The Maple Grove Half Marathon was on Saturday May 13th in Maple Grove, MN. The race start time was 7:30 AM and starts and ends at the Maple Grove Senior High Stadium. In addition to the Half Marathon, there is also a 5k, and a 2 person half marathon relay. The course for this race is a combination of roads and paved trails. Registration for this race was tiered from $40-$50 depending on when you sign up.
There is no expo for this race. Bib and shirt pick up are on the Friday prior to the Saturday race at a local bike shop. It was really easy to get in and get my bib and technical t-shirt at this location. While I was there I managed to buy some bike related gear for my kids (so I guess I still got the expo feeling of spending money)!!
I ran from my house to the starting line (since I live in the area). This was a great way for me to loosen my legs and not have to worry about parking (although I don’t think parking was an issue for others). There were a few vendors present at the start of the race (and in turn the end of the race since it starts and ends at the same location). Communication over a loud speaker was very good leading up to the race start and directing racers down to the starting line. The race started promptly at 7:30.
The race starts and ends with a lap around the track. I really enjoyed this part of the race as you had people cheering you on right away at the start, and you also could see the finish and make your final push around the track at the end. The course in general has its fair share of ups and downs (hills), and I would have to say it was more ups then downs. There were water stations, port-a-potties, and Gatorade being served on the course. This year was a really nice day for the race, and I actually could have used a few more water stations then were present. I constantly was hoping the next turn would be the one that had water. There were a few family made water stations on the course as well which I loved to see. I really enjoy seeing the community come out and cheer on the runners! The course takes you through neighborhoods and along tree covered portions of paved trails. My family made it out to cheer me on at two different locations on the course, and you cant beat having that motivation while racing! Also, the volunteers directing traffic and runners throughout the course were cheering the runners on at every turn (I felt like I said 'Thank You' more than I have at any other race).
My race in general didn't go exactly to plan as I didn't reach my goal time of a 1:41 and ended up finishing with a time of 1:49:28. The course measured long based on my watch which said I ran 13.3 miles, but the main issues for me were the hills, heat, and stomach pain. As I approached the second half of the race I knew I didn't have my goal time in me, but still gave it my all and am happy with how I finished.
I was handed a finisher medal as I crossed the finish line. I then made my way to the vendor booths where they gave out water, chips, nut rolls, oranges and granola bars. A local coffee shop was even there giving away free coffee, hot chocolate, and mini muffins which totally hit the spot! There was also a booth set up where you could enter your bib number and get your official finisher time.
Being that this race is so close to my house and that my family was able to walk down and watch me at two different locations (my daughter even handed me water at a family run water station one of the neighbors set up) I have to say it was great! I would have preferred a little less of the hills and a few more water stations throughout the course, but in general I feel the ones they had would have been sufficient in other years (the prior year it was very cold for this race). I will most likely do this race again (the only reason I wouldn't would be because it falls on opening walleye fishing weekend here in MN, so might be out of town fishing)!!