September 20, 2014
This half marathon wasn't originally on my radar. I needed to pick up a half this weekend because the Women Rock event changed their date from the 20th to the 27th. At first I was eye-balling the Heritage Haul Half Marathon in South Holland, IL. But the Hodson Half appeared in an email from Active.com and since it was closer – taking place in Marion, IN - and cheaper, it became the winner. I was even able to register on-line without any fees or taxes. Unheard of!! Total cost was $45.
EVENT INFORMATION: The Hodson Half offers a half marathon & a 10K run/walk in Marion, IN beginning & ending on the beautiful Indiana Wesleyan University campus. Race day registration opens at 7:30AM and races begin at 9:00AM by Hodson Hall in the IWU Campus. A portion of all proceeds benefit the United Way of Grant County.
MapQuest told me that it would talk approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there from my house but I was going to give myself 2 1/2 hours to get there. So my alarm was set for 5:00AM.
I had the directions printed out and I had OnStar dialed in but for some reason, I wasn’t paying attention or following along correctly. I would later figure out that – although I basically knew how to get to Marion – I wasn’t taking the most direct route so I missed my turn. And after a few miles of being “recalculated” I was still uneasy about my route and just decided to get back in Interstate 69. This would take me a smidge out of my way but being able to drive 70+ miles per hour (or a little faster) would make up the difference in my mind. And that is also why you give yourself a good cushion with the driving time frame.
And as with all of my half marathons, I want to fully take advantage of the journey during them and leading up to them, had I not “gone the wrong way” I may have missed these adorable street signs in the town of Gas City that I passed through before arriving in Marion, IN.
Even with my driving snafu, I still made it to the campus with plenty of time.
The first order of business after I parked was to find a bathroom. I was super excited to see folks coming out of the main building which meant INDOOR/REAL BATHROOMS!!!
Just on the other side of this building was packet pickup. Got my bib, timing chip, goodie bag and shirt then headed back to the car to get everything situated.
I wasn’t sure what the shirt would be like and if I’d be able to wear it during the race so I actually stop at Walmart shortly after leaving my house on the way up and bought a new plain white tech shirt. The one I was wearing was old and dingy looking. I was super excited that the race shirt was red. Believe it or not…I don’t have a red tech shirt. So back in to the Phillippe Performing Arts Center to put on the shirt. I probably should have requested a medium – although I don’t remember knowing they were gender specific - because it was a little tight and the neck hole seemed really small. Oh well.
It was chilly and breezy while waiting to get my packet and at that time I wished I’d had a throw away with me but the forecast was on tap to be a pleasant day for running.
I started walking around taking some pictures and then saw they were conducting a pre-race meeting. Didn’t know that was to take place! So I hurried over. I doubt that I missed much of anything.
Then it was time to head over to the start line. It was a gun start; no timing mat. After a prayer, we were off.
Essentially, this was a 10K course and the half marathoners would do it twice.
We started on the campus, ran across one of the main roads (Adams Street), through a grassy area and then on a side road (Meridian Street).
This would take us to our first aid station. We would turn right onto 33rd street and run for barely a tenth of a mile before entering the Cardinal Greenway. This was the prettiest section of the course.
We would be on the Cardinal Greenway (CG) for about 2 1/2 miles. Not long after the 2 mile marker were some porta potties and an aid station. From a distance I could see the table set up and what appeared to be unopened supplies but no people. I thought maybe the volunteers were running late and since I didn't feel like I needed anything, it wasn’t a big deal to me that it was “unmanned” and I passed it by.
This sign was on the Cardinal Greenway and located in the ugliest portion of the trail. To the side was some fenced off electrical/energy power area. Obviously I have no idea what it is really called! This area was also open and exposed.
After leaving the CG, we were routed down some various back roads, through a neighborhood and then entered the campus again. The half marathoners had to veer off slightly and run about a 1/4 mile lollipop by the track & field area of the campus. As we entered this loop, a signed let us know we were at mile six. As we were exiting, the next sign let us know we were officially halfway. Humorous.
Then it was past the pond and time to run the route again. I took most of my pictures while running the course the first time around.
Once back on the CG and approaching the aid station that wasn’t manned the first time around, I noticed that there was an older gentleman sitting there. So I stopped and asked if they were out of supplies. He said no and pointed to the jug of unopened water and the unopened sleeve of cups. I don’t know if this guy had never done this before and no one gave him instructions but this was basically self-serve. I thought about mentioning to him that it would be helpful to runners to have some of this pre-poured but I was sure there weren’t many behind me and no need to waste supplies so I poured my own cup of water and moved on. That was definitely a first for me.
More signs from the course. Some were more “entertaining” than others.
We had to cross a railroad track four times (twice during each loop) and that always makes me nervous. As if my finishing time isn't slow enough, I would HATE to get stopped by a train. And there was one small hill/incline between mile 4 & 5 (which was also mile 11 the second time around) and I did walk up most of it. This road was also not closed and some people were driving down that hill fast!
The aid station just before mile 12 was out of cups so I was given a large bottle of G2 to take with me. I felt bad wasting most of it. But then the aid station after mile 12 was still full of supplies. RANDOM!
Back on campus and we make the turn to run past the President’s House.
Another turn and then it was on to the finish line.
Technically I took those last few pictures after crossing the finish line and getting my medal. It was a nice cool down. Then I headed over to see what they were serving for lunch. Holy Cow - it was a full spread.
This was my plate. I saved those brownies and took them home to my husband but I ate the cookies. The lemonade hit the spot. And the chicken was really good. I even ate the skin. I cant even tell you the last time I did that.
There was only an overall male and overall female winner and then they had some raffle drawings but I didn’t win anything. So it was time to get back in the car and drive home.
This was really small race. Only 45 people did the half marathon. The medal was just a “sticker” medal but I tried to keep in mind the size of the event and that proceeds were going to the United Way.
I don’t know why I would ever do this race again but I would recommend it to someone. It was pretty good for $45.