Monday, January 14, 2013

Race Review: Parks Half Marathon Bethesda, MD September 2012

Setting and Course:  The Parks Half Marathon course goes from Rockville to downtown Bethesda as a point to point course.  The neat part was not only did it mostly go on the Rock Creek Trail through the park, but it also went next to our house (well a few houses away) and took part on a portion of the trail that we run almost every day.  Over 2200 people ran it but luckily the course didn't hit the trail until mile 2 and people had a chance to spread out a bit.   The start line was a little tight because of where they placed the port-a-potties and the lines for those were intersecting with the start corrals.  That was a little confusing.  There were well marked pace groups, which is always really nice.  I started out with the 1:50 pace group, but took off ahead of them.  The 1:50 pacer caught up and passed me at mile 10, so I knew at that point I wouldn't break 1:50 but it's a nice way to gauge your finishing time. 

Cost:  Depending on when you register, the registration fee is anywhere from $50-$60.  

Transportation:  Since it's a point to point course, you need a way to get back to the start line to your car.  The finish is right at the Bethesda metro stop and so you can just take the metro right back to the start in Rockville.  Very convenient!  

Shirt:  Brooks Technical long sleeve tee.  Pretty nice!  And gender specific sizing....always a plus!

Fun: They gave out temporary tattoos before the race, so of course I put one on! 

Finish: Near the end the course goes on the Capital Crescent Trail and enters the tunnel under downtown Bethesda before veering off to a local park for the finish.  Here I am exiting the tunnel heading for the finish, passing this guy on my way to a new PR of 1:51!

Coming up the final hill full of smiles!
The finish party was held in a neighborhood park.  It was full of good food and lots of local booths set up giving out free samples.  We had some wonderful free iced tea.  As a finishing prize instead of medals, they gave out Parks Half Marathon Trucker Hats.  Here I am with my husband after the race, Jim got a PR too at 1:31.

Each of us beat our previous best by about 1 minute, not bad considering we hadn't raced in 4 months (due to selling our house and moving north by a few states)!

Overall, I really liked this race.  I felt it was highly organized and a great run for the low cost.  No finisher's medal, but that's just fine by me.  I thought it was a great course and a great time of year and fun to see all the other runners on the metro heading back to Rockville.

Grade: A-


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  2. BOOO to no finisher's medal. What's a half marathon without the medal!?

    1. I am totally okay with no medal to keep costs down. I never really do anything with them anyway. All my medals are in a box in my closet! :-)