**Disclaimer: I received a free
entry to the First Responder Half Marathon to review as a 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!**
I was really looking forward to running the First Responder Half Marathon for a few weeks.
It was at the end of my Thanksgiving Break and I blindly thought this would be
a great way to end it. Now, with it being Monday, I wish that I had an extra
day before returning back to work. But more importantly, my aunt was going to
meet me in Waco to run her first half marathon. I don’t know why this woman
hasn’t run a half before, she has way more endurance that I do and speed.
Prior to the race North Texas got hit with some heavy rain
and by Thanksgiving evening we had beaten the yearly record for the most rain
in a calendar year, and it did not let up. With Texas not being used to rain
there was a big potential for flooding which has cancel several races up and
down the state this year including the Houston Half Marathon a few weeks prior
as well as the 13.1 series in Dallas. So initially this was a big concern for
travel purposes since it was two hours away.
I brought my mother to tag along, I mean her sister was
going to be there after all, and we left Saturday afternoon and had a pretty
rainy and smooth drive down to Waco. Packet pickup was at Hotel Indigo which
was the host hotel by the start line and it was a nice environment, and it was
your typical small race packet pick up. In and out in minutes, there were maybe
two local vendors there and that was it. The race packet was typical, bib, nice
long sleeve tech shirt, Road ID coupon, race flyers, bracelet and a pencil.
The hotel I
stayed at, because I’m cheap and used priceline express deal, was amazeballs
and I had this ridiculous Pork Belly sandwich. I could eat ten of them. I
didn’t get much sleep the night before and I didn’t really have a true plan for
the race. All I knew was that it was going to be cold and rainy.
This Parking was close and it was short walk over to tent to
get the time chips. They do not use disposable chips so we had to pick them up.
It was a small race ( less than 200 people in the half) surrounded by tons of
first responders out there in the cold rain to give us a proper send off. At
eight on the dot the gun went off and scared most of the runners so we all
froze until they announced that we were supposed to go.
This is a loop course that’s pretty much flat. The roads are
asphalt so there were plenty of cracks and unevenness. I’m personally not a fan
of loop courses because I need that change of scenery but this course actually
brought the loop through the finish line and back out. It was very discouraging
to go through the finish line, see the medal and still have 6.55 miles to go
before you could get it. Especially when it was cold and raining the entire
Nonetheless the course was scenic when you got to run
THROUGH the fire station and running along the Brazos River in the Riverwalk
Park. Then again, when you’re soaking wet and cold you really don’t care to do
that twice. The were plenty of well supporting water stops and amazing
volunteers and first responders who were equally as cold and wet who were out
to make sure I was okay on the course and I cannot thank them enough.
The finish line tunnel was amazing, filled with vehicles with flashing lights there for you. Please excuse the blurriness, but we all know you don’t walk close to the finish line.
There was plenty of post race food but I didn’t really
participate much in that because I was cold and felt an illness coming on. I
gathered my medal, some water, a Bai Guava drink and made the short walk back to
the car. Unfortunately literally fifteen minutes later my medal broke and the
lights no longer work. But did I worry, goodness no, because I still hold it up
and say “beedobeedobeedo” just like the minions.
Overall it was a pretty good race considering the
circumstances. I wasn’t out there to set a PR but to challenge myself to
another half in unfavorable conditions and I did just that. Now I’m thankful for a small break in
my running so I can fully process and think about the month of November and this
whole finishing a Marathon thing.