Thursday, August 03, 2017

2017 Race Recap #12 - Funky Monkey Half Marathon

After finishing the Drummer Hill race, I headed south to get ready for my second race of the weekend and check off state #28, Massachusetts. After spending the afternoon driving, hiking and wandering around Rhode Island, I made it to my hotel. I actually stayed in Warwick, RI since it was a little cheaper than staying across the border in Massachusetts and I only had about a 15 minute drive to get to the race in the morning.

The race start / finish was held at the Seekonk YMCA, there was plenty of parking, bib pick-up the morning of the race and real bathrooms to supplement the porta potties outside. The race had a couple of hundred people milling around the start line when the RD started his pre-race speech. The northeast was going through a record heatwave and the RD was extremely accommodating, telling people to take things slower, make sure to drink lots of water, that if it got too hot for you, you could stop at any time and give him a call (his phone number was on every directional arrow on the course) and he would come pick you up in his big van. He was driving the course throughout the morning to check on runners and make sure everyone had what they needed, even offering extra water between official water stops. He also mentioned that if anyone had to drop because of the heat, he would provide a free entry to any of his other races, which is completely unheard of!

There was a 5k, 10k and a half marathon that morning, with the half starting 15 minutes before the 10k. My goal (which was shared by a few others around me) was to not get passed by the 10k runners - that definitely didn't happen, but not too many of them passed me, so I'm okay with that. The first 10k runner was a woman and she was several minutes ahead of anyone else, but at some point she must have missed a turn because around mile 4, I saw her running back towards me and she likely did at least an extra mile or two on her 10k course. Looking at the results, it looks like she still ended up taking second place.

The course itself wasn't very interesting. I wasn't able to find any previous race recaps for the race and foolishly thought since we were so close to the coast that we would be able to see water during the run (nope), so the course meandered through various neighborhoods before heading back to the YMCA. I didn't take many pictures during the race, mostly because there wasn't much to see besides neighborhood roads. I did have a lot of bees to contend with as the roadsides were lined with honeysuckle and other various flowers. Luckily the bees didn't give me too much trouble, but did like buzzing around my head a bit - maybe that means I need to run faster! There were quite a few people embracing the funky monkey theme with gorilla / monkey / banana costumes or themed-prints which was fun, but it was so hot that I think most people were just ready to get back in the air conditioning! There was a lot of shade on the course which was really helpful and made it a much more pleasant morning. I struggled a bit after having not run anything consistent in a long time trying to do two races in one weekend (plus a big hike the previous afternoon), but I still finished in 2:27:13, so I was happy with that result.
I do love the race shirt and medal and Ocean State Multisport has a lot of fun race themes, and given the RDs accommodations / speech before the half marathon, I'd definitely recommend this series to anyone who wants to do a race in the Massachusetts / Rhode Island area. They even worked it out with the YMCA that we were able to go take showers after our race which was awesome since I then had a several hour drive up to Portland, ME ahead of me.

There was also a pretty good finish line spread - since we ended at the YMCA, people were milling about in the park nearby where there was pizza, yogurt and various snacks. Once I stopped running, it actually felt like a pretty nice day outside, so I spent some time chatting with some of the other runners before heading out to explore a bit more.

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