Race Report: Parkway Half Marathon

Saturday races are not as easily found as Sunday races, so each time the Parkway Half Marathon comes around I always look forward to this event. Over the past 7 years this event has grown from race that no one heard of to nearly 3,000 participants between the 3 events offered on race day. The Parkway Half Marathon holds 3 separate events with 3 starts of their own. The biggest attended event is the half marathon run, however there is also a 5k run/walk and a half marathon walk.

Packet pick up – Thursday
With the race being held on Saturday May 4, packet pick up is available on Thursday and Friday before the race as well as the morning of the event. I opted to pick up my swag pack early at Fleet Feet Sacramento in Midtown on Thursday. As always packet pick up was well organized at Fleet Feet Sacramento and I even avoided the urge to find something to buy when I was there.

the SWAG!

There are a lot of goods that come with packet pick up for this event. Obviously, the bib with the attached d-tag is the most important. Along with the race day needs to be official the swag pack included a water bottle, technical short sleeve shirt, license plate frame and a couple freebies. Typically I do not raise a fuss with race swag, however there is one part of the swag pack that did bother me a bit. It bothered me because I felt it was BAD LUCK! The license plate frame that was included read “FINISHER” on it. Having anything that reads finisher before someone crosses the finish line is something I don’t want to mess with. In fact I ended up putting it away and not even looking at it other than just to take a photo of it.

the “bad luck” swag

Race Day
Getting out to William Pond isn’t something new for me in fact the start is a frequent location for most running groups, the course itself is nothing too much of a challenge, but the race helps fund the American River Parkway which I use frequently for training. For me this event allows me to “donate” to a recreational area that I use and am lucky to have access too. The race organizers do a great job dealing with parking, putting runners in various zones and providing race morning shuttles to and from one of the local high school. 

Once in the park, which I opted to access by walking in from one of the neighboring residential areas where I parked, the energy was already pretty good with the sun shinning and the weather being pretty nice to start the Saturday. Though this weather would prove to be a bit warm come race time for the half marathon running group. Along with the various running clubs and other booths promoting their products and services, the organizers made sure there was plenty of port-a-potties.

After some pre-race meet ups with some running friends and spending time at the Buffalo Chips team tent, it was go time for another half marathon. As far as “race day goals”, I really didn’t have much to chase, but just wanted to run and feel good at the end. Before the “gun”, a group of bag pipers marched their way to the start before the rendition of the National Anthem by a local choir group.

bib on the new singlet

Now it was go time. The course took runners east of the start where we would run on the paved road for all of the course which lead us under and across the Guy West Bridge at CSU Sacramento around mile 7. For the most part the lead runners at this point took charge and a pack of about 4-5 runners, which I was part of stuck together around one another until mile 8 or so. After wrapping around Guy West Bridge, we were routed to run along the south side of the American River until we reached the Watt Avenue bridge where we crossed back over to the north side of the river. This was the only “climb” that the course offered when runners had to go up the bridge for about .15 of a mile off of the parkway. After switching back over, most of the group that ran together was already separated and many runners were running alone working towards the finish. In fact, I was pretty well separated between runners in front of me and behind me that one of the course cyclist rode along side me for a couple of miles until mile 12.

By the way this paid off to have a cyclist around me during this portion of the course, as with warmer weather comes RATTLE SNAKES!!! and there was a pretty healthy one sitting on the course. The cyclist informed me of it so it was rattle snake diverted. After the snake, the finish line was waiting with the group of welcomers cheering us in. The finish line couldn’t have come soon enough with the heat starting to come into play. The only down side of the course is that the path is very exposed with very little shade to cover us from the direct sun, so over the course of 13.1 miles you can take a beating with the warm weather.

another half in the books

There it went another half marathon, crossing over the line with an official time of 1:27:23. My second fastest half marathon time on a day I did not have a goal in mind, outside of just get out and run.  In fact I didn’t realize that I did so well until some of my Chips teammates told me that I finished pretty close to the head runners. After making my way to the results tent, I found that I finished 10th overall and 2nd in my age division. A top 3 finish in an age division is always fun because that just means I get more free swag. The race awarded AG placers with a metal water bottle.

finisher medal & AG swag

After a few congrats from to and from other runners it was off to get the rest of the weekend underway.

local runner Gary & myself

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