Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Runner's World Half & Festival

It's been a little over a week since Matthew and I traveled to Bethlehem, PA for the Runner's World Half & Festival. This was a race weekend featuring a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon. But I think the best part of this race is the fact that it's organized by Runner's World, one of the premier running publications/news outlets/collection of experts. And the race director is Bart Yasso. Pretty damn cool.

We arrived to the expo late Friday afternoon. We easily picked up our packets and bibs. Because Matthew and I were signed up for the Hat Trick (5k, 10k and half marathon) we also got a hat and a pair of Balega socks with our race shirt. The race field was only around 6,000 runners so the expo was fairly small. However, there were a lot of cool vendors and opportunities to chat with Runner's World editors.

We were able to catch up with Nathan and meet a few of his friends. We also got to meet Mandy in person. Mandy and I have been twitter friends for a while and I was so excited she'd be at Runner's World so we could meet in real life! After checking out the vendors, Matthew headed to the hotel while Mandy and I chatted and walk around some more. We may have also stalked Bart Yasso ;-)

The scooter is on the cover of Runner's World!

RW's Shoe Finder- gait analysis and shoe recommendations.

Bart Yasso, just hanging out.

Finish line with the Steel Stacks in the background.

After creeping/stalking waiting near the finish line after the kids races, I got the opportunity to meet Bart Yasso. He was so wonderful and even complimented me on doing the right thing by staying off my fractured foot. Amazing. I said goodbye to Mandy and left the expo around 7- we had a super early wake up call for the 5k and 10k the next day.

On Saturday, I cheered while our friends ran the 5k at 8 am and then the 10k at 9:30 am. One of the most awesome parts of this race was that the start and finish lines were just outside the expo venue- which meant real bathrooms for spectators!

In addition to Nathan and Mandy, a friend from high school- Laura- and a blogger friend- Dani (Weight Off My Shoulders)- were also running the hat trick. I also got to meet up with fellow Enell Ambassadors Jill (Running with Curves) and Aliah (The Get Fit Diva). It was entertaining to have so many people to cheer for during the races.

Because of the small field, there weren't a ton of spectators which meant another win for me- plenty of space to scope out a nice spot to watch finishers. After watching everyone finish, we headed back to the hotel for a quick nap and shower before I came back to volunteer at the expo.

Clockwise from left: Matthew and Mandy; Dani; Jill; Nathan; Aliah; Laura. 
Me and Jill.

Happy finishers of two hilly courses!

I showed up for my expo shift at 1:30. We stayed a few miles from the race so it only took about 15 minutes to get back to the expo/start line area. I checked in at the volunteer tent and got a sweet swag bag and volunteer t-shirt. They sent me into the expo to the info desk. However, the info desk didn't need me so they sent me to packet pick-up. But they didn't need help so I ended up at t-shirt pick-up.

I worked along side Brian, a Runner's World editor; Becca, a Runner's World intern; and a few other volunteers. We handed out shirts to runners and passed the time chatting about running. I also got to see Bart Yasso again- he waved to me :-)

How cute is this little book we got?! Found this page to be perfect for my life.

Me and Becca.

After my shift was over, I drank a ridiculously large pumpkin beer with Mandy and talked with some of the Runner's World folks at the pace groups table. I also met someone from the Dopey Challenge group on facebook- she saw my scooter and decided to say hello. Honestly, it was a fabulous afternoon. It was just great to talk to so many people that didn't look at me sideways because I fractured my foot from running- these people just got it.

On Sunday, we had another early morning for the half marathon. We kept warm by hanging out in the expo area until the runners had to head to the start. After they all headed to the race start, I walked/scootered over to a spectator area near mile four. I found a great spot and was able to see all my friends- again, I loved that this was a smaller race- it was really easy to see everyone.

Lots of fun at the top of a hill!

After seeing all my friends- and Mark Remy!!!!- I headed back to the finish to watch everyone claim their medals. On the way back, I got to see Bart leading the front runner in- he was hauling! When I got back, I was able to get another great spot a few hundred yards from the finish. And can I just say that I have the best friends in the world?! At mile eight of the course, Skirt Sports was giving out free skirts to anyone who would run the last portion of the race with it on. Laura AND Dani both got a skirt and gave it to me. How sweet are they?!

I yelled "Go Mark!" right before this photo. I like to pretend he's looking at me. Wow, that sounded creepy.

Selfies for no reason :-)

Bart and the half marathon winner.

All my happy hat trick finishers :-)

All in all, it was a great weekend, even though I wasn't able to run this year. I'd like to put this on my calendar for next year but we'll see how the calendar- and my foot- work out. The only real complaint I have about this race is that they do not offer deferrals. I lost the $140 hat trick entry fee and wasn't able to defer to the next year or transfer my bib to someone else.

Bonus! I tweeted to Bart Yasso and he tweeted back! And followed me! I nearly died from the excitement.

For real, such a cool way to cap off the weekend.

QOTD: Have you run one of the Runner's World races? What did you think of them?


  1. That's a bummer that they didn't have a deferral option. Because you never know what will happen, I'm starting to check on whether or not that's an available option before I click the registration button.

    1. Yeah, it really was disappointing. Injuries, emergencies- anything can happen. And for what some races cost, it's a shame there isn't a way to still get something back.

  2. Look at you on the cover of a magazine! I'm so happy that you have been able to enjoy the events even though you have not been able to run. It won't be long before you will be back out there! And I'm really proud of you for your weight loss accomplishments!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! It has been fun to see races from a different angle and of course, it's been really great to cheer on friends. While I'm anxious to get rid of the boot and scooter, I'm not 100% sad about how I've spent my time :-)

  3. This sounds like such a wonderful experience. It would be so fun to meet up with so many bloggers.

    1. It was definitely an awesome experience! I hope to be able to do it next year and actually run :-)

  4. I have heard many great things about this race. My sisterand mom ran it last year and really enjoyed themselves. They said the expo is pretty awesome! Sounded like it was a great weekend , even though you were unable to run, soon enough:) -L