Following the events on Saturday in Seaside Park, the day before the Newport Liberty Half Marathon, it was difficult to know how the organizers would respond. In the weeks after the Boston bombing there was a lot of security at the race, but they had time to prepare. On that occasion they set up a perimeter around the registration and finish line areas and you could not take bags through. That caused inconvenience and, in my mind at least, has no impact at all (it just moves anything that’s going to happen to a different place – you can’t block off an entire course). The organizers handled things very well for the race on Sunday. It was obvious there was more security, but it wasn’t intrusive. An announcement at the start informed us that the entire course had been swept, and I felt that everything was as relaxed as ever.
There didn’t seem to be an impact on numbers with over 2500 finishers. The number of finishers and pre-registered runners seems comparable to 2 years ago. Last year was much lower for both and that was the year when the price jumped from $35 to $50 so perhaps that was the issue – of course, this is still probably the cheapest half marathon around, and hopefully they can keep the prices low.
Out on the course I overheard the usual complaints about the potholes in the first couple of miles, but there were other areas where there seemed to be a definite improvement. The weather made it tough – the humidity was high and it was noticeable among the people I see regularly in NJ races with many of them slipping way down on last year’s performance (me included, but that was, at least in part, due to other factors). At least this year the wind wasn’t strong along the Liberty Park waterfront.
My lack of targeted training had an effect on my race, but my time was almost exactly where I expected it would be. I have had a swollen ankle for a couple of weeks, and running does not seem to make it worse, but just to be sure, I have run less to avoid aggravating anything. When it came to the race this meant that I was testing it out a little at first, which probably saved me in the long run. (Photo around the 2 mile mark.)
My mile splits were fairly consistent but I was also able to pick up some speed later on and it was good to see, in a photo also taken by Ninja, that my form seemed to stay strong.
The humidity caused so much sweating that I could feel it in my shoe and somehow my right shoelace (double knotted) came undone around the 8.5 mile point (my best guess is that it loosened because of how wet it got?). The fix was easy and didn’t cost me too much time.
Did you run this race? How did you feel about it? Any feedback is great, for the last few years I have been lucky enough to be a blog partner of the race, for which I do get a free entry. My blog posts are not influenced by this – I’ve enjoyed this race, and blogged about it, before I became a blog partner. I hope that any feedback or criticism can only help make this race better.
With that said, is there a better way to handle the exit from the parking lot? Half an hour to get out is insane. I recall on a previous occasion (perhaps it was for the 10k) they opened up a different exit which probably made things better. That didn’t seem to be happening this time.