On April 12th, I ran the Loudoun Half in Ashburn. Since I’m not one for very detailed race reports, the long story short is that the weather was great, the race was well-run, and I finished in 2:05:30.
If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that I really wanted to break 2:00 hours in a half marathon this year. While I didn’t achieve my sub-2:00 half marathon goal at this race, it went better than the half marathon I ran last month.
First of all, there was no rain. It was colder than I would have liked at the start, but by the end of the race, the weather was beautiful. Second of all, I was able to stay close to my goal pace for most of the race. After 9 miles, I was still on pace for 2:00 (1:22:20 total time, which is just under 9:09 pace). Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold on until 13.1.
Alyssa prepared me well (as always), but I wasn’t able to execute. No excuses.
Speaking of, I had heard the course was “hilly” and I don’t think that’s really accurate. The difficulty is that the last few miles are a long gradual incline and that is challenging only because of where it occurs in the race. I don’t necessarily think this is PR course, but I also don’t think it’s a super challenging course.
This is definitely a race I would do again, for many reasons:
- The registration fee was quite reasonable, as compared with other half marathons.
- There was plenty of parking by the start & finish area and it was easy to exit the parking lot after the race.
- The course was not over-crowded (so many races seem overcrowded these days!).
- The race benefits Loudoun County cross country and track & field teams.
- Race photos are FREE!
That being said, I do think there are two things that could be improved for next year:
- While I loved having real bathrooms, there simply were not enough and right before the race start several of us ended up using the men’s bathroom to avoid missing the start.
- I would also prefer more frequent water stops along the course, so that it isn’t necessary to carry your own fluids. That is especially true since the temperature could be quite warm at this race by the finish.
I would also note that there is virtually no spectator support along the course, so I wouldn’t recommend this as a first half marathon. I think it’s fun to experience the cheers at Rock ‘n’ Roll or one of the other bigger races for your first half.
This is probably my last running race report for the foreseeable future. Tri season starts in just a few weeks!