Race 13.1 Richmond: A Graduation, A Half Marathon, & Mother’s Day Weekend
Note to readers – the editor has been tired. She admits to falling short on getting posts out there. So yes, this post is from MONTHS ago (we are no where near Mother’s Day right now) and is a little bit late, but better late than never, right?!
Christmas was the last time that I was able to spend a week with my son and his girlfriend. When my son left for California, I knew it would be a long time before we would be in the same time zone again. Since then, we’ve stayed in contact through FaceTime and text messaging — Thank goodness for modern technology! Even so, it was also sad saying good-bye to his girlfriend when she left for Virginia, but I knew that I would be seeing her at her college graduation on May 9th.
When I began training for a May marathon, I was concerned about the 13 mile run scheduled for the weekend of the graduation: Should I run the miles before I left on the trip, find a running group in the area, venture out on my own, or adjust my schedule? I knew that attending the graduation and spending time with family was going to be my top priority for the weekend, which meant I was super happy when I discovered that a race was scheduled in Richmond, Virginia the day after graduation. Thank you Race 13.1 Richmond for picking this day for a 5K, 10K, and half marathon! My problems were solved!
Or so I thought. About 10 minutes into our trip, my husband and I were stuck in traffic. And this ended up being the theme of the day with 45-60 minutes added to our travel time. But, we made it, safe and sound, and Friday was a busy, happy day: graduation, brunch, and packet pickup. At an 11 o’clock ceremony, my son’s girlfriend received her Master’s diploma from Virginia Commonwealth University.
After hugs and congratulations, everyone headed to her apartment for brunch – lots of vegetarian options (thanks to my son’s girlfriend and her mom) and mimosas! It was a great ceremony and visit, but also a little sad because my son was not able to be with us.
Keeping on with the busy day, next on my agenda was packet pickup at Fleet Feet Sports (a local running store) and dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to find Ponya Bands at Fleet Feet! (This is our fave headband, and it’s made near us in Louisville, Kentucky!) I discovered that the owner of Fleet Feet Sports previously worked with the owner of Ponya Bands and that the bands are actually popular at his store. What a small world we live in!
Next up, Saturday morning and the race!
After consuming my usual banana, peanut butter, and Gatorade in the morning, it was time to head out — wearing my Athleta Chi tank and Ponya Band, of course! This was already my 3rd half marathon of the year. So, I had recent comparisons in mind when I was running it. Race 13.1 Richmond starts and ends at the Richmond International Raceway and includes a lap on the ¾ mile NASCAR race track. Running on the track was definitely the highlight of the race!
That said, there were things I liked and didn’t like about the race.
- Lots of parking at the race site, so no need for gear check
- The Raceway’s bathrooms were available – no porta potties!!!
- Lots of communication before and after the race
- Pizza, water, bananas, and oranges at the finish
- A foam roller and mat was available for runners
- Most of the race was run inside the raceway property, so a bit boring
- The race surface switches between paved and rutted gravel paths (I was constantly worrying about twisting an ankle)
- There were not enough aid stations for the hot temperature
- Very small race: 377-half marathon finishers, 63-10K finishers, and 37-5K finishers (but this can be a positive for some runners who don’t like crowds and it made for more opportunities for age group wins)
- After leaving the race track area, there was no course or crowd support
- No chocolate milk at the finish
I felt the negatives far outweighed the positives for this race and, unless changes are made, I would not run it again. Based on a response I received after the post-race survey, I think changes will be made:
“Thank you for running with us this weekend in Richmond! We appreciate your feedback on our post-race survey, and we will be making significant changes to this course for next year so that we can provide you with the first-class experience that is consistent with how Race 13.1 produces events.”
Overall, it was a great weekend. I was able to visit with my son’s girlfriend and her family, run in a half marathon, and place 2nd in my age group. And guess what, my husband was 1st in his age group in the 10K!
And I got to have Mother’s Day dinner with my oldest son. There are perks in having an older child – he paid for dinner.