- 13.1/Half Marathon, Other
- Road Race
This is my third experience with the Bay to Bay Running Festival - the first two times I had completed the 12K race, this time I thought I'd tackle the Half Marathon, which has eluded me for 2 years!
Registration: Registration was online, however they were accepting registrations at packet pickup and I think even the morning of the race.
Expo: Packet pickup was held at the stadium where the finish line was. There was a local running shop stall set up selling all sorts of running gear but that was it.
Swag: No swag - you just received your bib & event shirt - there was no difference between the 12K & Half shirts this year (previous years had your event listed on the front).
Course: This was the second year of the new course, where the finish line is in the stadium. What is awesome is that it means that the half runners don't run part the finish line and then up a hill, but rather you keep to the left at the end and run around the lakefront for about 2km then head back to the stadium for the finish.
Where the 12K starts at the Woy Woy bridge and heads straight towards Gosford, the Half actually starts facing the opposite way, running along the lake in an out and back (which turns into grass at one stage) so you have about 8K under your belt before you hit the start line for the 12K. It does mean you'll be running in front of all the 12K runners. The rest of the course is flat, and mostly along the lake edge. There is a bit of a hill around the 13K/14K mark, but nothing too worrying.
Once you hit the parks you don't have that long to go, the race does make its way out to the main highway, then back into parkland before almost hitting the finish line. Once you hit that spot where the 12K heads to the finish line, it was a little crazy where the half runners are trying to finish and the people who had finished and walking back to their cars taking over the footpath. Once you get through the out and back portion and make your way around the stadium to the finish line, the half runners are pleasantly surprised with a medal!
From the finish line you head back into the race precinct which includes sponsor areas - where you can collect sample bags, and of course food!
This is one of my favourite races since this is local. I didn't have the best race myself, and mentally gave up when the 12K runners went past me. I also wasn't able to find myself in some of the pictures from the run (they packed up before I got there), and I was running a 2:41 half. There are real toilets once you get to the parks, which was great! It's cheap, and gets some great local support, it's definitely a must-do if you're in the region!