Williams Route 66 Marathon
Williams Route 66 Marathon( 53 reviews )
- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other, Relay
- Road Race
- Event Website
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Mary LeeCleveland, Ohio, United States
First. I HATE writing bad reviews. I've delayed writing this review to "cool off" a bit. This was one of the worst half marathon experiences I've ever had. I heard that there was a race director change with 2018, so maybe that explains a bit of it?
I'm not doing 50 states, but a friend of mine is and this was one of the races I agreed to meet her at this year for a racecation. We stayed at the aLoft hotel and I highly recommend it. It is right next to the Convention Center and easy to get everywhere. The staff there was also pretty great. With some course changes, it was further away from the start/finish than we expected, but we made it work.
Expo: I'd agree with others that it is small-medium in size. It had the basic essentials if you forgot something.
Swag: This was our first pitfall of the weekend. We did the 2 day challenge, so the 5K on Saturday and then 13.1 on Sunday. I gave 3 stars only because I do really like the light hoodie that we got for the 5K. The fit was spot on and it is soft and comfy. I normally get a XL unisex shirt, which is roomy, but not too big and that is what I got here. I know I'll wear it a lot. However...the jacket was a disaster. Which is sad, because I've seen jackets from past years in person and they were really nice! The 2018 jacket was really cheap and the zipper keeps catching on the material. I haven't broken mine yet, but I know several others that broke their zippers the weekend of the race. Then there was the sizing. WAY off! I have a larger chest, so I thought I'd be good if I got the XXXL women's jacket. No such luck. It was SUPER small! And there was a buzz going around at the Expo that you should get your jacket ASAP because they were so far off on sizing that they were running out of jackets in the larger sizes at the exchange table. So we booked it over there. A friend of mine who is normally an XL ended up getting my XXXL jacket. Yup. Two sizes too small! It fit her perfectly. They were totally out of XXXL women's jackets (mind you...this was Friday afternoon with there still Saturday Expo to go), so she only got a jacket because I was turning mine in. Unfortunately, they were out of anything bigger than a Men's XL. I tried it. The arms were too big, but I couldn't get it to even come close to closing. I went to the manager and asked if they were going to re-order more jackets since they were out of them so early and the sizing was so off. She said no, but then she snuck me a XXXL men's jacket in exchange for the XL one. I took it. Didn't even try it on right there. Just ran with it! The arms are super long and too big, but the torso fits perfect. WTH???
Transportation: We were lucky and had a ride (to and from) from a local friend of a friend for the 5K. The start for the Half Marathon was close enough that we walked. There was supposed to be a shuttle bus from the finish back to our hotel. At the expo, our hotel was listed on the sign as a stop. After the race, we were frozen and hungry (more on that later). We went to the shuttle buses and none of them were going to the aLoft hotel. Huh? Of course they were! It was on the sign! We had a photo of the sign! What was worse was, no one around the buses had a clue. No one could help us. We showed them the photo of the sign. They still couldn't help us. The best we could do was right a shuttle to the Doubletree hotel then walk back to the aLoft. That at least got us closer. Ugh.
Weather: Yes. The weather sucked. It was around 60 in the days leading up to and the day after the half marathon and like 25 degrees with strong winds the day of the half. This I cannot fault a race for. I'm a good weather stalker and I'm lucky I can check a bag due to heavy air travel. I brought ALL THE CLOTHING OPTIONS. So although the cold was miserable, I was prepared. Not a real issue.
Race: I agreed to come to this race for a few reasons. One...I grew up by Route 66 in Illinois and my Dad has a thing for Route 66. I thought it would be cool. Two...It was supposedly a walker friendly race. Three...I'm a Half Fanatic and was looking forward to the Half Fanatic stuff. The first 7 miles were pretty fun! I realized with the cold weather that crowd support would likely be low. The ones that were out were super fun! I had heard there was a lot of alcohol along the course and for those first 7 miles there was. I spotted jello shots and that shot of fireball really hit the spot with the cold weather! There was also a super fun house with a skiing selfie stop. Complete with foam "snow" in the air! Gotta give them props! Then around mile 7, the cops moved us to the sidewalk. Say what???? MILE 7!!!!! Plus, they were jerks about it (I'm normally the one running up to police on the course shaking their hand and thanking them). One grey Camaro was even spinning its wheels when it would take off. They tried to force us to the sidewalk, but there was yellow tape blocking off the sidewalk. That was interesting. There were still a ton of us around and I was trying to do a run/walk. Of course, that was impossible on a residential sidewalk with 2-3 people thick trying to walk on the sidewalk. One of the parts of the course that I was most looking forward to was the tunnels. You got to run through these tunnels. The people just in front of me were able to run through the tunnels. Of course, I was in the first group of people to be RE-ROUTED onto a bike path that went up and over the tunnels. Lovely...more hill. Listen, as a solid back of the packer, I don't mind getting sent to the sidewalk. That has happened before and will happen again. But it is usually in the last mile or so. NOT at mile SEVEN. They closed that course a LOT earlier than they should have. I looked back at my Garmin and I was ahead of the 16:30 pace they advertise. The only thing I can think of is that they closed the course based on the Coral A start, not from when the last person started. Also, they have a 6.5 hour limit for the full marathon, but don't state an overall limit for the half. Just the pace. Half of 6.5 hours is 3 hours 15 minutes. I would NEVER sign up for a half marathon with that short of a time limit as my PR is 3 hours 16 minutes. My fault for believing the marketing that it was walker friendly. I just wanted to finish this thing, go back to my hotel, warm up and get home. I wanted it over.
Finish Line Area: So I have been battling Plantar Fasciitis. Of course, with the hills toward the end, it was flaring up. Right after I crossed the finish line, I looked for the medical tent. I really needed some assistance with my foot. I was hopping at that point, so it was pretty obvious I needed some help. I never found that medical tent. I was told later that there was one. It should be better marked. Next, I did make it to the food area. There were no bananas left. Just cold pizza and orange slices. Lovely. And may I say that this is when there was still a lot of people left out on the course for the full marathon?
Half Fanatics: I mentioned I was a Half Fanatic and this is a big race for this organization. As a member, I got access to the VIP tent after the finish. I do wish it was closer to the finish line! They did have some food and drink. Which was good. I wish they had heaters, but really I was so glad to be out of the cold wind and sit down a bit! I also got an extra medal as a member and that is where we picked those up. I'm so glad they had that tent there as I am not sure what I would have done without it!
I spoke with friends who were faster and they definitely had better experiences than I did during the actual race. So keep that in mind. If you are a faster runner, then you will probably be just fine. But if you are a walker...think twice about this race.