2013 Shamrock Anthem Half Marathon Recap
The weekend of March 16 & 17th brought together 28,000 runners to Virginia Beach to participate in the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon and Anthem Half Marathon. A very flat (check out the elevation profile) and fast course that winds along woodland, beachfront and finishing up on the boardwalk. The Marathon is a Boston Qualifier and with such flat terrain this race would be a good choice for those taking on the challenge of qualifying for Boston.
The Anthem half marathon was the first of four spring distance runs that I completed within the span of 6 weeks. The plan look great on paper by was a whirlwind to complete and I’m just finding time now to create the race recaps for all of them. This was also a Team Philly girls weekend getaway. I have to give credit to Shanae for bringing this race to our attention last fall. Despite car trouble, an unexplained phone death and a hotel from hell; we managed to have a great weekend full of running, laughing and lots of good food. Okay..maybe a bit of alcohol as well
Even though it is still off season, Virginia Beach pulls out the stops for race weekend. I was amazed to see the number of billboards and signs scattered around the town welcoming runners to this event. Even the staff at hotel hell donned race themed t-shirts during our stay. Philadelphia is host to large sporting events, yet you don’t get the same saturation of support citywide that I encountered during this weekend. This acknowledgement certainly added an additional layer of excitement to the overall race experience.
The packet pickup was well organized and the expo was what you expect a running expo to be. After making sure all of us were properly wrist banded for post run spirits, I discovered an irresistible pair of arm warmers with the phrase ‘Live, Love, Run’ emblazoned on them. I wore them race day breaking the runner rule of not donning anything new on race day. Oh yeah, I am that much of a rebel!
Race day morning arrived and we traveled via a shuttle from Hotel Hell. to be delayed approximately 20 minutes past the stated start time. The announcement was garbled and I couldn’t make out anything more than the race start was delayed. Awesome. Now was the time to break out the iPhone and take silly/fun photos while waiting in the starting line. This helped break some of the nerves I had going into this race. I decided to take a training break in February and only completed a few training runs for this event. With such sparse training, I knew this race was going to be a ‘fun run’ only – no PR for this distance run.
Poseidon – God of the Sea – was not happy with the delay at the start either. Although, who has witnessed a happy Poseidon? Who knows what really makes him happy. There was no wave start for this race causing a bit of congestion the first mile or two. A chilly morning as well, it took a good three miles to warm up before hitting my stride – such as it was. Residents and volunteers lined the route for the first few miles of the course then disappeared as we ran through a woodland patch and looped through Fort Story. The wind off the ocean was relentless as we heading towards the finish and I was happy for the occasional windbreaks of sand dunes or housing. I made a point to stop for a photo op with the distinctively painted Fort Story lighthouse in the background. I believe this was the first time I’ve stopped for a photo opportunity during a distance run, then again, this was a fun run and I was making the most of it.
The final half mile of the run was on the boardwalk lined with cheering spectators and a grimacing Poseidon. I was never so happy to see the finish line of a race and donned my biggest smile as I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:14:19.
Instead of heat shields the organizers distributed fleece blankets to runners as they finished their run. What a brilliant move that kept runners warm in the cool temperatures as they mingled around with bag check and meeting friends before heading over to the post race party tent on the beach. The post race party was amazing – good music and delicious Irish stew that hit the spot after a tough half marathon.
A short video clip taken at the post race party with a very happy runner:
What I wore:
Philly RnR Half Marathon Finisher T-shirt
Lulemon running pants
Mizuno Alchemy running shoes
Arm warmers – Live, Love, Run
What worked well with this event:
- Clear and concise race communications prior to the event.
- Finisher fleece blanket and hat.
- Cute and useful finisher t-shirt.
- Amazing volunteers.
- Flat and fast course.
- Very scenic venue and course.
- Water stations well stocked.
- Clear signage along course.
- Post run party and food – Murphy’s stew was out of this world delicious!
What could be improved upon:
Aside from a delayed start, I had no issues with this event.
I strongly recommend this half marathon for beginners, intermediate and advanced runners. If you are looking to qualify for Boston, I highly recommend the Marathon as a possible event for you to attempt your BQ.
Warm and fuzzy memories of this event: