"This year we've expanded to more than 40 cities across the nation. Bring your friends & family and join our 1-mile family walk, 5K or 11K. If you're really up for a challenge, then join us in San Jose for our inaugural Half Marathon."
A decent sized crowd showed up at the starting line on a chilly November morning. Veterans were recognized and a General gave an opening speech. An NBC news van was even there! The National Anthem was sung and it wasn't long before we were sent off. It was a great start. Things went downhill from there.
It turns out that most of the people there were running the 5K or 11K. I started out faster than I probably should have, but I always do that in anything less than a marathon anyway. I had left my Garmin at home because my strap was broken. My plan was to run the race like a hard tempo run. If I had a good day, I might even run a 1:45. I had no idea where I was, running-wise. The race follows a bike path that runs along the Guadalupe River in San Jose and passes the airport. After we passed the 5K and 11K turnaround points, there were no more course markings! I was running in 2nd place for while, before I made a wrong turn and had to back track! A few people passed me here. I dialed down the pace, feeling a bit frustrated at the lack of course markings. We kept plugging along. There was no one at the turnaround point for the half marathon! We kept going and going! At the end of the trail, roughly 7.75 mile into the race, everyone decided to turn around. At that point, the race felt more like a long training run. I passed a couple guys and finally finished in 2:10:23. One of the runners GPS watch had us running 15.54 miles. It ends up being comparable to a 1:50 half marathon, which is a decent tempo training run for me. The official results puts me at 6th place out of 35 runners. The first runner listed in the results probably took a wrong turn and cut the course short.
For an inaugural half marathon, this was terribly done. The were no age group or overall awards (I was the 4th man to finish anyway). Still, it was all for a good cause - to recognize Veterans who have served our great nation. Maybe they'll learn from their mistakes and do better next year or just scrap the half marathon if they're just going to do a half@ssed job of running it. Sighs... I wish I were in West Virginia!