Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3
The Hill Country Halloween Half Marathon will set out across Cedar Park Texas just outside of Austin. Costumed or not, participants will work their way across a USATF-certified 13.1-mile course. While costumes are optional at this half marathon event, you are guaranteed to have a good time. Finisher Medals for … MORE
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    kristynauhles FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race is starts/finishes in the parking lot of the HEB Center. The half marathon was a looped course in the shape of a figure 8. It a fairly flat … MORE

    This race is starts/finishes in the parking lot of the HEB Center. The half marathon was a looped course in the shape of a figure 8. It a fairly flat course for the area (Texas hill country) but it did have a long uphill section in the first half and rolling hills in the second half (total elevation gain was just under 400 feet). I would say that the course was not the most scenic as the course ran through a neighborhood, along a country road, along the access road for 183A highway and then back through the neighborhood. The course had areas of no shade so it could have been really hot but we had good weather (approx 57 degrees at the start) and the race started at 7:30am, but it was definitely warm at the finish as it was a sunny day. Water and sports drink was located at about every two miles and mile 6 also had bananas, there were supposed to be gels out on the course (mile 8, I believe) but I never saw them. There were also port-o-potty at several points along the course. The half started approximately 10 minutes before the 5k with the same start/finish location. Participants had different colored bibs so the volunteers were able to easily direct you to the correct place for the 5k turnaround, but with the earlier start it wasn’t much of an issue that I saw. The race is relatively small for a half marathon with approximately 500 runners in the half and 380 5k finishers but there was still some very talented runners out there. Since this was a halloween themed race , there were quite a bit of people in costume (especially in the 5k) which made the event a lot of fun including a man dressed as Maui from Moanna complete with the large hook who ran the half marathon.

    There were pacers with finishing times in 10 minute increments, I have learned to use them as a guide rather than running buddy as I have learned I run better when I run my own race and use them as a marker of how I am doing as I have experienced quite a few pacers go out a little too fast which can really take it out of your legs and the “bank” they create easily gets eaten up the second half when your legs are destroyed and you struggle to keep up with them (I believe since pacers typically pace a group that is a little slower than their race pace that they sometimes they don’t realize that they are a little fast and how detrimental it can be to runners who are pushing themselves to run 10-15 seconds faster a mile to keep up with the pacers). I started between the 2:20 and 2:10 pacers and decided to keep the 2:10 pace sign in my sights (which was easy to do since there were quite a few long, straight away sections) but not worry too much about staying too close to them and then close the gap the second half on the small rolling hills if I was feeling good. When I caught up and passed the 2:10 pacers at the mile 9 marker, the pacer announced to the small group that was with them that they were 2 minutes ahead of pace which was exciting for me to hear as I was still feeling great and meant that if I kept my pace up that I would beat my “A” goal of 2:10 but disappointing to hear for all the runners who where falling behind the pacers because the pacers had not ran even splits and started too fast. My fiancé started off with the 1:40 pacers and said that they were running pretty even splits (+/- 5 seconds a mile) with slight variations for uphills verses downhill sections, he left them at about mile 7 and ended up running a 1:34:55. He was thankful for the pacers as they kept him even and controlled the first half of the race and save some energy to push the second half which is very difficult to do the first time you are running a half marathon as he was. I am glad the pacers were there but I always use caution when running with them.

    After the race, you received a finisher medal. They also had bottled water (sponsored reusable water bottles pre-filled with water), bananas, oranges, a variety of samples from Kind Bars. There were a variety of vendors with giveaways with the typical freebies such as wristbands, lip balm, and sunglasses. About two weeks after the race they emailed a link to a google drive with race photos for download for free, unfortunately the race photographers were pretty bad and missed a lot of people at the finish line because they set up behind the volunteers passing out medals and waters. the photos they did captured had people in the way. It was a good idea but poor execution of shots.

    Each participant received a black, gender specific tech shirt, the women’s shirts ran very small and a goody bag with candies, snacks, flyers and freebies from sponsors. Awards were given to 1st, 2nd, 3rd place in age groups (5 year groupings) and received a medal. The overall male and female winners (1st 3 places) received a cash prize and as a added bonus this year, first place overall (male and female) received cameras and a home security system from one of the sponsors.

    The race was well ran and ran smoothly. The MC was great at announcing all the finishers as they crossed the finish line and doing the award ceremony very quickly which is appreciated after race.

    The race has a fell short on a few of its promises especially when it came to the finish area, I am quoting straight from their website and then following up with what was actually provided.
    1. “What kind of food/drinks are at the finish line? There will be water and sports drinks for all participants. We will also have fruit ready for you as you cross the finish line!” There was no sports drinks at the finish line although there was water and fruit. I know many runners enjoy/need sports drink to help with cramping after a race. At least one runner posted on Facebook after the race that she suffered from cramps post race and was really disappointed that there was no sports drink to be found. This was probably especially true for “slower” racers who finished when the sun was at full force and the day was warming up quickly.
    2. “Will there be a Finish line party? Yes, the finish line will be a party. We will have amazing food and entertainment and bounce houses and face painting for kids. Please feel free to bring blankets and chairs to relax on at the finish line while cheering on your fellow runners!” This was the first half marathon race where there was not pizza/chips/hamburgers/substantial snack selection at the finish line. I actually don’t think there was any food except the fruit and Kind Bar samples. As for entertainment, I don’t remember seeing the bounce house and face painting but I also didn’t look for those and the music was the typical MC/DJ that most races have. They have room for much improvement when it comes to “amazing food” and post race entertainment.

    Overall, I would recommend this race for someone who has never ran it as it was well ran and overall a good race with a lot of perks and the time of year gives you a good chance at good weather. I do not think I will run it again since for distance races (half or longer) I need great fan support, an amazing scenic course, or some other factor to push me to do it again and this race just didn’t have the repeat factor.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Katie_Ho Oct 30, 2018 at 10:09pm

    Kristyna – thanks for the excellent review and congrats on the PR!!

    Kristyna – thanks for the excellent review and congrats on the PR!!

    Please login to reply to this review.

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