Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Equinox Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
This past weekend, I got my first weekend away in a long while. I sat for my Internal Medicine Certification Exam on Thursday and promptly celebrated with a ‘racecation’ to Ft. Collins, CO for the Equinox Fall Half Marathon.
Friday afternoon (after much needed sleep and cleaning my house), I flew out to Denver, rented a car and drove an hour to Ft. Collins. I stayed at a Candlewood Suites Hotel, because I still have the resident mentality of where’s the cheapest place to stay. Plenty of space, cable TV for plenty of football and nice people. I found a nice little place called Domenic’s a mile away and went for dinner (if you’re visiting Ft. Collins or live there, go check it out on Harmony St, the Pork Belly appetizer was amazing!).
Saturday morning, I drove down to Loveland for the Kickin’ Kawasaki 5K (different blog post for a different day) before heading to the Loveland Outlets to do mandatory shopping. It’s always a plus to find your running shoes $40 off and some running stuff you don’t need, but convince yourself that you do! Afterwards, I headed for a shower at the hotel and to a sports bar to watch some college football.
Packet Pick Up: fairly small and only from 2-7 pm on Saturday at Sierra Trading Post. The location of it wasn’t the best- it was in a mall type location so parking was limited. It reminded me of why I hate mall parking lots. You also had the option to get your packet mailed to you for $20 or reserve your packet for pick up on race day for $10. All runners received a long sleeved 1/4 zip jacket, however, I was seeing some people not get theirs, so I’m not sure if there weren’t enough and they’d get them mailed to them. The one issue I had with the bibs is that the timing chip was literally taped to the bib (and by taped I mean packing taped). When Sunday rolled around, some people found their bib had no chip attached to their bib. There wasn’t a real expo sort of speak, since there was less than 800 runners for the Half Marathon
Come Sunday, I woke up bright and early and wanted to throw my phone against a wall a few times. After getting changed and ready, I drove over to Pourde H.S. and parked. Since the race is point to point, runners are bussed to the start, which was at the Mishawaka Amphitheater, a good 45 min drive from the High School. Buses ran from 6-630 from the HS for the half marathon and a little later for the 5 K, which started around the 8 mile mark for the half marathon. No one could be dropped off by personal vehicles and one spectators could be on the busses. After arriving, I dropped my bag in bag check (which would bussed to the finish) and used the port-a-potties. There was also water and coffee available for runners. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Katherine and we chatted up until the start.
The race started right at 8, no frills or fan fare to it. Katherine and I separated and off we went. The entire race is downhill, which is nice when you have minimal training. The course is very scenic and I can see why people like it from that aspect. Having no phone service made it nice to get into the grove of just running. The first 2-3 miles we had one lane of road to work with, but afterwards, it narrowed to something that seemed to be the length of the shoulder of the road. The roads weren’t that busy, but what made me nervous is that there were blind curves where you couldn’t see if traffic was coming. Since it was a one way in/out sort of situation for traffic, the roads weren’t shut down. From a safety perspective, I wish that a lane of road would have been completely shut down for the race. I also didn’t see any medical on course. I saw a few police on motorcycles, but nothing more than that, not even at the rest stops.
Rest stops were every few miles. Primarily, at miles 3.2, 5, 7.5, 9.2 and 11. The last 3 were placed after the 5 mile start. We never saw any of the 5 mile runners (or at least I didn’t).
I finished in 2:37, and quite frankly, given the lack of training, wasn’t bad. The finish was at the basin of the Canyon. At the finish, you received a medal and commemorative glass, which was your cup for water post race. I grabbed my bag and went and found food. Donuts, fruit, bagged snacks, etc were available. Runners received a coupon for a free slice of pizza, which was otherwise $5. It looked good, but the line was long for it, and not worth the wait, especially since I had to get back to the hotel and shower. There were tents set up for vendors and merchandise for runners and spectators. They were also doing awards, which included getting a poster and something engraved. Buses were transporting people back to the HS, which was about 15 minutes or so. I was able to get showered and checked out of the hotel.
Overall, I think it was a decent race. I think the race needs to look at closing off more road so runners have more space and for more runner safety. I also think they need to relook the location of the packet pick up. The line was long early on and getting in and out was a mess. However, it’s a scenic race for sure that lets you enjoy Colorado, especially when it’s nice out