Race #309 – Holden Beach Half Marathon – Holden Beach, NC – 09/12/15

2015-holden-beach-LOGO1An announcement was made as we stood at the starting line that this race had grown from 100 runners total last year to 600 this year in the half marathon and 5k combined. That’s an impressive jump in participants but the quality of this race experience makes me wonder if they might head back in a downward spiral next year unless some changes are made.


The biggest faux pas was the complete absence of porta potties. One of the two men’s indoor toilets was stopped up well before the race began, and by the size of the women’s bathroom line it looked like they had it worse than the men. Note to race directors: In a race with 600 runners, about 500 of them are gonna need to drop a deuce before the race. Okay… No problem… We’ll just hold it for 13 miles.


This is the same team that managed the Sunset Beach Half Marathon a few months ago, and I’d expect that, if anything, they’d be better at it by now with some extra practice. Nope. The course was a straight line for about 8 miles, with the only excitement provided by dodging the garbage trucks and the two-way traffic on the narrow street. The food was pretty good at Sunset Beach, especially after they delivered the pizza (although late). This time around the post-race food consisted mostly of some pretty unappetizing ham (or turkey) sandwiches and oranges. Later on they broke out some watermelon, which helped some.


One of the things that made Sunset Beach great — more than 1,000 high quality photos from On the Mark Sports that were free for runners to download — was completely absent this time around. No photos at all, as far as I can tell, unless you had a friend or family member take your picture. I hope I’m wrong about that, and if so I’ll come back and provide a link, but sadly there didn’t seem to be anybody in an official capacity taking pictures.


The big draw of this 3-race series (the final race is the Ocean Isle Half coming up on October 3rd) is the big finisher medals. If you get all 3 they fit together magnetically and that’s a nice touch. I’d kind of like to get the last one but I’ve already got a different race scheduled for that weekend so I won’t make it. I do hope for the sake of the runners that the final race will be more like Sunset Beach. And for goodness sake Mister Race Director, do whatever it takes to have an appropriate number of porta potties available. And better food and a return to the free photos would help too.


This little pin is what I won for coming in 1st in the 60-69 age group. I guess it’s supposed to be pinned to the ribbon that holds the medal, but c’mon.


Race Number:  309


Race Name:  Run Holden Beach (Half Marathon, 5k, 1-Mile Turtle Trot)


Location:  Holden Beach, North Carolina


Date:  September 12, 2015


Race Rating:  61



  • M:  Michael Lucas (Age 30) — 1:32:57
  • F:  Haley Beann (Age 38)  — 1:39:48

Course:  Mostly flat except for out-and-back over the Holden Beach Bridge. After coming back over bridge hang a right and run about 4 miles straight out, then back (I didn’t measure it). Kind of nice to run past all of the beach houses but after a while it got old. Road was open to traffic and with runners going both ways (out-and-back) there was a lot of traffic to dodge. Saturday is apparently garbage pickup day in Holden Beach so the trash trucks also provided some variety.


Elevation:  Flat except for out-and-back over the bridge (no Garmin info on exact numbers).


Weather at Start:  About 80 degrees, 82% humidity, and windy. Extreme headwinds for about half the race resulted in slower race times for most runners.


Click Here for Race Results


Click Here for Race Website


My Stats:

Time:  1:45:56
Pace:  8:03
Age Group:  1 of  9
Overall:  11 of  276
Average Heart Rate:  165
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:24:13 (69.26%)



3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

3 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
-10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (*No porta potties… unexcusable)

TOTAL:  61

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