Well I’m happy to say that the New Hampshire curse has been broken! After 3 failed attempts to run in neighboring New Hampshire, I finally succeeded on the fourth attempt — on a glorious-perfect-for-racing autumn day. State #16 in my 50 state challenge is in the bag, so to speak. Race motto: Run Free or Die!
Here’s what I liked about this race:
1) Generous time allowance/walker friendly. Added bonus – an option to start 1/2 hour early for those who needed the extra time. I didn’t, but opted for the early start which was fun because we got to see all the lead runners pass by around Mile 3. I wish more races provided a feature like this. It sort of reminds me of a golf handicap!
2) Beautiful Course — The race organizers promised a course that was flat and fast (of which I am often skeptical). This one delivered as promised, running along the Saco River Valley with only a few significant changes in elevation, a couple of covered bridges, a barn with a giant smiley face on the room, and other local attractions. It’s really interesting to see how different the west side of the Saco River Valley (farms, residences, views) is from the east side (outlet malls, hotels, and restaurants).
3) The weather was perfect. Low 40s at the start, and climbing to 50ish. Cloudy with just a few peeks of sun, and only a slight breeze. Can’t ask for better.
4) Nice medals, nice (except for the color) long sleeve tech shirts and awesome (optional) hooded sweatshirts.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
1) The first five miles on Route 16 — busy, open to traffic, not particularly scenic, except for one spectacular overlook. I could have ignored all of that, but what WAS annoying was that the road has a significant crown for about two miles which made running difficult in that stretch.
2) The big fat uphill right before the finish line. Yup, you had to work for this finish!
This was one of the smallest half marathons I’ve ever done with 500 something participants. So it was a little lonely out there at times, and the crowd support was a little thin, but better than I would’ve expected. So thanks to all and nice job race organizers!