Running Tobacco Road

Mama ran a half-marathon this morning. And scored a new PR. And maintained a rockin’ (well, rockin’ for me) average pace.


Here’s the skinny on Tobacco Road.

Parking: A+

And that was satellite. But I think that has a lot to do with the time I arrived. Also, for you local peeps, head over to satellite parking via Davis Drive. Cuts WAY down on traffic. If you ARE going to do this race, I highly recommend springing for a parking pass or having my kickass support staff watching over you.


Volunteers: A+

These people worked HARD…started early…and by the end (more on that in a sec) received a lot of crap that should be directed to the organizers. There were plenty of volunteers to help with parking, make sure you got what you needed at the finish, and lots of people handing out beverages and snacks along the way. (I was even handed a cup of Gatorade by one of my professors. True story.)


Race course: A

This course makes you forget you live near a city of any size at all. And when I turned onto the actual Tobacco Trail, I felt a twinge of nostalgia. It was like running on home turf. And that sentiment says to me that I’m over all the miles and hours I logged on that trail for Disney and could once again run it. It helps that the trail is open into Chatham County now too. Of course, that may have been true for a while and I’m late to the party on that one. I’m OK with that. The rest of the course was through farms and edges of neighborhoods. It’s pretty flat, though there are some long, gradual hills. But I trained on steeper hills, so I was good with that.


Schwag: A

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that this year’s logo/design were 5,000% better. Of course, this was only the second running of Tobacco Road. It could only go up. The t-shirts were technical and divided between race distance and gender. The women’s shirt has a good fit and is what you would expect size-wise. The expo offered other opportunities to buy more schwag specifically designed for this race, and the prices were VERY reasonable. And the medal had a great design and is one of the biggest I’ve earned.


Overall organization: C+

They started lining us up in the corral for the on-time start of 7:00 AM. The gun went off at about 7:20 AM. Did I mention it was 46 degrees? Granted, the weather was PERFECT for running…but not for standing around. Apparently there were some late shuttles from satellite parking they decided to wait for…which meant the stagger start for the marathoners was pushed back even more.

Post race was good in terms of where things were located in the venue. Getting back to the parked cars was an altogether different matter. There was no signage to get you back to where the shuttle would pick you up. Once you finally figured it out (Thank you, Mr. Ossifer), you got in a line that ended up having everyone waiting. Word on the sidewalk was there were 15 charter buses running shuttle. Try 5. It literally took me 2 solid hours from the time I got in line until the time I got to my car.

Mr./Ms. Organizer, my legs were tired. I was tired. I was cold…and freakin’ hungry. From a recovery and nutritional standpoint, you’re asking for trouble when you make your runners wait for at least 2 hours to get back to their cars.

People were seriously calling cabs to pick them up and take them to satellite parking.

THIS is why you spring for that parking pass (BTW, who knew THAT was an option?) or have your support staff with the car parked relatively close by.


Overall experience: B+

I mean, I DID get a PR. In fact, I was rockin’ those first 10 miles…it was after that I started to have some issues (dang hips). But that’s about me and my training. We couldn’t have ordered better weather. The course was delightful. The wait to get on the bus not so much.

I might be willing to do this one again, especially since it’s local, but they still have some kinks to work out first.


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