The Galveston Marathon & Half Marathon was held on Sunday, January 27th, 2013, in Galveston, Texas. Entry fees ranged from $65 to $105, depending on which race you signed up for, and when you signed up. I paid $90 for the half, 6 days before the event!
Overall, I think this is a GREAT race, especially if you are into the following:
- Small races that are easy to manage.
- Want to win an award (generally smaller race field = less competition)
- Don’t need an expo!
First and foremost, there is no expo for this event. I think that is FANTASTIC! I like ease and convenience for most races, and will always forgo a trip to the expo if a friend can pick my stuff up for me! For this race, they had 4 different dates, times, and locations where you could grab your packet, including one in town, and also an option for out-of-towners to get their packet RACE MORNING!!!! Wow! That is great marketing, because some people who live in smaller towns 2-3 hours away don’t want to drive all the way in just to get their packet. Bravo.
So, Galveston is about 60 or so miles away from where I live in Houston (it is a coastal town just south of the city; we simply call it going to “the beach”). The race was scheduled to start at 7:30am, so I headed out from my house at 5:30, went by my mom’s, and we were on our way.
We got in to town at about 6:35, so we pit-stopped at a Starbucks to potty break, and so the two princesses could get their special coffee (I say that because I was jealous….I would have loved a latte, but I am not a pre-race coffee drinker like some).
Well, the restroom line was WAY longer than I expected (great minds think alike?), so the clock was ticking and we were approaching 7am, so I started getting a little anxious. Turns out, we were a mere 3 blocks from the start line. So we borrowed our convenient Starbucks parking spot for another 30 minutes and walked over!
Note, there was street parking all over, and it still looked readily available within approx 6 blocks when we arrived at 6:45am. So there was that cheap and easy option, but there were also 2 parking garages very close by, one for $3 and another for $5! Parking options = amazing for a race!
With my super cheerleaders/photographers/drivers – Mom and bestest friend, Brittany! (don’t be mad I posted this picture without your make up on!)
While we were walking around looking for Christa, we ran into my buddy, Emily, so Emily & decided we’d start the race together.
Don’t you love capturing the expressions of those around you??
I always like to get to the front, but I didn’t want to get too close this race, since I wasn’t going nuts and trying to PR or anything. But, because it was a smaller race, we just walked off the side walk, right into the starting area, and ended up about 20 rows back from the line.
The start area was not crowded at all, plenty of room to hang with family and friends, stretch, or do whatever you want! This would be a great family race, or a race where you want the hubs and kids to see you off!
So the gun went off PROMPTLY at 7:30, and we crossed the starting line, oh, 18 seconds later or something! It was great. I had told Emily I was looking at a 10ish minute pace, but of course I got carried away and found myself finishing mile 1 at slightly under a 9 minute pace. As I was entering the second mile, I felt a tap on the shoulder. There was Christa saying hi, and asking, “So, how is that 10 minute mile treating ya?!” Hahahaha, I knew I should slow down, and I did..somewhat.
The course took us through The Strand (historic downtown area of Galveston), then up to the Seawall (the seawall was built in the early 1900′s to prevent hurricane storm surges from flooding the entire island. It is a different feel and landscape than most beaches. Look it up!). We came out at the Seawall near the recently finished Pleasure Pier (think Santa Monica Pier), and headed right down the Seawall. I positioned Mom & B here, as we were doing a short out and back loop.
There weren’t many spectators, but I was stuck in a nice crowd of runners that kept me entertained. The weather was great (although warmer than it was initially supposed to be, about 63) and there was a nice sea breeze, but nothing too detrimental to a time goal.
This is what I got to look at for about 40% of the race. Nice view if you are a beach lover!
Mom and B were right there to say hi, and offer me a water or banana, I declined both. Water/gatorade stations were set up every 1.5 miles, and they were right on point, almost exactly. I remember at one water stop, probably around mile 6 or 7, where the volunteers were also handing out Gu. I didn’t need one, but thought that was a great gesture for a small race.
After we did the first short out and back, we passed by the Pleasure Pier, and continued on up the Seawall headed East. This was approx mile 7 and Mom and B were here and handed me a banana, which was my only nutrition besides Gatorade and salt tabs. When you get down to that end of the Island, you near East Beach, where the Seawall falls away and you enter a little village area with a few resorts and super nice, extra large beach houses. We ran along this meandering road for another 2-3 miles until they curve you back up to the main road. Cars could drive on one lane of the road, but honestly I never saw many cars, and felt very safe with the set up the entire way.
After you get back on the main road, you start heading back towards the Strand and the Finish Line. The guy here in red was running with his wife. At around mile 9, the wife told me congrats and asked how far along I was, etc. They passed me. So here, I was super pumped to be passing them up at mile 11. (They were long gone once I crossed the finish line, its the small things that count when you are pregnant and can’t go all out!!!).
I probably passed 20+ people the last two miles. For me, that was a VICTORY. I finished in 2:06.
Again, at the finish line, it was easy to meet up with friends and family. They had free massages, free pizza, and a few other things. It was a great outdoor “party” atmosphere. I signed up a massage, waited about 10 minutes, and my name was called.
Oh ya, I forgot, I also forgot I had make up on…..when I finished, I poured water all over my face to wipe away the salt crystals. Hey, Sexy Lady!
I liked this race; it’s a good small-sized race. The supports were kind of meager, but, it is a great location and very easy for your people to see you at multiple spots. This is aided by the fact that there are two short out-and-backs on either end of the course.
Everything was well organized and EASY. This is so key to me! I do NOT like getting to races an hour or more before they start!
I would note that the weather will always be hit or miss. You won’t generally see any 80 degree weather, but this day, the temperature did hit something like 73. So be prepared for some warmth, especially if you are doing the full! The sea breeze definitely helps though!
I would definitely do this race again.
Oh ya, and my friend Christa won 2nd in her age group for the full, our other friend was right behind her taking 3rd.
Even crazier, my husband’s business associate’s wife (did you get all that) took FIRST in her age group! And it was her FIRST marathon. She had the flu during Houston, so missed it and hopped into the next available marathon. Nuts.