- 3 miles/5K, 5 miles/8K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
Richmond was my first half marathon, and I don't think I could have picked a better half marathon to be my first. The race was well-organized, water/fuel/portipotti stops were plentiful and more than adequate, and the crowd support was phenomenal. The course had a couple small hills, but nothing significant (total elevation gain of 145), and it ran through a park and a beautiful neighborhood with big trees and lovely old homes (in addition to an industrial area and part of downtown). The easy course, the cheering along the entire course, the music, the excitement and energy, and my awesome running buddy all contributed to a great race for me. I beat my most optimistic goal time by 11 minutes, and really enjoyed myself along the way. The downhill finish was amazing with the crowd cheering, although it was a bit steeper than I (and my knees) would have liked after running almost 13 miles.
The swag was the best I've gotten yet: a unique stained-glass medal, a cozy fleece finisher's blanket, a finisher's hat which I wear regularly (so awesome to get swag you can actually use), and a high quality long-sleeved technical shirt.
Bag check went seamlessly, thanks to Sportbackers and UPS. The post-race food was better than usual with granola bars and trail mix in addition to the usual bananas and bagels. There were also food and beer trucks, and the post-race party on Brown's Island was nice, although the crowds and parking issues make it not easily accessible for those who might want to cheer you on at the finish.
As another reviewer has commented, the Expo can be a pain to get to, but once you're inside, they're very efficient. I tried to go when I thought it would be the least crowded, an hour before closing Thursday night, and that seemed to work well. I wanted to change my starting wave and once I found the right person, it was very easy to change waves.
Since I live in Richmond, I was able to have my husband drop me off relatively near the start of the race and I didn't have to worry about parking. Even so, it would be very tempting to get a hotel room downtown and not have to worry about race-day transportation at all. Finding parking and navigating the city with many of the roads closed isn't easy.
Although there were 3 races starting at different times, the 8K, half marathon, and marathon, Sportsbackers somehow managed to keep it all straight. At several points along the course, the marathon and half marathon share the same route, and i thought it would be confusing, but it wasn't a problem. It was amazing to see the front runners from the marathon (which started after the half) come up behind us and zoom by.
I've already signed up for next year, and I highly recommend the Richmond Half-Marathon for anyone - first-timers to seasoned half-marathoners.