Latest reviews by Seth
This is my third event with the company who puts on this event and it was by far the best they've done (in my experience). All my grips from previous events have been fixed, the pre race communication was perfect, the expo was great, everything was well organized and ran smoothly.
The course is super flat aside from two bridges, the first one isn't bad but the second one was killer. I had quite the time making it up the second bridge before picking up the pace for the 1/2 to 3/4 mile stretch into the finish. The water/gatorade stations were plentiful and there were GUs offered throughout. The music was excellent, I really enjoyed passing all the performers.
To sum the race up, it's a fantastic half marathon. Might not be a PR course due to the bridges but it's still a fast course. The race program went really well and without a hitch. I really enjoyed the half but would be hesitant to do the full, I'm not sure the course would translate over well to double the distance. Judging from the entry count, it seems like most people agree.
See you again next year!
I call this a great local race because it's exactly that, great if you're somewhat local to Cocoa Beach, but it's not something I'd travel a long way to do. Perhaps with a few more years it'll be at the level that I'd recommend people travel to it.
Miles 1-9: The course starts with about 9 miles of straight, flat road. Personally I enjoyed this part, the weather was nice, the scenery isn't bad, the road is flat. I was able to zone out and just run.
Miles 9-12: You circle around the back of Ron Jon and head over onto the beach which was supposed to have mats on top of the soft sand but they really only covered about half of the soft sand leading towards the shore which was a drag. The harder packed sand isn't bad but definitely isn't as easy going as pavement. I did enjoy the ocean and sun rise, by this time there wasn't many people around me so it was rather peaceful. Coming up to the end of the beach section there were no mats what so ever and the sand was far worse than where you enter the beach, this is the worst part of the race. On my Strava data you can see exactly when I hit this sand, my pace drops way down and my heart rate spikes.
A few months before the race they touted the new mats they were going to put out to cover the soft sand. The 50' or so of mats was really nice, I'm just not sure what happened to the rest of them. I'm sure they'll have this fixed for next year as it's a great idea and solution, it just wasn't executed for this year. The beach really isn't bad, it's only the part of getting on and off the beach that hurt.
Miles 12-Finish: From the beach you get back on a part of US 1 that you already ran earlier in the race and then turn into the park where you finish. The finish line is nice and there was tons of people there to cheer on the finishers.
Post race celebrations were nice, pizza, beer, water, and massages.
Overall I'm looking forward to doing this race again next year. It's just hard to recommend it over other half marathons in the state that are perfectly executed. Although it's easy to recommend over the majority of half marathons in the state that are poorly executed. It's in a gray area of being better than most, but not on the same level as the best. Giving it another two years and I have no doubt it could be one of the best.
The main things I'd recommend:
* Fix the mats
* Pre race communication is there but could be improved. Send out a final email before the race that clearly bullet points the main things participants need to know, where to pick up packets, where to park, what time the buses run, what time the race starts, etc. I found most of the communications were just blocks of text that I usually immediately sent to my trash folder. Before the race I started going back through them and struggled to find exactly when and where the packet pick up was. Going to the website I found a page that told me everything I needed to know about packet pick up had been emailed to me. Sure I should have noted it when I signed up, but it shouldn't be so hard to go back and find.
* Spread the time groups out further at the start. The pacers were all lined up very close to each other, probably 10' separating a 30 minute time difference. More effort should be put into making sure predicted paces are separated so there's less tripping over each other at the start. I also understand you want to have the Genies take a group photo at the start, but take the photo and then have them disburse into the different groups instead of having them all start at the front.