I don’t usually bother with half-marathons unless they are local races and I happen to be in town with nothing else to do. Even though I began my racing career 4 years ago with a half-marathon, I just cannot seem to get excited about them now – they are over too quickly. However, I must confess that at some point in my future, I feel sure that I will come to the realization that 13.1 miles is the perfect distance for me and then I will do as many as I can. But right now, the longer the distance the better and the more challenging.
Then, why do the Tallahassee half? Simple – it gives me a chance to visit with my son and his family and get a training walk in as well. And I can usually convince my son to walk/run it with me. He can do this with no training at all – at 26 years of age, all things are possible. At any rate, we have made this a family tradition for the last 4 years and I enjoy it.
Packet pickup this year was at Tallahassee Community College. There is no real expo but just a few local charities and vendors with tables set up in a hallway. It took us about 5 minutes to get our bib with chip and tech shirt.
The race begins and end on the track at Florida State University. Since Tallahassee weather is usually very cold in February, it’s good to be able to stay warm in the gymnasium and use the indoor restrooms while waiting for the race to start. The course is an out-and-back on city streets with a small section of trail. I think Tallahassee is a beautiful city but this race does not go anywhere near the downtown area with the Capitol and other stately buildings or the attractive parks and scenic areas of the city. Of course, that would have made the course very hilly, and runners like this race because it is so FLAT. Many who do the full marathon manage to qualify for Boston.
Although the full marathon course is open for 6 hours, I have heard from other walkers that aid stations and police close up around 5 hours into the race. For that reason, I would hesitate trying the full, even though I could probably beat that 6 hour limit. Plus, I doubt my son would be willing to do a full 26.2 without training, and I certainly relish the time spent with him on the course (although this year he ran a good bit and stayed several feet ahead of me most of the time).
Even a Florida Gator will concede that the medal is attractive, with a cute little groundhog, and a scarlet and gold lanyard (FSU colors).