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Bethany Beach First Responders Sports Weekend (Half Marathon) Race Review

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Anytime I have a race that takes place within 15-20 minutes from my house I feel like I have to sign up. When the half marathon distance was added to the already packed sports weekend I jumped at the chance to sign up! I knew that this mid-September race would keep me moving through the summer and it did just that.

The half marathon took place on Saturday along with the 5k. These races kicked off the sports weekend that also featured a triathlon, aqua-bike and a duathlon along with some team options. The weather forecast  looked to be great on Saturday which made me even more excited for the race!

Friday night the family packed up and headed down to the Bethany Beach Fire Department for packet pickup. It was super quick and simple and I was able to grab my bib and bag of goodies (shirt and pint glass).

Even the race took place super close to where I live, it did have a 7:15 start time so I wanted to make sure I was in Bethany with plenty of time to park and use the bathroom before meeting up with my friends. I ended up leaving home around 5:45 am. There was TONS of street parking which made the logistics super easy. I was able to park one street from the bandstand but there was plenty of street parking right on the main drag (Garfield Avenue) that I could have taken advantage of. I walked up to the boardwalk once I arrived to see who else was there and use the bathroom. One perk of the Bethany Beach Boardwalk start was the nice, clean bathroom to use before the race! Along with the clean bathrooms at the bandstand area, there was also the bib pick up table in case you did not have a chance to get it on Friday night.

The sun was coming up and the sunrise just looked so beautiful over the Ocean. Around 7:00 the race director had us line up down on Garfield Avenue and get ready to start. I knew the course pretty well and was excited to run on the Fresh Pond Trail as well as the Indian River Inlet Bridge. I have lived in the area my entire life but I have never run or walked over the bridge so I was looking forward to that!

Right at 7:15 we were off and headed up Garfield Parkway to turn onto Route 1 heading north. As the race started I was chatting with Kendra, a fellow mother runner, and we both had hoped for a time where between 2:15-2:30. After a short jaunt on Route 1 we turned onto the Fresh Pond. We ran part of the trail which was a nice packed path and eventually returned back out to Coastal highway and headed to the bridge.

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After being on Route 1 for just a little bit we were already approaching the IR Inlet Bridge.

Kendra and I were still feeling great at this point and were full of smiles. We snapped a few pictures as we were crossing the bridge. The downhill was nice and provided some views of the marina and the inlet. Once we crossed over the bridge we took the marina road and ran parallel to the bridge. I took a bunch of pictures but none really do any justice as to how pretty it looked at this point in the day on the course.

After running next to the inlet we headed back to the relay exchange point and under the bridge to once again begin our uphill climb. This was by far the most beautiful part of the day! The sun was starting to come out from behind the clouds and we had an awesome ocean view!

The next few miles of the race were straight down Coastal Highway headed south back to the finish line in Bethany Beach on the boardwalk. At this point Kendra and I were getting tired, hot and ready to be done. We added some walk breaks into our running and looked forward to every water stop! We finally made it back into the Bethany Beach downtown area and we were close to our turn to head onto the boardwalk. Once up on the boardwalk it got VERY HOT! The sun was blazing and there was no air flow. At this point we only had a bit left so we took off for the finish line.

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After crossing the finish line in 2:24 minutes we were handed some water and our finisher medals. I came in 112 out of 222 runners. To be a first year race it was pretty small but I did notice that throughout he race there was always runners around which was nice.

The after party took place at Grotto’s just up from the boardwalk. As we entered there was plenty of post race food (pizza, chicken nuggets, salad, beer) but not many seats left. After filling up our plates an Employee told us there was additional seating upstairs. We headed up there and enjoyed the outside seats which was super nice and relaxing.

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Overall I really enjoyed the race. The ease of race morning was great and I liked the course (even the boring straight shot on Coastal Highway). There was lots of scenic views to keep me distracted from running. To be a small race they still provided all the details of a big race which was nice (nice swag bag, after party, big finish line announcements). One small complaint would be no on course fuel (only water and Gatorade) but other than that everything was great! To read other reviews jump over to Race Advisors to see what others had to say about the race!

Next year’s race is set for September 21st! Will I see you at the starting line?

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