley in September. I knew that I was in better shape for this run but I wasn’t sure how much better. So my plan was to start conservatively around a 9 minute mile pace and see where I ended up. 🙂
We arrived in Manitowoc Saturday afternoon for the Sunday race. Packet pickup was at the Maritime Museum. We parked right in front of the museum. The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Race swag included a cotton tee, running socks and a GU packet. I now have a lot of tech race tees, so the cotton tee actually was appreciated. The shirts also were sized for women which was nice. The museum is actually larger than it looks and there are some interesting displays in it as well as a US submarine outside that can be toured.
We stayed at the Baymont Inn right next to the museum, formerly the Best Western. The hotel is on the course so it is ideal for spectators. I had a craving for Prime Rib, so we had dinner at the Harborside restaurant, close to the hotel. The restaurant itself is very casual and not especially nice in terms of decor, but the food was good and priced well. I was very lucky with the weather, Saturday it was in the 90’s and very humid. Sunday the highs were in the 60’s and more typical of the weather at that time of year.
Parking was plentiful at the race start at UW Manitowoc. The full marathon and marathon relay started 15 minutes before the half. The race course starts on neighborhood streets and makes it way to a bike path on the lakefront. The path is about 3 people wide but passing is not difficult due to the small size of the race. There are no pacers for the race. Both courses are out and back. The course is mostly flat, there were no significant hills on the half marathon course. We had a slight headwind going out.
There are not a lot of spectators but they are loud. A lot of cars also honked as they drove down the street. Water stations were well stocked and were manned by friendly and enthusiastic volunteers.
My friend Sally decided to also run the half marathon. She didn’t tell me ahead of time but she planned to run the race with me. She is normally faster than I am but had come back from an injury at the beginning of the year. I don’t usually run with anyone but it worked out well. We were on the same wavelength and ran side by side the entire race. Our finishing time was exactly the same, down to the second.
I felt really good for the entire race. I knew that my pace was well below a 2 hour half. The last few miles were hard but it was nice to have Sally at my side. The finish line is a slight downhill sprint down a grassy slope. We finished in 1:56:32, an 8:53 pace. Due to the small size of the race my time was also good enough for 3rd in my age group (there were ten year age groups). Sally finished 2nd in her age group. We received pins for the AG finish as well as finisher medals.
Food was included in the race price, a hot dog/hamburger/brat, soda or beer, and an ice cream sandwich. It was nice to sit in the grass at the lakefront and watch other runners finish. The school was open and the facilities could be used for a shower after the race.
Overall I enjoyed this race quite a bit. The race was small but well organized and the course was scenic. The out and back course was nice, other runners cheered us on as we passed them. If I had a complaint, it would be a small one. There was a storm before the race and there was some debris on the course. It was in the beginning of the course so to avoid it you had to run into the street. Not a big issue, as there was not a lot of traffic. I would consider coming back to do the full marathon.
Age Group: 3/31