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Brandon, MS Raving since 2017 50 States hopeful/finisher Active 1 year, 6 months ago

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My Races

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Half Marathon



(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra


Future Races

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Half Marathon Atlantic City, NJ Oct 22, 2017 3:23:17

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Greenwood, MS Mar 26, 2022
Half Marathon Memphis, TN May 29, 2021
Half Marathon Woodville, AL Mar 21, 2021
Half Marathon Greenwood, MS Mar 20, 2021
Half Marathon Biloxi, MS Jan 31, 2021
Half Marathon Atlantic City, NJ Oct 22, 2017 3:23:17

My Raves

Great American River Run - Saturday, May 29. Half #189 is in the books! The Great American River Run in Memphis TN was the beginning of my three day trek … MORE

Great American River Run – Saturday, May 29.
Half #189 is in the books!
The Great American River Run in Memphis TN was the beginning of my three day trek across a few states for Memorial Weekend races!
First, let’s talk about the weather! Normally I would be talking about how hot Memphis has been for the last few years that I have run this race! Always in the 80s or 90s and humid! I look forward to this race even knowing that it is probably the hottest race I will do all year, just feeling like I am dying at the end! That’s just Memphis in May… except this year!
For May 29th, the normal high is 86 and the normal low is 66, therefore, the high temperature Saturday was cooler than the normal overnight lows!
This record low maximum temperature was due to overcast skies, breezy north winds and a cold front that came across the region during the night.
So, yes… let’s talk about the weather! At the start time it was 55 and the high for the day was 61!! Amazingly, it was perfect running weather… in May!!
Packet pick up was easily accessible with plenty of parking. The Expo was small with only a couple of vendors but it was nice to see vendors as the pandemic winds down!
New for this year, the Start Line was on Beale Street, much more convenient than the old start location which had been by the River at Tom Lee Park. The new line was much better! Staging took place in a small park on Beale called Robert Church Park.
The race had three start times for Covid Protocol… 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45am. I chose 6:15… the earlier the better! As in the past they also had a 5K but added a 10K this year.
The course went down Beale St and after a few turns, we were on Riverside Drive and then back up into downtown and out 4th Street, passing several Memphis landmarks along the way: Mud Island, The Peabody Hotel and the Blues Museum.
We also passed the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and now home of the National Civil Rights Museum. After that it was out through neighborhoods and past St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, always an impressive complex!
Much like New Orleans and a few other cities, a popular attraction is the carriage rides in Memphis. Running through an industrial area, we passed the stables where many of the horses are kept.
On the final 3 mile leg you cross a bridge back into downtown and by the Bass Pro Pyramid, once the home of the Memphis NBA team, the Raptors. Toward the end we would pass the FedEx Forum, new home of the Raptors.
At the bridge, which was the 10 mile mark, you were timed going up the bridge to the apex. It is a competition inside the race. Those with the fastest ascent were crowned King and Queen of the Hill and got a prize of $500 each. No… I did not win! Yes, the race had hills but mostly in the downtown section (the first few miles, and the last few.)
The race ended on Beale street with a nice after party in Handy Park. It is named for W. C. Handy, jazz and blues musician who some call the father of the Blues.
At the park, there was a tent with a choice of pulled pork sandwich, chicken sandwich or hamburger… as well as a selection of goodies like chips, cookies, fruit, donuts, peanut butter crackers…plus beer!! Everyone had a good time!
Overall, the race was well done. They had water stops about every mile that were manned by enthusiastic volunteers. Items included bottled water, Gatorade and rags in ice prepared for the usual hot weather!! But… most people just wanted a dry rag! The only negative I can really think of is that I did not think there was enough police support for traffic control. Some intersections were challenging.
I have always enjoyed this race and this year was one of the best yet. It was great seeing some Memphis friends that I don’t get to see a lot, and some friends who traveled in from across the country. If you have never been, look at this charmer!! Great race in a Great town… might even see an Elvis or two!!

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Half #175 in now in the books!! After a fun flat race in Greenwood MS at the Viking Half Saturday, we headed to Huntsville AL and Race to the Cave … MORE

Half #175 in now in the books!!

After a fun flat race in Greenwood MS at the Viking Half Saturday, we headed to Huntsville AL and Race to the Cave at the Cathedral Caverns in Woodville. And it was NOT flat!!

Sunday morning came early as a number of us met for pictures before the race began. The race was practicing Covid-19 protocols with a staggered start, runners in groups starting in 5 minute intervals.

At first, we ran on a gravel road that immediately went up a hill for a quarter of a mile and then onto a paved road that went down. We were on the road that had us exit the Cathedral Caverns State Park and out to the highway.
For about the next 2 1/2 or 3 miles it was nice and flat… you thought “this won’t be so bad!” But it was deceptively flat. You turned a corner and ran about half a mile and then came the hills… lots of them!!

The run through the countryside was quite nice, with beautiful pastures, woods, and interesting homesteads. The aid stations had plenty of goodies and the volunteers were awesome. The county deputies and State Park officers, we great, very friendly and helpful. Only one problem with the stations that I will cover later!

Hills are created for one thing… to give you something to moan about, cuss a bit and make primitive guttural sounds. Right as you come to Mile 11, it flattens out just a tad bit and until you turn the corner back into the park and there is another hill. You think, this one is not too bad until you get close and you see The Hill! I swear it was 45 degrees up!! It looked like the banking at a NASCAR Super Speedway like Talledaga! The only thing you could do was lean forward and hope for the best!

Finally you are at the Caverns!
Let me stop here to make this point!If you came to this race the set a PR, maintain a sub 2:00, sub 3:00 or sub whatever, you are missing the point of this event! You need to enter the Caverns ready to walk, to stop, to take pictures, to enjoy one of Earth’s natural beauties!

This is what I did! I probably could have finished with a much better time but I would have missed a great opportunity to just relax and enjoy the moment. It was beautiful! I finished the race with Terry Bourg and as we came out of the cavern, David and his cowbell was there to greet us.
This race wasn’t conducive to him being able to cheer on the course so he pretty much stayed near the finish! Myself and a number of others missed the sound of the cowbell!!

The Medal is awesome! They had a sack lunch for everyone with a delicious BBQ pork sandwich!

This was an inaugural 1/2 Marathon. The had held 5Ks and 15Ks there before. For a first time Half, they did very well. There are three areas that they can improve on for next year:
1. They only had three aid stations on the course at Mile 3, Mile 8 and Mile 11.They had locations that they could have used. They just need to plan to add a couple more.
2. There were no Porta Potties out on the course. Only at the beginning and restrooms at the end. They need at least two more on the course!
3. This is a hard one… the Cavern was lit for tour groups, not runners. However too much light takes away from the beauty! But they need to look at solutions to light the actual path just a little more, but only use a temporary lighting.

When we first heard about this race we thought how cool it sounded and began to try to create some FOMO in the groups we belong to! It exceeded our expectation and it was awesome to see so many old friends and meet new ones! Interesting statistic: David heard from one of the Park Supervisors… only 35% of the runners were from Alabama!!

Would I come back on my own to run it again? Maybe not… but would I come back again if more of you put it on your calendar? Absolutely and hopefully I will see a bunch of y’all next year!!

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Half #174 is in the bag! Saturday, March 20 was a nippy day for running in the Viking Half Marathon in Greenwood MS! I love Greenwood’s small Town charm and … MORE

Half #174 is in the bag!

Saturday, March 20 was a nippy day for running in the Viking Half Marathon in Greenwood MS! I love Greenwood’s small Town charm and especially the flat course. Greenwood is the home of the Viking Corp, known for its top line stoves and ranges and cookware.

It is a small race around 150 Half Marathoners and they also had a 5K. The swag bag was loaded with local goodies from businesses in the city!
The course took in many sites of the old beautiful southern town. Starting downtown, you ran past the courthouse and past the old train depot. You ran alongside the Yazoo River and then across a older steel style bridge. In addition to the Yazoo River, you also ran alongside the Talahatchie River.
The course took us through a lot of nice residential areas that include homes large and small, old southern homes to new homes with a modern look. Overall, old or new, Greenwood has been able to retain the southern small town charm over the years.

Water stations were well manned with friendly volunteers who were well organized by Start 2 Finish, an event group out of Memphis, TN.
City of Greenwood Police were some of the friendliest law enforcement people we have ever met. While much of the course was open to traffic, the police did their job expertly and the local drivers maneuver with respect towards the runners!

After the race, runners were treated to Mississippi farm raised fried catfish with all the southern fixins, chicken wraps and topped off with Truly and Michelin Ultra beer, which my husband David, The Cowbell Guy, enjoyed!

This has become one of my favorite Mississippi races. And, I will be back again! Join me??

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We had to make a hard choice: Big Beach in Gulf Shores AL or the inaugural Harley Half Marathon in Biloxi MS. While I enjoy Big Beach because a lot … MORE

We had to make a hard choice: Big Beach in Gulf Shores AL or the inaugural Harley Half Marathon in Biloxi MS. While I enjoy Big Beach because a lot of our friends do this race, Harley Half was a first time event. As a Half Fanatic/Marathon Maniac Ambassador fo LA, AL and MS, I opted for Harley Half vs Big Beach so that I could report back to the club. Glad I did!

The race started with everyone gathering at the MS Gulf Coast Coliseum. After announcements, pottie stops and the National Anthem, runners marched across the street to the start on Hwy 90, which had blocked off a lane for the run. Hwy () run East/West along the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches. Race start… 7:30 with a rolling start.

Weather forecast was rain around noon or later. Wrong! Rain started around 8:30 and it was off and on, misty or heavy almost til the end!

If you are familiar with the Mississippi Gulf Coast race the first four miles is the same as the MGC last four miles-minus the run up the ramp! Nope, no ramp this time… but a bridge the locals call the Casino Bridge!

Continuing on for a couple of miles you pass the Beau Rivage, Hard Rock Cafe Casino, Harrahs and the Golden Nugget Casino (race host). You then head up the bridge on a pedestrian walkway. It had two elevations (see the picture) as it crossed over the bay from Biloxi to Ocean Springs.

Once in Ocean Springs, as you descend the bridge, you take an immediate right and you are on Beach Blvd. To the right is the Biloxi Bay with nice sandy beaches and to the left, some really nice homes! Encompassing a little over 2 miles, you make your way down to the Marina, do a little loop and back up Beach Blvd with the bridge in full view, ominous in its own way!

The last 2 miles crosses the bridge and takes you to the finish line at the Golden Nugget! The race director, Mike Pate, was at the corner of the Casino entrance to the finish line congratulating each runner as they came in. That was a very nice touch. The after party was definitely Covid limited but they had beer and snacks. Beer is always good!

The medal was unique and nicely designed. You could pick up extra bling if you did the Casino Bridge 5K and/or 10K the day before! The first 300 who signed up received a cool embroidered 1/4 Zip jacket while others got a nice tech shirt.

The race was done by Harley Sports, not stranger to races, sponsoring a number of 5K and 10K events. Mike Pate, Owner and Race Director did an excellent job and was very accommodating. So, logistics for the most part were well done!

Water stops every two miles manned by different groups of people, especially the Air Force ROTC group from St Martin’s High school who encouraged each runner onward! The Biloxi Police provided excellent and courteous traffic control, especially in front of the Casinos!

The main suggestions would be to have more Porta Potties at the start, 2 at the first water station and 1 at alternating water stops after that. They didn’t have a normal Expo due to Covid but they did have a couple of vendors like Brook Shoes in separate rooms next to packet pick up, making it Covid protocol friendly. Monster was a sponsor but I don’t think they estimated the number of Monster drinks needed!

This race could definitely be a contender as a Mississippi destination race as it continues to grow. In talking to the RD, he said plans were being discussed to make Harley a Challenge race with another well known event in the future! Stay tuned!

Recommendation? You bet! We would do it again! I wanted to give it an overall rating of 4.5 as an Inaugural race but it wasn’t an option. So, it is a strong 4 , giving it a little more room to grow!

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