Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon Race Review

It's been almost a month since I ran the Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon, so this recap is way overdue!!
I haven't seen any other CDA recaps online, so maybe this will prove helpful to someone thinking about running the race next year.

This race was a lot of fun.  I think I'll try to run it every year (but maybe not race it!), because it's on a beautiful course, the perfect size and just plain fun.

It starts out in the Riverstone development (a kind of outdoor shopping area close to, but not in, downtown and just off of the interstate).  Packet pickup is super easy and there is not really an expo, but you can browse the stores in Riverstone and Fleet Feet set up a both too.  I liked the race shirt (tech long-sleeve, white) and I've already worn it a bunch.  Plus, it only says "Marathon" and not "Half Marathon" so you get to look like a full marathoner.  Ha!

The full marathon starts 30 minutes before the half, and then they kind of loop around so that the half start folds in to them so both groups are running together for approximately half of the half marathon distance.  (Does that make sense?  We ran together until the turn-around point for the half)  There were a lot more runners doing the half as opposed to the full.

The weather was gorgeous and cool at the start.  I rode my bike down to the starting line, and that was probably the coldest bike ride of my life, ha!  I found my training buddy at the start (we had done nearly all of our long runs together) but since she was aiming for 10 min miles and I was aiming for 9 min miles, we split up pretty quickly.

There are no pacers or waves, the race is small enough that its easy enough to just start at once.

The first mile was super crowded since we were all crammed in one lane on Northwest Boulevard, the main drag into downtown.  This police car was actually cruising down the lane next to us with an officer on the loudspeaker repeating "you are off the course!" to anyone who was running on the outside of the cones.

The route is gorgeous because it has a lot of shade, runs through some lovely neighborhoods and along the lakeshore and on our great paved trail.  The full marathoners continue out to Higgins Point and then retrace their steps back along the same route as the halfers.  There were plenty of water/gatorade stops and the volunteers were super positive and helpful.

The only downside was the finish was very disorganized and there were only 2 people pouring water into small cups for finishers.  There were tons of people waiting for water and this was just taking too long.  Individual bottles of water would have been much more efficient.  They have a live band at the finish so it was quite a festive atmosphere.  The full marathon was not a Boston Qualifier this year because of construction going on downtown, but the construction doesn't block the course, I think they just had to change it around some.  I would describe it as a rolling course, and hill training definitely helps.

Other than the lack of drinks at the finish, I would definitely recommend this race to start off your summer!

The final 400m, up the hill and then they turn right to the finish line.

My little guy enjoyed the spectacle!

Post race breakfast at Le Peep - a MUST!  It is delicious!

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