Battle Creek Half Marathon

This recap will be a little different than normal.  I was a pacer for the 11 min/mile group for the inaugural BCHM, so this is more my experience with that and my overall thoughts on the race.  I will still list my splits though!  😉

Friday from noon to 8 pm was packet pick up so Kevin and I headed up to Battle Creek to get my pacer gear and also grab Dare’s 5k packet.  We got there around 6:45 pm and got our stuff.  This is my first complaint.  I was signed up months and months ago, as a pacer I got everything the standard runner got and also a special pacing tank and pace band.  I had ordered a women’s small shirt but when I arrived they had given them all away.  They had not put the shirts for preregistered separate from that of the ones that were registering that  day.  So I ended up with a mens small that doesn’t fit properly at all.  Then I headed to get my pacer tank and they had also given away my small tank.  I was the only one that had ordered a small and yet they gave it to someone else.  I wasn’t even at the race yet and already had 2 things not going well.  The RD said she would send an email to the other pacers to see if I could get my tank in the am but I already knew it wasn’t going to happen.

Saturday morning Dare and I headed out early as we had a 7 am start time which I was very happy about.  With the weather being so crazy lately the earlier the start the better chances of it staying cool! 🙂  Speaking of cool, the charity partner for this race was The Battle Buddy Foundation a non profit organization that provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD, TBI, or physical limitations at no cost.  🙂

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

When we got to the race we got our stuff around and I found some extra safety pins to make the tank tighter around the neck so it didn’t keep falling off my shoulders and then lined up for our official pacer photo.

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

Up until about 10 minutes prior to the race start we had all been scrambling to find our pace signs.  Once we had them we got lined up and it was just in time!  As in only took a few minutes for the runners to locate their correct group and the race started right on time!!  There were about 500 runners in the half so you could really hear the excitement in the air.

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

The race heads out near the airport and heads over onto airport grounds as you run.  You run a total of the first 5.5 miles on airport grounds while the annual Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival is going on.  This meant we got to see a ton of hot air balloons taking off and in flight.  They went right over our heads and made the first half of the race really fly by as a great distraction from running.fun3  Our pace group was having a blast as Eric (the other pacer) and I tried to keep the mood light and fun without getting off pace.  Mile 1: 10:55, mile 2: 10:54, mile 3: 10:56, mile 4: 11:02 and mile 5: 10:57.

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

At mile 5 we ran right by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds which was a lot of fun for our runners!

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

We were right on pace and really enjoying the scenery.

Thunder Over South Georgia Air Show

This changed as we exited the airport grounds.  The course heads out and around some local neighborhoods.  The crowd support was pretty great and the aid stations were amazing but as for scenery.  Not much to look at.  This part was truly all residential normalcy.  As we ran we kept checking on our group that was slowly starting to dwindle down.  As we got closer to mile 10 we were doing everything we could to keep our group focused and having fun.  I loved this part the most.  Helping others fight through their mental battles and let their bodies do the work.  It really pays off more than you would think!  🙂

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

Mile 6: 10:59, mile 7: 10:50, mile 8: 10:52, mile 9: 10:45, mile 10: 10:54.  The only real hill on the course was right at mile 10 so we made sure to keep the motivation coming and everyone did a great job getting up it with minimal complaining!  🙂   As we got closer to the finish Eric and I started noticing that the course was seeming short.  We couldn’t see it actually making then entire 13.1 so we tried our hardest to hope that it would.  At mile 12.5 we knew that wasn’t the case.IMG_4563 Mile 11: 10:51, mile 12: 10:57, mile 13: 8:38 (only .78 of a mile).  Total 12.78 miles in 2:19:36 for a 10:55 average.  We were right where we wanted to be but with a course that short it really did put a damper on things.  On the bright side their post race snacks/drinks were the best I have ever had. IMG_4562

They had chocolate milk, juice, water, fruit snacks, pretzels, clif bars and more.  Each drink was ice cold and they had plenty of it.  The aid stations had been the same way, fully stocked with Nuun and water along with plenty of volunteers!  They also had pretty great medals that were nice and heavy! IMG_4557

Dare also did great in the 5k!  He ended up 2nd in his AG with a PR time!

Prints and digital files available at http://bit.ly/16BattleCreek

When Dare and I left we headed to get some ice cream from a local joint he had been begging me to take him too.  I had an Donut Sundae which was pretty darn good!IMG_4566

Overall this race was great!  They only had three things that really got to me and only one of those (the short course) may have upset others.  I know I am more than willing to run this race again and know that with their second year they will make the improvements needed to have a spot on course and continue to grow as an event.

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13 thoughts on “Battle Creek Half Marathon

  1. It’s too bad the course was short! I bet some of your group were very disappointed. I think pacing sounds like SUCH a fun, inspiring experience. I’m not a “steady” enough runner to pace people; I think my splits would be all over the place. I appreciate pacers who know how to be consistent!

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    • Consistency is huge for sure! I know I felt really bad for those runners that really wanted to PR and ended up with a short course. I think you would be a great pacer at the right speed. You have been running long enough you would really be able to motivate and push the runners.

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  2. I’m glad I saw your post because we’d thought about this one and I was curious how it went. I wasn’t recovered enough from my marathon to pull off a half yet, and it may be for the best. I’d be very frustrated by the short course and t-shirt issues. The balloons and planes would have been fun to see though! Hopefully they get kinks worked out and continue this race in the future so we can hit it another year.

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    • The people hosting the race were great! They really worked very hard for this and I am sure it will be better next year. I know that this race is going to get better and better and the years continue.

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    • Being a pacer is a lot of fun, you should try it out. My normal half pace is around 8:45 to 9 and for this one I ran 11. It is possible to hold the pace as long as it is one slower than yours, so you aren’t racing it. 🙂

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  3. Great job as a pacer! The only time I’ve seen a pacer was for the honolulu marathon but I know they came from Japan for their group of people (the sports club teams) and they were wearing these silly hats with a backpack with the time pinned on the back. It helped a lot to kind of know where I was with the finish time, so I am grateful for these pacers!
    The hot air balloon show and the airplanes must have been a show! I don’t mind running through the residential areas just because I like looking at some of these gorgeous houses and how they landscape. Sorry to hear about your shirt and tank top…. that really sucks when they do things like that.

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  4. Ugh about the t-shirt. I did a triathlon once where the same thing happened…I had registered early, but they gave away all of the smalls to people registers on site. I now have a medium that I only wear to bed because it just looks too big to wear in public. 😐 Neat that you were a pacer though! That seems like a challenge even if it is slower than you normally go. 🙂

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