On Saturday, I ran the inaugural Race 13.1 Charleston at Middleton Place, home to some of the most beautiful (and only) trails in Charleston.
About Race 13.1 Charleston
Race 13.1 is an organization that travels around the Southeast and hosts half marathons. It’s popular with Half Fanatics and they offer some sort of season pass where you can run as many races as you’d like for $200. Because of that, this race had a TON of non-local runners. The running scene isn’t huge in Charleston, and while I love seeing my friends at races, it was fun to see new faces, different people winning awards, etc.
I have to give it to Race 13.1- they did a GREAT job with the race and taking care of the runners. They had enough volunteers, aid stations, course marshals, and signage. The post-race refreshments were good (Papa Johns Pizza) and we all got 2 free beers.
The beer was craft beer, and I had a shandy that tasted like lemonade. You know it’s a good beer if I brag on it- I never drink beer.
Middleton Place Woodlands is a trail, so Race 13.1 could only control so many variables on the course. This WAS NOT an easy or fast course. It was flat. Race 13.1 marked the trail well, including trouble spots where someone could slip in the mud. I’ve run a few local races that did not do that, as if the race director found joy in runners falling or getting lost.
In general, the trail was in great shape considering the rain we’ve had.
The course had motivational signs, and you could hear the Black Girls Run volunteers from miles away. Those ladies were the most enthusiastic volunteers I’ve ever seen at a race, and I got a big boost running through their aid stations.
The only issue all day was the traffic backup near Middleton Place. Ashley River Rd. is a two-lane road and has heavy traffic even on days without races, so this isn’t something Race 13.1 (or any race) can control. They anticipated this and advised everyone to arrive early via e-mail.
I arrived about 20 minutes before the start, and tons of cars were backed up trying to turn in. For this reason, the organizers postponed all the start times 15 minutes. That was a great idea, as the weather was gorgeous and as far as I know, no one missed the start.
My Race Experience
The Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge Half Marathon is in 2 weeks, and since they were so close, I hadn’t planned to run Race 13.1.
The week before, I was fortunate enough to snag two entries from Blue Cross Blue Shield South Carolina, who sponsored the race. Clay and I have BCBS insurance, and it’s one of the better insurance companies we’ve had coverage with.
Since I had multiple entries, I graciously offered one to Virginia. She’s training for a trail ultra in January, and running trail races is one of the only ways to train on a trail in Charleston. She too used it as a training run and ended up running 17 miles total. Sean and Stella came out to celebrate.
I looked at Race 13.1 as a good chance to get a long run in while enjoying the festivities, not having to carry my own water, and maybe build some confidence for Nov. 14. I was already planning to run 12 on Sunday, so I figured I could add an extra mile, receive a t-shirt and finisher’s medal, and celebrate Halloween.
I went out fairly easily in the first few miles and enjoyed the trails. I talked to a few costumed runners- this was my way of making sure I wasn’t running too fast. After about 2 miles, the crowd thinned out, and I did pick up the pace a little.
Since I started slower, no one passed me after mile 3. I passed a TON of people who went out too fast or couldn’t deal with the Charleston humidity/heat (understandable- this is one hot and humid area).
My friend calls passing people who went out too fast “rabbit hunting” and I like that term.
I spoke to everyone I passed, complimented runners on their costumes and talked to them, waved, high-fived and thanked volunteers… it was so much fun. This was a different attitude for me going into the race, since I used it as a long, fun, run. With the staggered start, I passed some 10Kers toward the end and tried to encourage them too. This race was great for all levels of walkers and runners and the course had a very generous time limit.
I finished in 1:48:35, placing 3rd in my age group (30-34). I got a great Halloween finisher’s medal, Halloween tech shirt (they had ladies cut! hooray!), and a medal for placing. A group that ran as Pac-Man was in the costume contest and it was hilarious. If you’ve never run a costumed race, you should. You’ll smile and laugh a lot.
In a trail run, you have to race the course, not the clock, but I ran a negative split race.
My splits were 8:20, 8:36, 8:08, 8:15, 8:13, 8:16, 8:21, 8:16, 7:58, 8:07, 8:14, 8:11, 8:16, 7:23 (for .2)
From what I’ve heard, Race 13.1 doesn’t do many trail races, but I’m thankful they brought one to Charleston. Charleston is lacking in trail runs in general, and this one was beautiful. The event itself was top-notch, and I would run Race 13.1 Charleston again- or a Race 13.1 in another city.
All in all, Race 13.1 Charleston was a great race-out and confidence builder for my goal half. Thanks Blue Cross Blue Shield for giving me the opportunity to run!
Race Name: Race 13.1 Charleston
Location: Charleston County, SC (Middleton Place)
Date and Time: October 31, 2015, 8 AM
Terrain: Flat trail. Muddy or slippery areas marked and easy to run around. Aid stations at every other mile with both water and Gatorade.
Entry fee: 5K: $25-35, 10K: $35-45, Half: $50-89
Swag: Halloween-themed tech shirt, BCBS drawstring bag, Halloween finisher’s medal for half marathoners.
Post-race Food: Papa John’s Pizza, trail mix bars, various fruit, tons of candy, water, and free beer for all runners. The beer truck did not have tickets.
Weather: 55 degrees, 88% humidity. Gorgeous, sunny, cool, day for a run in Charleston!
I received a complimentary race entry from Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.