Latest reviews by Stefan
The Wildfire Half Marathon is the second in a series called "The World's Toughest Half Challenge" in which 3 half marathons are ran in the DFW Metroplex in the Texas summer! The first is the Jalapeño Half (Fort Worth, TX), and the third is The Hottest Half (Dallas, TX). The races are held in June, July, and August - definitely a fun idea to keep you motivated throughout the summer.
The Wildfire Half course was pretty much a straight shot out and back. However, there were plenty of slow rolling hills, and a lot of open fields and farms. Even though with the brutal temperature and the gradual elevation changes, for some reason I was having fun! We started and finished the race in a Denton ISD Football stadium on the field, so that was helpful for supporting family members and spectators to take take a seat, experience the vendors, and listen to any announcements while waiting. Their sponsors were there giving out samples (Nesquick, Mountain Dew, some local organic farms, etc.) so it was good to get some treats after the race.
The event was really well staffed, police support along the way, and plenty of aid stations providing sports drink, water, ice, and cold towels. The race was coned off as well, supporting the safety of the runners since we were pretty much out on the country roads - where speed limits are sometime optional! We had access to the stadium parking and restrooms. We got a race shirt with packet pick up, and timing chip is in the bib, so you pretty much had instant results. There is a camera at the finish line which uploads your picture that you have immediate access to. They do a pre-race prayer (optional) and warm-up with an instructor. Overall the energy was really positive.
I personally wasn't expecting the heat to be as bad as it felt, or the hills (even though Denton is where my alma mater UNT is and I really did know this was the beginning of a hilly area) so I was NOWHERE NEAR a PR. I probably could have planned it better using the downhills to my advantage, but I was starting to look at it as a really good training race and was enjoying the difficulty.
Overall a good experience and a fun race. Thanks Mellew!
The Big D is a great way to see Fair Park (where the famous Texas State Fair is held), as well as White Rock Lake. There are a lot of trees, historic neighborhoods, and of course the ferris wheel!
Parking is plentiful since it uses the fair grounds. There are some of the Fair Park buildings in use for the race - for packet pick up, vendors, and where they announced the awards.
You do get a t-shirt that they say is tech, however it was more of a blend and more cotton. Not really ideal to run that distance in. Awards were announced in a corner of one of the buildings in use, and it didn't seem like anyone really knew this was going on. We happened to walk through because I wanted to see some of the vendors and heard them making announcements with a small crowd in front. Kind of lackluster for just finishing a long race! However, one positive is they do try and announce each runner's name when they are crossing the finish line. That is a nice touch. I didn't see them trying when groups were finishing together, but they were able to keep up pretty well as a line of finishers crossed. Aid stations were simple, and seemed spaced a little too far apart (I may have just been struggling!), but they weren't like some races with teams, sponsors, signs or anything like that.
They do claim a "flat Boston qualifier with very few turns". This may be overall for the full Marathon, but I felt like the half did have about 4-5 gradual hills, some sharp turns, and two spots in the course where the road was under construction and you had to run around cones. It was later in the race, so definitely could have been dangerous!
Overall, I would run it again - mainly for the scenery and the atmosphere of Fair Park.