Monday, January 20, 2014
Key West Half Shell Half Marathon Key West, Florida Sunday, January 19, 2014 Weather wise it was a near perfect day when I race walked the Key West Half Shell Half Marathon in Key West, Florida on Sunday, January 19, 2014. The temperature ranged from 60 to 67 degrees with completely clear skies and 10 to 15 mph winds from the NNW, a direction from which almost all the course was sheltered. The course was on paved streets and sidewalks that I thought would be more crowded than it was for the 2500 entries. The middle of the pack did experience some crowded areas, especially between miles 6 and 7 where the turn around for the mainly out and back course was located. I avoided most of the crowding by starting near the end of the field which caused the middle of the pack to be further in front of me. There were six water stations, five of which were used in both directions and the plentiful enthusiastic volunteers did an excellent job of taking care of the needs of the participants. One excellent idea for the water stations was that the approximately 5 tables at each station were separated by 30 to 40 feet which made access to the water easier for the participants. There were also a large number of police and volunteers to control the traffic at intersections and direct participants at the turns which were also marked by arrows on the streets and sidewalks. Last year there was not enough space for the packet pick-up activities and this year that problem was eliminated. The post race area was somewhat crowded this year, however. The event has really grown in size the last couple of years and I hope it does not get much bigger because I want the event to continue to be fun and enjoyable. I also hope that the event continues to use the current course with the section from miles 5.5 to 8 using the sidewalk for the out going participants and the right roadway lane for the returning participants. I also hope that the old course which crossed US 1 near mile 6 not be used as crossing US 1 with a field the size of the current event would require the roadway to be complexly closed for nearly an hour which would block the only way in or out of Key West and would be quite upsetting to the people not participating in the event. As in the past I enjoyed this hometown event that was well organized and fun to do.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Sunday, January 05, 2014
De Leon Springs Half Marathon De Leon Springs, Florida Sunday, January 5, 2014 On Sunday, January 5, 2014 I race walked the De Leon Springs Half Marathon in De Leon Springs, Florida. The temperature varied from 59 to 70 with mostly sunny skies and almost no wind. The approximately 200 participants saw an out and back course, 12.5 miles of paved roads and the rest a sandy road. The roads were open to traffic; however, there was very little and most respected the participants by driving slow and carefully to keep everyone safe and happy. There was one police officer patrolling the course which had no crossroads and very few side roads and driveways. For the most part the course was flat with almost no change in elevation. There were four water stations along the course which served participants in both directions, making the spacing every 1.5 to 2.5 miles between the stations. There was only a need for a few volunteers at each station to take care of the needs of the participants. The volunteers were friendly, efficient, and offered encouragement to the participants. Only the station at miles 6 and 7 served Gatorade in addition to water. I would have preferred to have Gatorade at all stations. The race was very well organized and used chip timing. Because of a large number of last minute entries, there were not enough finisher’s medals for the finishers that took more than 2:45. The race director took names and promised to send medal to the ones that did not receive theirs upon finishing. I enjoyed the event and have now reached a total of 250 race walking marathons (135) and half marathons (115).