I ran the 2012 Little Miami Half-Marathon this past Sunday, August 19th, as my second half of the year, and part of my training for the Columbus Marathon. The race was conveniently held on the weekend that my schedule called for a half, it was only a couple hours away, in Morrow, Ohio, just North of Cincinnati, and the price was right: $40.
It was not huge race, a half and 10k combined, with less than 500 runners for the half. Nor was there a race expo, pasta dinner, goody bag, or other such thrills. None of that really mattered to me anyway. However, I was a little frustrated to pre-register and then watch the last shirt in my size be handed to someone else. I don't usually wear technical shirts from races, but I did pay for it.
The course was out-and-back along a nice scenic bike trail, surrounded by trees and overlooking water. There were a few road crossings, but police were present and directing traffic. The start took place on a city street, a block or so before runners hit the trail. This seemed to help keep the start from being too congested.
The weather was great, with temperatures in the low 60s at the start, and the trail was relatively flat, which made for a fast race. It seemed that much of the first 6.5 miles was a gradual incline, but it also meant that the last half was slightly down hill. I think the ideal conditions were a key factor in helping me to improve upon my last half by over 6 minutes, with an official chip time of 1:36:12, a 7:18 mile pace. I met and surpassed my goal of running sub 1:40. Hopefully, that this means my training is going well.
The food at the race was okay. There were a several aid stations that had water or sports drink. I believe it was Gatorade and Heed at the turnaround? After the race, they had a several vegan options, including bottles of sports drink (though I think they ran out later in the race), plain and cinnamon raisin bagels, boxes of Wheaties, and bananas and oranges. I stuck with the fruit and later ate vegan brunch (a bit of a rarity) at Melt in Cincinnati on the drive home.
My time of 1:36:12 was good enough to place in the top 40. I was 39th overall, out of 403 finishers, and 7th in the 20-29 age group, out of 30 runners. I think the race was just about large enough to divide the race into 5 year age groups, rather than 10. However, I was glad to meet my personal goal and set a PR.