- 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
My second marathon, the BCS Marathon was a top-notch experience.
It's held in December in the college town of College Station, and presents a fairly simple course terrain. If you hit the perfect weather, you will likely cruise to a PR.
First off, the expo. I actually wasn't able to attend, but I heard there wasn't much to write home about. Other than that though, the only comment I have is that there is no packet pickup option available other than at the expo. This is something I personally wish they would work out a solution for, but other than that, no complaints here.
The morning of the race went quite smoothly. Being in College Station, parking is a non-issue. There are a variety of hotels close to the start line at Post Oak Mall, so it's a quick car ride to the parking lot. From the parking lot, it was a short walk to the start line, where there were porta potties a-plenty (hardly even a line)!
After the gun went off and we crossed the start line, the route was scenic and ran all over the Bryan/College Station area. We ran through the historic neighborhoods, then moved on to downtown Bryan. Later on, we made our way out to the Tradition's golf course, which offered more nature/scenic views. Finally, we ran back to campus as people started to hit the dreaded "wall." It's planned perfectly because student organizations come out to cheer people on and staff aid stations. And everyone wants to be near campus, so they are really excited!
This race also offered a lot of bigger race features that smaller races usually don't have. Pacers for the marathon were really nice to have. The marathon relay group also made the course feel a lot less empty, which was well-planned.
Aid stations were also fabulous. They all had water and Gatorade, as well as medical staff (with Vaseline for chafing). Every few aid stations, they offered food - Gu, orange slices, bananas, gummy candies, etc. The race was small enough that the stations weren't crowded, either.
26.2 miles later, the finish line crowd was also spirited, as was the announcer (who high-fived me). Again, it felt like a much larger race. However, immediately after crossing, I was easily able to find my husband and parents, who had come in from out of town. I received my beautiful medal, banged the PR gong (heck yeah, 20 minute personal record).
The post-race party was filled with food and goodies. It was easy to find my finisher jacket, which was also pretty well-made. There were pizza rolls, beer, margaritas, breakfast tacos, the list goes on. It was just awesome. I also liked that there was a little bit of a walk back to the parking lot from Wolf Pen Creek, where the party was. It helped me to cool down.
Overall, just about everything was right on point, and I will absolutely be back fro the half or full again in the future. I would recommend it to anyone, given the variety of distances available and the professional way the race was organized.
For more of my race day experience, check out my full blog post here: http://wp.me/p74Lch-nj