I've only done 2 HMs, but they were chosen based on 3 things: 1) location: it has to be local, no hotel! 2) timing: it takes me 3+ months to train for an HM 3) course scenery and terrain: waterfront & jets, park trail and flat I trained specifically for each, once because it was my first and the 2nd to beat a goal time. I prefer smaller races but they MUST be within morning-of driving distance.
That said, I'm scheduled for another race in 2 weeks that I'm doing "for the fun of it" with some friends...and it goes over a famous bridge (Golden Gate), which qualifies for point #1 & 3.
I don't race for bling so the medal design won't sway a decision. However money does; if a race is going to charge $100+ there better be a foot-massage waiting for me!
Good luck to you on your choice, but it sounds like you can't go wrong! Naomi
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Fitness Minutes: (69,332) Posts: 1,085 3/20/13 6:42 P
WILLNOTSETTLE, I like your way of thinking. (the more people in it, the less chance I have of coming in dead last haha) I have not registered for a half yet, but here in Eastern PA we have tons of options. Runners World Festival in October sounds really cool. I wanted to try and make my first half be something that really meant something to me but my timing doesn't seem to be coinsiding with "something meaningful".
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I live in Edmonton, Alberta so there's only 5 months I feel comfortable signing up for any outdoor race and we usually only have 1 a month or so anyway. I'm pushing for a mid August one, the biggest one in the area jsut because more people racing gets me more excited. Plus, the more people in it, the less chance I have of coming in dead last haha.
"Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs and the voice in your head that yells "CAN'T!". But don't listen. Just push harder. Then you'll hear the voice whisper "can". That's when you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are."
I picked my HM because it is in the city I grew up in. I know the roads of the route and it's near my family and friends so I'll have plenty of support. Also, it gives me the chance to run for my favourite charity.
ONMYMEDS - I'm jealous of you having so many HMs so close by. Totally agree with you about avoiding races which require another trip for packet pickup. Here in MD, there's a race (Frederick HM) that has satellite packet pickups throughout the DC-MD-VA region. Wonderfully convenient! Big races can afford to do that; don't know why they don't.
Agree with you about price, shirts, and medals, too! In fact, I didn't bother to mention that the Mad Anthony includes a medal while the EX2 does not. Kinda perverse since the EX2 is almost twice the price.
On the other hand, cheap HMs have cheap medals. There is an annual HM one mile from my house that is $40 that gives finishers a generic medal onto which they paste a paper race logo. It's laughable. Can't beat the convenience though of being able to walk to the race. I've done it twice so I now have two of their cheesy medals.
I figure EX2 must have *something* of high quality in lieu of a medal since all I can find in google searches are rave reviews.
Timothy, Thanks for the rationale on how you chose your races. Just a few comments:
Which Maryland Half? There are two! One is the Maryland Half (in Timonium) and the other is the Maryland Running Festival Half (in Largo). I wonder how many people sign up for one and then accidentally go to the other. (Whatever creative type settled on those names should be fired.) But they have something in common - both are expensive!
I've heard really good things about the Wineglass. Did you know that we have a version of it a little closer: the Virginia Wine Country HM. It's supposed to have some wine-related bling as well.
Living in the metro Chicago area, I too have MANY half marathons to choose from. Milwaukee is well within reasonable drive time, so add in a few more. With so many choices, it is conceivable to run a HM on any given weekend from mid-march to November without having to make an over-nighter out of it.
My first priority is usually convenience: is it close to my house and if not, is there race-day packet pickup.
Second is price, regardless of the goodies. I don't really need another tech t-shirt, and although I appreciate a nicely designed finishers medal, I'm not going to spend extra money or pick a particular race based on the medal.
Although I hope that a HM fits into my training schedule for a marathon, I don't actually schedule one for that reason, and have never actually trained for a specific half. I'm sure I would have better results if I did, but my race planning thus far has simply been too arbitrary, haphazard and spur-of-the-moment.
So far I have two scheduled for this year, both events that I have done before.
I would definitely do the Mad Anthony run just for the name and because I remember reading a story about him when I was about 10 years old, over 55 years ago.
Someone who prefers to remain anonymous told me to look at a September race just across the state line in PA so I looked in the other direction too. Now I'm narrowing it down to these two races (both on the same weekend in Sept), neither of which are in MD:
Mad Anthony HM (Waynesboro PA) EX2 Trail HM (Triangle/Dumfries VA)
I'm kinda leaning to the EX2 - a relatively small trail HM in the middle of a national park and it's just a 40 min drive; But it's $60. In contrast, the Mad Anthony is just $35. It's a road race (which I'm not too keen on) but it's hilly (yay!) and is pretty small so I could conceivably get an AG award (which would be a first for me) as I look at the past year's results. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.
PS: If I chose races by name, I wouldn't even pause at the EX2. What a lame-o name. Mad Anthony, on the other hand, just sounds awesome! (Evidently, he was a civil war general of somewhat fiery personality.)
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Fitness Minutes: (45,017) Posts: 859 3/15/13 1:01 P
Sounds like you have plenty of HM's to choose from there. I have my eyes on two HM's in the Black Hills. The first is the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon on June 2 www.deadwoodmickelsontrailmarathon.c om / and the second will be the Crazy Horse Run on Oct 6th www.runcrazyhorse.com/ . These will be my first two HM's ever. Both runs are on different parts of the Mickelson Trail. Looking forward to both runs. Currently training now. Started running in the summer of last year. Longest run so far is 9 miles so need to work on that. Anyway if you are in the Black Hills area check these out. Happy Running.
There are so many new HMs that my head is spinning. Just in my state (Maryland), there are 25 HMs. (And MD is a small state!) I wonder how other people decide which HM to do when there are so many choices. Once you've gotten by the obvious stuff (trail vs road, hills vs flat), how do you sift through the remainder?
Love to try a new race? Or love the classics? The nearest possible HM? Or far away (vacation-style, combine with travel)? Price? Refund, transfer, deferral policies? The most expensive premiums the better? Or the fewer premiums the better? Which HM falls on the date you'll be trained? Or you pick a race and then start training for it? Huge race vs little race? Race website - pretty vs ugly? Race website - informative vs bewildering?
I've found myself on both ends of all these questions at times. I've even signed up for races in the last ("bewildering website") category although only because I knew for other reasons that the race would be good.
I'm not trying to restart the commercial vs club race debate. Just puzzling over picking some 2013 races and I'm really torn between them. (There are 10 in the April/May timeframe near me and a similar number in the Fall! And those numbers double if I consider races a bit further away in VA and PA.
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