Unique venue - Stennis Space Center Dec 6, 2014 | Marathon Overall Rating: FLTLBrun REPEAT RUNNER '14 Follow A small race (less than 120 in the marathon) put on with love by the Gulf Coast Running Club. The entire race takes place on the grounds of the Stennis … MORE A small race (less than 120 in the marathon) put on with love by the Gulf Coast Running Club. The entire race takes place on the grounds of the Stennis Space Center which is primarily FLAT. This is my second running of the Mississippi Coast Marathon (previously ran it in 2012). Another low key race that provided a pleasant experience. You need to know that I don’t need bands and spirit stations nor a closed course, nor spectators or a bzillion other runners. I just need a certified course and a race put on “for the love of racing”. This marathon offers these simple things. Volunteers who say “thanks for coming to our race” and make me believe they really feel that way is all I need. Packet pickup the day prior to the race is held at the Mississippi Welcome Center about 3 miles from the Stennis Space Center. It is easy to reach. Packet pickup is just that, your bib, shirt, a hearty “welcome, we’re glad you’re here” and that’s it. We stayed in Slidell, La. which is about 17 miles away. Race morning we drove to the Stennis Space Center and as you might imagine there was a security checkpoint which required either a special driver’s license or passport. The guards had a list of every runner’s name. The process went slowly but since we arrived very early it didn’t create any issue for us. Others, who arrived closer to the race start time sat in long lines. In fact, the bottleneck at the security station held up the race by approximately 20 minutes. Those waiting at the start line were kept informed by simple and clear announcements. Race morning temps were cool but as soon as we started temps began to warm up to a very comfortable level. It was partly sunny and the wind picked up especially in the later stages of the race making the last 6 miles or so quite the challenge. I would describe the course as a double loop with a few short out and backs. Aid stations were sufficient and volunteers were enthusiastic. Since this race is so small (even with the 5k and half marathon), they do timing and scoring “the old fashioned way”. No chips to worry about, that’s for sure. You cross the finish line and they rip off the bottom tag on your bib. Then they give you a small rectangular tab with your finisher place on it and ask you to fill it out – name, age, finish time. Then you remove the backing and stick the tab on a tally sheet. For this spoiled girlie that was way too much work to do in the first 60 seconds of crossing the finish line. But actually it wasn’t a problem. While there is a 6 hour time limit to this race, they really start tearing down things at about 5 hours. They also tend to run out of post race food. This isn’t an issue for me since I’m a vegetarian and the only food they offer has meat. Knowing this I planned to bring a snack. We were disappointed to learn that the vendor the club used for their finishers medals actually shorted them about 200 medals, so it was decided that they would mail the medals to all marathoners. These things happen and they were upfront about it. For a smaller race, they are very generous with their award structure, recognizing masters, grandmasters and then age group participants three deep. If you are looking for a simple marathon in a unique venue, the Mississippi Coast Marathon just might be right for you. DIFFICULTY 3 PRODUCTION 4 SCENERY 4 SWAG 2 Please login to reply to this review.