Heritage Half Marathon - Haymarket, VA - October 2013
|Heritage Half Marathon race shirt|
I was already scheduled to do an 18 mile run with 14 miles at marathon pace on this day. So, I figured that this would be a good substitute. A couple of miles for a warm up and a couple of miles for a cool down, with a half marathon in the middle. The only difference is that I was planning on running this race faster than my marathon pace, which is only around 7:00/mile. I set my half marathon PR of 1:25:33 (6:31/mile pace) last October at the Wilson Bridge Half, so I would be attempting to beat that time. I was hoping to hold a steady 6:25/mile pace, and finish in the 1:24s, or maybe 1:23s if it was a good day.
|Heritage Half Marathon finisher medal|
I wore a trash bag over my body to stay dry until the race started. It was really pouring! Finally the race began, and 410 half marathoners set out in a driving rain. I knew that I wanted to average a 6:25 mile pace, but this course had some hills, so I would have to be strategic about it. There would be some places where I would lose time, and some places where I could make it up. (See elevation map below)
|Heritage Half Marathon - elevation map|
|Age group award - plaque|
Finally, clothes drenched in rain, I entered the brightly lit Battlefield High School stadium, took a lap around the track, and crossed the finish line 10th place overall and 2nd place in my age group with a time of 1:23:56 (6:24/mile pace). (Race Results) This beat the PR I set last year by almost 2 minutes!
|A rainy day with a happy ending!|
Despite the terrible weather, this race ended up working out really well for me. I set a new PR, won an age group award, and felt really confident about my chances of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. According to MacMillan's Pace Calculator, my half marathon time of 1:23:56 translates to a 2:56 marathon - and all I need is 3:10 to qualify for Boston.
I would strongly recommend this race if you are looking for a cheap (only $40) half marathon that is easy to get to, with ample parking, where you don't have to get there too early, deal with big crowds, corrals, and general race hoopla. You get a really nice long sleeve technical shirt and medal, in addition to abundant age group awards. There is also a 5k, if you don't feel like going 13.1.