I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the inaugural running of the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. If the website and all of the promotion were any indication of this half marathon event, it would be great for sure, but you really can’t tell from just a website what you’re getting yourself into. Since the New York City Marathon is just two weeks away for me, this was a taper week that called for a long run of 12 miles, so it fit nicely into my plans. Linda was interested in it as well, and trained to run this as her second half marathon. We decided to wait and see how the weather forecast was shaping up before we committed ourselves, and by about Tuesday it was looking like it might be a beautiful beach weekend, so we went ahead and registered a couple of days before the pre-registration cutoff in order to save $20 each on the registration fee. There was no race-day registration and the last day you could register for this Sunday half was Saturday at the expo. The full registration fee of $100 on Saturday is definitely steep for a half marathon, but I have to say this ended up being one of the very best racing experiences we’ve ever had and was well worth it.
We weren’t around for Saturday’s 5k and high heel race but from the photos they looked like a lot of fun. All of the 5k finishers received a finisher’s medal that would rival almost any marathon medal you’ll see. The surboard-shaped finisher medals for the half marathon though were spectacular, by far the best I’ve seen anywhere. In addition to the great finisher medals, the age group awards were also outstanding — thick, beveled glass etched with the surfboard logo and complete race information. Making it even better, the race went 5 deep with awards for all age groups. If that weren’t enough, each group of winners had their pictures taken with Bart Yasso, who handed out the awards. With 76 runners in my age group, I was happy to come away with 3rd place (1:38:26).
The race course began by Medieval Times and the pre-race ceremonies included knights on horses and some pretty impressive sword fights featuring the Medieval Times performers. The course was nice and flat with the exception of a trip up a fairly long bridge in the second mile. The final three miles of the course were straight down Ocean Boulevard to the 2nd Avenue Pier, then back up the brand new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, ending at the site where The Pavilion once stood. This was followed by entertainment and the awards ceremony just a block north at Plyler Park. It was sunny and beautiful with temperatures in the mid 70s at the end of the race.
With the perfect weather, great race organization, and beautiful course, Linda and I both agreed this was overall our favorite race since we’ve been running. We’ll be back!
10 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
10 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
2 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average) (Point-to-Point — Long wait for shuttle)
10 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 103
Age Group: 3 of 76 (3.4%)
Gender: 80 of 1001 (8%)
Overall: 93 of 2,698 (3.9%)