Monday, June 18, 2012

Have to Half

I've mentioned my awesome running club, Stroller Warriors, a few dozen times. This post is all about just how great this club is! Back in March, a HUGE group of us participated in the Quintiles Half Marathon. Following that, several of the girls ran either the Hope for the Warriors Half or the Myrtle Beach Diva's Half (one of my favorite gals even ran BOTH!). Since then, there has been a shortage of races in the local area. SW wouldn't let a small thing like that get in the way though...

Two of our fabulous group leaders (they run the C25K program for newer runners), developed an idea that was conceived over a glass of wine in the kitchen...the Have to Half series! These girls (pictured to the right) mapped out a course on board Camp Lejeune, complete with mile markers, directional signs, water stations, medals and motivational sidewalk chalk sayings. On Saturday at 7am, almost 30 of us met at Dunkin Donuts to kick off the first race of the series.

This group consisted of ladies who have done several marathons and half marathons to those who have never run more than a 10k!

After a group photo, we walked across the street and got started with a very casual, "Ready, Set, GO!" My friend, Jill, and her husband Pat even brought their son, Liam, along for the entire 13.1! He was a trooper and didn't make a peep for 2 hours in the stroller! The first couple three miles of the course included the only hills on base, so it was nice to get that part over early on. We are blessed with great paved trails on Camp Lejeune with only a few minor detours due to construction, and we took advantage of being able to run in small groups. We had a few gals who came out to support the race by taking pictures and providing directions too. 

If I remember correctly, this picture was around mile 4.

With limited support staff, the coordinators decided the best way to provide water was with these "stations" of ice and water bottles. It was perfect!

At mile 4, the course left the housing area and wandered along a great trail we frequently use for our weekly workouts. It was a great break from the noise of traffic and luckily there were no bugs out! There was a short out and back along the New River that was quite scenic and allowed us to cheer one another on throughout the later miles. We made the final turn toward Dunkin Donuts and arrived at the finish line just short of 2 hours (1:56:45). It was an fantastic event made better by the race bling, beer and chocolate milk found at the end:)

We even had three pregnant mother runners along for the race!

In conjunction with their need to race, the coordinators also do a lot of fundraising. They have decided that each race will be paired with a charity of the club's choosing. This time around we ran in support of the Semper Fi Fund (and raised over $500!). The overall cost to enter was minimal - $5.75 to pay for the medal and whatever donation you chose (if you even wanted to) give to the Semper Fi Fund (an organization that is near and dear to many military spouses). 

I had to take off early, but most of the ladies stuck around to cheer on everyone who finished:

This is a photo of two amazing ladies (white and blue shirts) who volunteered to run with whomever needed the extra motivation and support. The gal in the purple had never done over 9 miles and was super hesitant to run 13.1. Needless to say, she totally rocked it!

And here's a shot of the group once the race was over:

I'm so blessed to have joined this group of women who are crazy enough to think that randomly running a half marathon is a great way to spend a Saturday morning:) I'm already looking forward to next month's race!