Halloween Half Marathon Review

So, I’m taking a page out of SkinnyRunner‘s book and posting a race review. I felt that I needed to separate my experience from the race organization/details.

The Provo Halloween Half Marathon is held on the last Saturday in October in Provo, Utah. The registration fee was $65 for “normal registration.” ( I know that’s cheap for a lot of places, but here it’s kind of pricey.) The race boasts a mostly downhill course, a start line heated tent, and “The most fun you can have . . .  without getting arrested.” Well, I don’t know about that. There are a lot of fun things to do around here. But I digress.

Packet Pickup
Packet Pickup and “Expo”
Sweet Shirt

Packet Pickup: The packet pickup and “expo” went pretty smoothly. There wasn’t a line for the packet pickup, which was good. The staff was efficient, and we were in and out in like 3 minutes. The “expo” was tiny. There were only a few booths, but some were handing out coupons for $5 off race entries and such, so that was good, I guess. I don’t know what I was expecting. I mean, this wasn’t like one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races or Boston or anything, but I thought that with all the hype, it would be larger. Anyway, not bad.

Swag: Really cool gender-specific tech T-shirt and cool finisher medal. I really like the shirt for the race. It fits perfectly. They didn’t put the year on either one, though, which I thought was weird. Other than that, we got a bunch of coupons, a packet of Emergen-C, a mini men’s deodorant, and a “$500” gift card–which just turned out to be nothing special at all. Would have been cool to get a Clif Bar or something, or a piece of candy–after all, it is a Halloween race.

Buses/Start line: The buses were fine. We got on one quickly and were driven to the start. Unfortunately our bus had to overshoot the turnoff for the start line compound (they planned it that way) and turn around and drop us off a quarter mile from the start, so we had to walk. In the cold. Not the best way to please runners. (I also heard that the later buses got lost and made people wait for an extra hour. Not cool.) They had a heated tent by the start line and plenty of porta potties. They didn’t even have water, though, in the tent, which would have been nice since it’s a large race and we paid more than other local races for entry. I know that I was regretting that I didn’t have a water bottle. The start itself was lackluster–just a couple of race timer banners to run under.

Course: Mostly downhill through a gorgeous canyon, fall colors, 1.2-mile uphill section thrown in the middle. I enjoyed the course overall. Due to some snow in the higher elevations, the course start had to be moved a couple of miles down the mountain. The beginning of the race was a pretty steep downhill grade. They had to throw in 2.4 miles to make up the distance, and they did this with an uphill out and back, which was a gradual incline, but for people who expected the race to be almost completely downhill, this was not a welcome addition. It would have been nice if they would have posted the info about the hill on Facebook. They only said they’d changed the route.

There were a few water/Gatorade stations throughout the course but no gels or anything. I don’t like gels and brought my own fuel, but something like that would have been good for the people that expected it. There was a station at like mile 12, which I thought was weird. I didn’t stop at it. That water would have been good in the start line tent. The mile markers were inaccurate and sometimes not even there. I don’t think they updated the markers when they moved the start line. I felt bad for the people who didn’t know how far they had gone (a ton of people don’t have GPS).

Finish line compound: Meh. The finish was good and “normal”– people cheering, announcer announcing everyone’s names. They gave us our medals and a water bottle (only one), and then we were directed to the food, which was disappointing. Some moldy oranges that weren’t cut, cut bananas, and chips. There wasn’t any chocolate milk or Gatorade or any other water stations or anything like that. I had to go and ask for another water bottle. They also only had three massage tables, which were closing by the time we got there. Now, I know that the massage therapists can do only so many massages, but I think more therapists would have been better. Just because some people finish in three hours or more doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a chance for a massage too. Bag check was fine. So, overall, meh mainly because of the food. I need chocolate milk!

Overall: I think the course was pretty, and I’m definitely glad I ran the half, but I don’t think I’ll run it again. I like it when races pay attention to the smaller details (and larger ones like mile markers and chocolate milk), and I don’t think this one delivered for the amount of money we had to pay.

Rating: This is my first rating of a half, and I really have nothing to compare it to, so I’ll make it my baseline. I’ll give it a 7/10 for organization and 8.5/10 for the run itself.


Author: Whitney

Runner. Cook. Editor. Blogger. French Fry Connoiseur.

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