- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
This was my second year running the Mount Dora Half Marathon, and this year, I ran it as a BibRavePro this year.
I enjoyed the race a lot this year, it didn't feel as hard as last year to me. Ha! I think that having run in Atlanta back in October had my legs a bit more used to hills. Don't get me wrong, Mount Dora has some good hills (yes, there are hills in FL), but if you train for them, it's not too bad.
The race itself is very scenic, I love the big old trees that line a lot of the route, and I especially enjoy the last few miles along the water. It's a highlight of running in the town of Mount Dora.
On race morning, I found parking pretty easily, as there are a few public parking garages near the race start/finish area. If you get there by 6am, it's not an issue at all. Once you walk over to the starting area, there were port-o-lets and pre-race water and coffee. While there were more port-o-lets than last year, I do think they need to add more next year as the lines grew for the maybe 9 or 10 that they had.
Race start went smoothly, and since it's not a huge race, about 1600 runners, it's easy to get moving right off the bat. I easily got into a groove with my pace because of this, so that was definitely nice!
Through the miles, I enjoyed the scenery like I said prior, and that really makes Mount Dora special. It's a small town, and the race gives you that experience.
Support throughout the route was great, the volunteers did a great job with water and Gatorade, I never saw any issues with anything running low, and I'm a slower runner.
The only issue I saw out on the route was that while it was supposed to be a closed course, cars seemed to somehow get out on the road during the back miles. It was a little nerving as they got a bit too close in my opinion a couple of times.
The finish is very cool, I love how it's Christmas themed, and there's a big inflatable Santa! Plenty of neat photo opps for everyone for the season. And, the medal was cute, a candy cane spinner.
In prior years, the race shirt featured the iconic logo with the antlers, and this year it was totally different. It feels more like a summer shirt rather than a fun Christmasy one. I hope they bring back the holiday themed shirt in future years.
This year, the race seemed a bit less organized to me, and it was the 7th year for it. They changed the 5k from Sunday (same day as the half marathon), to Saturday, so that they could add on a two-race challenge. That's great, but this change was made sometime over the summer months, and communication on that was not as good as it should have been with folks running the 5k. Hopefully, since this was the first year for the two-race Dora Challenge, the organization on that will be better in 2019. A multi-race challenge is always fun, but needs to be planned well for runners and everyone to feel well prepared.
I would go back and run this race again, as it's a local one for me. It's about a 40 minute drive, and I do enjoy running through Mount Dora. If you get the chance to run this one, especially the half marathon, I do recommend it!
You can check out my more personal review of the race on my blog: