- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
A hilly, hot half marathon with minimal scenery but decent enough swag. Not the best race Worcester puts on, but from what I've heard they've been making improvements each year.
There seemed to be plenty of street parking close to the Common, where the start/finish was (and since it was Sunday, meters were free!) There was plenty of space to warm up on the Common, and music was playing - decent atmosphere. One major hiccup - the porta-potties didn't arrive in time for the race start. Apparently there had been complaints of not enough porta-potties the previous year, so the race director ordered more, only to have the delivery guy get lost. Oops. They opened City Hall for runners to use, which was nice, but there were nowhere near enough stalls for all the runners. The start ended up being delayed about 10 minutes to let everyone have a chance to use the bathroom.
Half marathon was scheduled to start at 7am, with the 5K scheduled to start at 7:15 and the youth 1K at 9:30. The course started downtown, then went up one of Worcester's famous hills into a gorgeous, shaded residential neighborhood. After a bit of winding through the neighborhood, the course went out to a desolate industrial-esque road for a long, shade-free out-and-back that wasn't very pretty. The course was decently marked with cones, but was open to traffic and a few stretches of that industrial road were a little sketchy with cars speeding by quite close. The rest of the course was well-manned with road guards and police.
First 1,000 to register got tech t-shirts, everyone else I believe got cotton. Runners of both the half and 5K got finishers' medals, which were sizable and pretty cool. If you were one of the first 500 to pick up your bib the night before, you got a free pair of running socks.
Considering the temps were forecast to reach the upper 80s, I was initially dismayed to see how few aid stations were on the course map. However, there ended up being more aid stations than the map said, which was awesome. Every other station had Gatorade as well as water, and one stop around mile 8 was also giving out Honey Stinger gels. Several families set up unofficial aid stations with water, huge buckets of ice, and sprinklers, which was fantastic! On the down side, there was only 1 porta-potty along the course (unless you count the one that belonged to a small beach we ran by), whereas the map had said there would be several. However, I'm assuming this was due to the aforementioned hiccup re: porta-potties, and I can't really blame the race director.
Meh. The first 4 miles or so had spots of loveliness - cool old buildings downtown, Elm Park, the giant houses on Salisbury Street. Then it was quiet residential neighborhoods, followed by a mixed residential-business street, and then a really long stretch on a bleak, semi-abandoned industrial road with nothing to look at. I didn't mind it *too* much as Worcester is my home city and I always find it fun to run the old streets, but objectively the scenery left quite a bit to be desired.
Medals and full bottles of water were handed to runners right after crossing the finish. There was a pizza party on the Common, but with the slow runners like me finishing around 10am, it felt a bit too early for pizza. There were also bananas and oranges, but I think that was it. I didn't stick around for long, so I don't know if there was an awards ceremony or any other festivities.