Save the Light Half Marathon (1:41:50)

On Saturday, I ran the Save the Light Half Marathon at Folly Beach. Save the Light is a small, low-key half marathon and 5K race to support the preservation of the Morris Island Lighthouse. Although the race is at Folly Beach, it is on a USATF certified road course and the half marathon has a great view of the lighthouse. No beach running is involved, but the view is gorgeous.


I hesitated to sign up for another half so soon, but I’m easily persuaded when my friends sign up for a race. A bunch of the Moore On Running runners were running, and so was my friend David who blogs at DoomBuggyRunner. Other friends were running the Hilton Head Island Marathon and the Delirium 24-Hour Endurance Race. I knew if I didn’t race, I’d have to look at Facebook posts about running and feel like I was missing out. On the last day of January, before the price increase, I paid the $45 and registered.

The race entry fee of $45 was a great deal. In running and life, you get what you pay for, so if a half marathon is only $45, do not expect Disney treatment. Our race “swag” included a long-sleeved cotton shirt, a poster print of the lighthouse, a finisher’s medal, and some light refreshments. Since it’s only 25 minutes from my home, I just picked up my packet the day of the race at The Tides Hotel.


The hotel also offered special rates and late check out for runners from out of town, which made it a great excuse for runners to spend a weekend at Folly Beach. The race began and ended by the hotel, and it was open for runners to hang out and stay warm before and after the race. A bunch of us are in a February plank challenge, so we hung out in the lobby and planked before the race.

Pre-race plank in my pajamas, check! Never mind that I’m looking up at the camera…


The race started promptly at 8:30 and it was a beautiful day. Temperatures were in the 40s with no wind to speak off. With little fanfare at the start, I didn’t get super excited and start too fast.  My strategy was to pace myself, even if it wasn’t a PR. My plan was to run the first few miles just below my average pace for the Charleston Half and see how long I could hang. When you bank time in a half marathon, you pay it back with interest in the last few miles.

All the mile markers were right, and I hit the first mile in 7:40, still a few seconds faster than I wanted, but a lot better than the Charleston Half Marathon where I ran a blazing 7:18 pace the first two miles. My mile 2 split was 7:57 and was my slowest mile. When I saw that, I knew I needed to pick it up just a little because I would have to make up those seconds later in the race to stay on track. Still, I would rather be a little slower in the second mile than too fast.

The first 3 miles of the half marathon are the same course as the 5K, except the 5Kers turned to finish when we kept running. I paced just behind Joyce from Team Utopia South in Columbia and with another guy who was running about my pace. I passed Joyce in mile 4 but cheered her on because I knew she was speedy from seeing her in my friend Alex’s Tour De Blue Shoes blog.


The middle miles of the course were an out-and-back; you ran to the lighthouse and back. I saw some friends ahead of me and gave the ladies hints as to what order they were on the course. I also saw David and friends, as well as the Moore On Runners, and we all cheered for each other by name. That’s the bonus of running with friends and an out-and-back course.

The only complaint I have about this race is that the course is open to cars. The roads are mostly residential, so it’s hard to close them down on a Saturday morning, and the race has grown a lot in the past few years. The volunteers and police did a good job of stopping/blocking traffic, even having a fire truck block one intersection, but if the race continues to grow, I hope the organizers consider closing the course to traffic.

My race started at Mile 8. I dropped the guy I was running by and passed several ladies and a few guys. Only two guys passed me in the entire second half of the race, and no ladies passed me. At each mile marker, I glanced at my Garmin- I let that mile split motivate me and ate a jelly bean each mile starting at mile 7. I did great not overthinking this race and staying focused.

Approaching the finish, I saw 1:41 on the clock and knew I would PR. I focused on making sure my time was 1:41 instead of 1:42- since beating 1:42 was my “A” goal for the Charleston Half. I would meet my A goal today, three weeks later. I finished in 1:41:50.


After the finish, I got some Gatorade, a cookie, and my finisher’s medal. For some reason, no one was giving the medals out at the finish line, but an older lady walked around with them in a bag and asked the runners, “Would you like a medal?”. Of course we all wanted our medals- we ran a half marathon!

I took some pictures with the OnShore Racing Sunday run club crew as well as Joyce and Darrell from Team Utopia South. They have a big training group in Columbia and do workouts together. Personally, I can’t imagine training all alone, but it’s proof that having training partners, coaches, and people to help you can really pay off.


I really liked this race and would do run it again. The race was no-frills and old school, but it’s a good cause and a cheap race within driving distance of home. It’s also a great excuse to hang out at Folly Beach when it’s not tourist season (a bunch of us headed to Taco Boy after the race for food, recovery beverages, and hanging out).

I’m glad I decided to sign up and thankful for everyone who encouraged me to run the half marathon- the hard work is paying off.

This entry was posted in Folly Beach, Half Marathon, Moore On Running, Race Recaps, Race Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Save the Light Half Marathon (1:41:50)

  1. Pam says:

    Wow, you ran the perfect race Amy.You certainly are reaping the rewards of some great training. How exciting that you reached your A goal as well Congratulations! Local races that cost just $45 are a big win in my book. The prices for bigger races now seem like car payments.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I agree on the race price. If I have a good time with my friends, it’s money well spent, but it seems like all the prices have increased over the past year or so. I could do without a lot of the “swag”, and this race didn’t have much of it. I was cool with that.

  2. Tiny runner says:

    Congratulations on yet another PR! Well done for hanging back at the start – definitely a much better tactic than going out ‘all guns blazing’. The scenery looked beautiful 🙂

  3. runner1313 says:

    Great recap, and congrats on the new PR!

  4. What a great weekend for the race. I enjoyed breaking 1:50 again with my 1:48 so I was super excited. So proud of you and your 1:41 PR! Congrats! Thanks for signing up and joining us!

  5. Lora says:

    Great time! Congratulations!!!!

  6. Congrats on your PR! I love small, no-frills races and will always choose them over big races any day (well, unless I ever had the opportunity to run Boston or NYC 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I think if I ever ran a few marathon again and qualified for Boston, that would be a must-do race and worth the money, but I wonder if a lot of big races really are. Plus this one was the right size- no feeling crowded on the course, except maybe the first half mile or so.

  7. Hollie says:

    I was really happy to read this. Nice work and what a great PR, you deserve it. I really like low frill and smaller races myself and that is such a great cause to race for.

  8. Theresa says:

    CONGRATS on your PR! I’m using the same mentality this weekend. I dunno if I’ll PR but hopefully at least won’t want to die the last few miles.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I think it’s a good mentality to have, especially in a marathon. You’re not racing for place or competition, there’s no chance of winning, and a marathon has a crazy long recovery time. I have recovered MUCH faster from this half than I did Charleston, and I think it’s because I didn’t struggle through the last few miles. If you complete the race injury free, you are a winner. Many who set out to train for a marathon or even a half do not even make it to the start line due to injury… but based on your training log I think you’re gonna do pretty well… :).

  9. Wowee! Congrats on a super PR.

  10. christine says:

    Congrats, congrats, congrats! Your hard work is paying off in spades! I really have to do this race sometime. I’ve wanted to do it for the past two years and just haven’t.

  11. Amy says:

    Yay! Congrats on your PR! Well-deserved and earned!

  12. Congrats on the PR!! And of course you want the medal!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! Yeah, I agree- I’m not one of those people who “runs for bling”, but after PRing, I just wanted it to have and to write my time on the back with a sharpie (which is what I always do).

  13. Jennifer says:

    Congratulations Amy! Great recap – I laughed at the end with the old lady and the bag of medals 🙂 What a steal of a race and what a nice picture of the beach.

  14. Kara says:

    Congrats on the PR!! So amazing! You inspire me so much. I’m so jealous of the running community you have there. (I think I tell you that every time I comment, haha.) Seems like you have so many options for awesome local races. (And I love lighthouses…so pretty.)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We have a lot of really great local races. I know many runners who won’t do the local ones and only want to do big ones, but some of the small ones around here are really, really great. Some of the smaller ones treat runners even better with nice shirts, food, awards, etc!

  15. LilMysNinja says:

    I’m totally putting this race on my bucket list. Maybe next year!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s a good one to do for cheap. If you’re looking for a destination half, I would probably pick the Charleston Half or Kiawah over this one, but this is definitely a PR worthy course and a fun way to get in a half marathon in Feb (when there are no other half marathon options in Charleston).

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