Race Report: Urban Cow Half Marathon

the start
I’ll be honest the weather at the beginning of the week had me a little concerned about running a half marathon this weekend. Here in Sacramento we saw temperatures run warmer than normal. During one of my runs it pushed nearly 95 degrees. However as the week passed and moved into this morning, we couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect. The start line temperatures were in the low 50s for today’s Urban Cow Half Marathon in Sacramento.
The Urban Cow Half Marathon is managed by Sacramento based company Capital Road Race Management (CCRM). So for many of you Nor Cal runners, you know this was going to be another quality event here in Sacramento around the Land Park area based course. Even before the race was close to starting the energy was already present when I walked up to the start/finish area at around 6:45 am. The over 5,000 runners participating today created for a positive vibe as everyone was gearing up for their next (and for many their first) 13.1 miles. CCRM provided all of the participants with all the necessities, water, a high number of port-o-potties and plenty of extra “stuff” that runners could need. Also they provided a very organized gear drop off near the start. Post run there were also free massages for runners as well as a beer garden for the over 21 running crowd.
the finish
Now the start, as we gathered and lined up to get this show on the road, the MC for the event at the start line was great. He gave some needed laughs for the runners as we waited the 10 minutes or so before the “gun” went off. I personally enjoy the chatter of MCs at races as long as they are funny, rather than the dry talking or the silence at some other events. After an awesome rendition of the National Anthem, we were ready to get after these 13.1 miles a head of us.   
The 10 second count down began, and we were now off on this path that would take us through Land Park, through Old Sacramento, back around to Miller Park, before making our final run around back into Land Park and to the finish line. Now here is the kicker, at the very beginning of the race, the lead cyclist took us on a left handed turn that most runs don’t go in this certain area, only to find out that we had tacked on an additional .66 miles on my watch. A BIG OPPS, I guess. We (the group that made the incorrect turn) ended up running past other runners that started behind us! Not until we got to the 1st mile marker did I look down and see that my watch read 1.66 miles compared to the 1 mile that was posted on the course. This obviously caused for some concern, comments and complaints even during the course. I myself was part of that group that had an issue with that, even at the finish line I had some issues, but not to the extent of others who I felt had some legitimate concerns. For some of the areas top runners this was a difference between points in the Buzz Oates Run Sac Race Series. Even though I am technically part of that race series as I am a member of the Buffalo Chips, it is not the end all be all for me. My issue is more of a personal thing, at the 13.1 miles on my watch, it read 1:32:50 … my personal goal for today’s race was to run a 1:33:00, but now my official time shows 1:37:33, due to the additional distance.
running along with Brian
With all of those issues within the first mile, the run was terrific. The weather was completely cooperative and ideal, even the slight heads winds wasn’t too strong that made a difference. In fact having a little win the face was nice to have. The course was completely stocked with enough aid stations with sport drink and water at each one.  Also the crowd along the course couldn’t have been more awesome, there seemed to be more faces on the sides of the road this year than in previous years. Perhaps this was a result of nice weather and the high number of runners this race had this year. Today’s over 5,000 runners was the highest number of participants in the 8 years it has been ran.
post race with my cow bell
I know people will have their issues with the mistake of the lead cyclist, but even after thinking about it, the mistake or error is not a reflection of the management of the course. In fact that issue, though a very recognizable mistake did not take away from the fun and quality of the event by Capital Road Race Management. I myself will continue to run their events and encourage many to run this race specifically. Hands down one of the best races and events to partake in. If you didn’t run this year or were there just to cheer, think about being one of the runners next year! You know you want to earn one of those awesome COW BELL MEDALS after crossing the finish line!
fellow #SFM2013 ambassadors
On another note, today was the first day I was able to meet one of the other #SFM2013 Ambassadors. Prior to the start of the race I met and briefly chatted with a new running buddy Laura (Twitter @lauralang3). As we chatted it was good to hear first hand of some of the awesome benefits that the SFM Ambassador program has to offer to not just to all the runners but the 40 chosen individuals that were selected for the team. 
Update: After my Race Report was posted on 10/07. The Capital Road Race Management group / Urban Cow Half Marathon released this statement on their website:
After measuring the additional course distance with a Jones Counter (the official measuring device) we found the route .64 long. We have recalculated the results to give every first-wave athlete an adjusted time for a half marathon (13.10938 miles).  We merged these results with those for the second wave (these athletes ran/walked the correct course) to get our final results. We apologize to everyone in the first-wave for this unfortunate lead bike issue.”

The Sacramento Bee also reported on the mistake. That article can be found at http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/08/4890670/sacramento-race-guide-leads-urban.html

 

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