“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Honor Run Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
If you subscribe to my blog, you already know that I have been looking forward to running the Honor Run Half Marathon in honor of my father-in-law. I was excited and nervous to be a part of a race with such a big mission. In short, here is my review of a race that is 100% worth running!
Race Communications and Packet Pick-up
Communications leading up to race day were great. Emails included all of the info I needed and then some. I live two hours from the race, so I opted for the morning of packet-pickup as there is no expo associated with the race. Parking is free in the Florence Mall parking lot and they open up the (heated) mall to race participants pre-race. I parked near a mall entrance and made my way to check-in; I waited 2 minutes for pickup and immediately checked my bag…super easy! Once I had my bib on, I waited inside where it was warm and contributed to the tribute poster hanging on the wall. I was running for my father-in-law but also had a list of veterans I was running in honor of-many of them family or running club friends.
About 20 minutes before the race start, I headed out to the start/finish line. There were vendors set up, great music blasting and some people said a few words from sponsors and Honor Flight Tri-State. Then it was time to start! The National Anthem was sung and we were told that the American flag hanging from the start/finish line was a flag that was touched by many veterans who made Honor Flight trips to D.C. over the years. We were encouraged to tap/touch the flag as we ran under it; it gave me chills! Such a humbling way to start a race.
As soon as the race started, I thought, wow this is flat. Then we got into mile 2. I had read there were some hills, but after mile 6 I was beginning to think there was a large hill at every .75 of each mile! At mile 7, a woman running next to me asked if there were any downhills to the race, so then I realized I wasn’t imagining the “hilly” areas. We both noted in comparison to what veterans had to go through, we had little to complain about. And so we ran on. There were aid stations every 2 miles with water and Gatorade.
Miles 8-10 were fun because it was an out and back, so you could see many different runners on the course. Many were running together to support each other, carrying American flags and wearing bibs on their backs with the names of veterans they were honoring during this race. I was inspired and motivated. Throughout the course, local veterans and supporters were there to cheer us on. We even had a volunteer doing bike support in case aid was needed. I thought about my father-in-law and my friends and all of the things that they experienced during their service I could never imagine. It was humbling. It was emotional. As I hit mile 11, I realized, “well here we go with the hills again”. The last two hills were pretty steep and this is where I saw many people walking. I was happy to hit the flat road leading into the mall area! The finish line was crowded with people cheering and waving flags!
After getting my amazing medal, I walked behind the finish area and into the post-race area. There was chocolate milk, granola bars, bananas, Gatorade, pretzels and also subs and the coveted Skyline chili dog.
I enjoyed some food while I watched runners finish. I talked to a volunteer and told her thank you for a great race experience. I easily walked to my car, grabbed a dry change of clothes and walked into the very warm mall to change. The bathrooms were large and very clean–always a sight for sore eyes after a race.
Overall, I highly recommend this race if you want a hilly challenge, but also if you were ready to be motivated and inspired. Next year’s race info can be found at their website at https://www.honorrunhalf.com/
Did you run this year’s race? Don’t forget to write your own review of the 2019 Honor Run Half Marathon on bibrave.com