Minnesota Half Marathon Race Recap
The 2014 Minnesota Half Marathon and 5k were Saturday, August 2. Participants could complete the course by foot, skate, or could both run and skate in the duathlon. My husband and I both ran the half marathon.
It was a hot and sticky morning, but we enjoyed our run and, of course, followed it up with a nice big brunch at Colossal Café. We earned every bit of those savory biscuit breakfast sandwiches and yeasty pancakes.
First and foremost, I love that this race exists to benefit the Upper Midwest chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities which, according to their website, helps families stay together when a child has a health crisis. That’s something I can stand behind.
The timing of the race was perfect. I’m training for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, and my plan had me running 13 miles over the weekend anyway. Why not run it with a bunch of other people? Fitting races in as part of a training plan always jazzes me up for the bigger events.
The organization of the “stuff” before and after the race was very smooth. Packet pickup was a breeze. I showed up to the Union Depot in St. Paul and picked up bibs and shirts for myself, my husband, and a friend. The whole process took me all of 3 minutes. Transportation to and from the race was also easy. There was ample and very inexpensive parking in the ramp next to the Science Museum.
The Minnesota Half Marathon course itself was pretty. We started along the river south of downtown St. Paul and ran a couple miles northeast before turning around and heading southwest. We stayed on Shepard Road for several miles before turning around for the finish. An out-and-back style race isn’t always my favorite, but the scenery along the Mississippi River was just another reminder that we live in a beautiful area. There were some beautiful sites. The rolling hills and abundance of trees left me feeling all the more fond of this part of the state.
Speaking of those rolling hills…holy hill! The website didn’t have an elevation map, and we didn’t bother to scope out the course ahead of time. And, admittedly, we don’t frequent St. Paul so just aren’t as familiar with the terrain. We heard in advance that the course had rolling hills, but we weren’t prepared to run hills the entire time. So, that made for a fun surprise. It’s a pretty course, but some of what is pretty is also what is challenging if you haven’t been running many hills (ahem… guilty).
I was also left wanting with the water stops. I try so hard not to complain about volunteers because we all know they make the race happen. Without them, we would have no water at all. However, there were several that seemed understaffed, and not all runners reaching for cups were getting them without stopping. A few more hands would have helped a lot.
The only other thing that I found to be a bummer – though not easily adjusted – was the lack of crowd. Most of the course runs along Shepard Road, and we didn’t have spectators for about 80% of the race. I get energy from a cheering crowd, so it was disappointing that there wasn’t more of one.
All in All
All in all, the Minnesota Half Marathon was a decent race. I came in at 1:51 and was just fine with that given the heat and my lack of preparation for the hills. Would I run it again? Maybe, though I wouldn’t scramble to make it happen. It was part of the Minnesota Running Series.
Did/have you run the Minnesota Half Marathon? What did you think?