Overall Rating
Overall Rating (36 Reviews)
4.5
(36 Ratings)  (36 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.8
SCENERY
3.6
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4.7
Find your pot of gold at the 50th Annual Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend. This St. Paddy’s Day tradition is celebrating its golden year in Virginia Beach, Virginia this March. There is a race distance for every goal: Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K, and challenges. No matter the distance, you’ll experience the … MORE
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Recent reviews

    cassidymegan3 REPEAT RUNNER '22

    I told myself last time "twice is enough" but the song of the siren that is the Shamrock Marathon beckoned me, once again, to the shores of Virginia Beach. I … MORE

    I told myself last time “twice is enough” but the song of the siren that is the Shamrock Marathon beckoned me, once again, to the shores of Virginia Beach. I wasn’t sure how this one was going to be: Starting December 4, 2021, I attempted the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days to run a marathon distance for a female and my leg gave out 14 miles into marathon #42. That took me out of running for several weeks. But I invited a friend from an online running group to join me at this event (he came from Baltimore) and we ran it together…for the most part. He told me to go get my sub-4 at mile 23 so I took off.
    ☘ It was the 50-year anniversary of this race and it did not disappoint. The course can be a little light on crowd support but there are pockets of people cheering along the way. Running with a friend this year: I barely noticed. This course is flat, flat, flat except for the bridge that marathoners cross twice at about mile 15 and (maybe) 23.5 (the way “out” is much worse than the way back.)
    ☘ this is the first time that I’ve done the race where they gave a unisex shirt so when I got my Medium, I was swimming in it but I don’t mind. I have plenty of shirts. As usual, we get a hat and blanket after we cross the finish line as well as the snacks and the cinch bag to carry it all in.
    ☘ I say “no more Shamrock Marathon” but I’m sure I’ll be back again. It’s such a good course and there are enough marathoners after the half-marathoners break away that you don’t feel lonely or as if you’re the only one out there… who am I kidding? I’ll be back. This is the first time I didn’t PR without trying but under the circumstances: I’m more than happy with my sub-4!
    ☘Do this race. Swag, scenery, and after party are worth it.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    mnjogger FIRST-TIMER '22

    I ran the full despite not having a good winter training season in our brutal midwest winter this year. I performed better than expected. I recommend this race for it's … MORE

    I ran the full despite not having a good winter training season in our brutal midwest winter this year. I performed better than expected. I recommend this race for it’s mostly flat course, great race communication, great execution, and ample swag. Volunteers and crowd support were wonderful. There are ample water stops. And the after party on the beach was a delight for me who came from Minnesnowta to run this. There are two parts of the course without much support because they are military bases: Fort Story and Camp Pendleton. There was a gradual hill to run up near Fort Story (miles 3-6) but it’s in a lovely wooded area to distract you. Winds were from the west and north 10-15 mph, but they didn’t impact the first part of the race like I thought they would since we started off running north. Temps started mid 50s and ended mid 60s, which was comfortable. If you’re on the fence about running this, I advise you to do it!

    DIFFICULTY
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    runhappylvt FIRST-TIMER '22

    This is definitely a weekend geared toward runners who enjoy the social aspect of races - I did not take part in the post-race festivities so I can’t comment on … MORE

    This is definitely a weekend geared toward runners who enjoy the social aspect of races – I did not take part in the post-race festivities so I can’t comment on the quality, but the event certainly caters to those who like to participate in races as couples or groups rather than individuals. I had a fine time on my own but the course and the atmosphere weren’t enough to draw me back another year.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    5
    SCENERY
    2
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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '22

    Packet pick up at the race expo was super easy. I was a little disappointed in the bibs this year, but due to COVID considerations, they were good for the … MORE

    Packet pick up at the race expo was super easy. I was a little disappointed in the bibs this year, but due to COVID considerations, they were good for the situation if a little on the small side. I ran the Dolphin Challenge this year (the 8k on Sat and the 1/2 on Sun). Both races had tech shirts (short sleeve for the 8k, long sleeve for the 1/2). Aside from the race merch, the expo was a little underwhelming, but again…COVID.

    I stayed at the Oceanfront Inn which was a perfectly suitable hotel for a race weekend. No frills, family owned, one of the host hotels so it was right at the finish (and start of the 8k).

    The weather this year was perfect. The race course is incredibly flat. That being said there is a mile or so that is all an incline, though not a terribly noticeable one. The course is pretty scenic, said incline being tree lined, and Fort Story being pretty attractive itself, featuring a pair of lighthouses and service members who come out to make sure the course is secure as well as cheer on the runners. There are also water stops that pop up by people along the course featuring beer.

    In addition to high quality medals, finishers of both the half and full marathons received a blanket with the 50th Shamrock logo, a hat also with the logo, and a drawstring backpack to put it all in so you can still hold your beer (of which you get 4 free with your race bib from Yuengling…options being their light beer or regular lager).

    The post race experience is even more fun in a huge tent right on the beach which offers aforementioned Yuengling, live music, and Irish stew (both vegetarian and beef). Since my hotel overlooked the finish tent, I was able to have a couple beers, go to my room and shower, and come back for some more beers on the beach. I also got to put my feet in the ocean (which was a great ice bath).

    I would call this one a must do. I traveled by myself this year and have honestly never had so much fun at a race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    hacanrun FIRST-TIMER '22

    Great race past lighthouses, through nice neighborhoods with cheering and along the boardwalk at the end. Among the swag was a finishers hat and a blanket, which was great for … MORE

    Great race past lighthouses, through nice neighborhoods with cheering and along the boardwalk at the end. Among the swag was a finishers hat and a blanket, which was great for the beach party at the end.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '22

    It's a pretty out and back course for the 8k, the out being in the shade and the back being mostly on the boardwalk and in the sun. That being … MORE

    It’s a pretty out and back course for the 8k, the out being in the shade and the back being mostly on the boardwalk and in the sun. That being said, the weather was gorgeous, but heated up fast. The time limit on this race is 2 hours which is plenty of time to walk it and plenty of people walk it in their most festive St. Patrick’s Day attire. A beer coozy (and actual beer) await you at the finish. Since this year was the 50th running, the coozy was better quality than in years past and was gold with the 50th logo on it. The medal is pretty awesome for a shorter race and features the Irish prayer “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, and may the sun shine warm upon your face” on the back which was a lovely touch.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
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    5
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    Necks97 FIRST-TIMER '22

    An amazing effort by organizers, volunteers, spectators and participants! I have never felt so welcomed to visit a town and connect with others from throughout the country. Everything was first … MORE

    An amazing effort by organizers, volunteers, spectators and participants! I have never felt so welcomed to visit a town and connect with others from throughout the country. Everything was first class.

    REGISTRATION & EXPO:
    – Convention center was within walking distance of the board ward and start line (1.5 miles).
    – Registration was well organized and easy to navigate.
    – Medium sized expo with a wide variety of participating vendors. Retail booths, future race booths, nutrition and charity organizations.

    SATURDAY = 8K
    – Flat and fast course that weaves the boardwalk area.
    – SWAG = Participant bag, Short Sleeve Tech T-Shirt, Medal, Pint Glass Koosie!
    FOOD AT FINISH: Water, Bananas, & Cookies were provided at the finish line.

    SUNDAY = HALF MARATHON:
    – Nice course with a slight incline early on.
    – Huge number of participants… even though I run slow, I was never without a pack to run with (NICE!).
    – Very unique in that the race goes through Joint Expedition Base Little Creek Fort Story.
    – Military personnel very very welcoming and appeared to be helping with the event.
    Although I expected a little more “BEACH,” the scenery was pleasant and appealing.
    SWAG = Participant bag, Long Sleeve Tech T-Shirt, Runners Hat, &B each Towel.
    FOOD AT FINISH: Water, Bananas, Cookies, Nutrition Bar and Crackers were provided at the finish line.

    The after party for each event included a serving of Irish Stew and 4 beers. Cover band played inside the massive tent that was set up on the beach. The bands that played were amazing and had the crown dancing and singing.

    I would definitely recommend the Shamrock to all runners looking for a RUNcation.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    alwoods REPEAT RUNNER '21

    I love all events that J &A Racing puts on and Shamrock is one of my all time favorite events. They handled the logistics of this "Covid Friendly" race well. … MORE

    I love all events that J &A Racing puts on and Shamrock is one of my all time favorite events. They handled the logistics of this “Covid Friendly” race well. The communication was great, support was great, swag was amazing, and it is oceanfront. The wind was the only negative thing about the weekend. This was my 3rd time running in person there (previously ran the half only)and the weather can be a bit iffy in March there. But it was so much fun!

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I am trying to run a half marathon every month and this was the only weekend in March I could squeeze in a half marathon between my work schedule and … MORE

    I am trying to run a half marathon every month and this was the only weekend in March I could squeeze in a half marathon between my work schedule and marathon/ultra schedule. When I was looking for races this one caught my eye but I wasn’t sure how it would be possible to hold this race this year. Well you know what they say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Race directors definitely got a bunch of lemons this year (so please be kind to them!) but j&a racing did the best they could to make lemonade and hold a safe and fun event with what they were given. Logistics: this was held from 7am to 5pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on an open, official course with chip timing and limited to about half the normal participants but still a whole lot more participants than most races this year. I arrived in Virginia Beach mid-morning on Saturday. A plus of this modified race was I was able to do the dolphin challenge (8K + half marathon) which I normally wouldn’t be able to do without taking Friday off. As soon as I arrived in Virginia Beach I picked up my packet at the host hotel which is the Hilton right by the start. FYI if you want to stay at the host hotel book your room asap it was sold out when I booked hotels but I stayed at the Ramada which was right nearby and very convenient. Packet pick up was spread over 4 days and opened for several hours each day so I understand why it had to be inside and the conference room was very large, easy to space out in and well ventilated. Not as safe as outdoor packet pickup but as safe as indoor could be. This was set up as kind of a mini expo where they were selling some other Shamrock gear and some gels and chews for the race. At packet pickup you get your swag and the swag was amazing. It came in a tote bag and for the half you got a long sleeved tech shirt, blanket, hat and a cup plus with the dolphin challenge I got all the 8K swag too. You also got your medals at packet pickup which I get that it is safer to hand out everything at once but it was a little anticlimactic and this is the one thing I wish they figured out how to change. The medals are beautiful and sparkly and are all bottle openers since it is St. Paddy’s day themed and appropriate size for the distance. For the dolphin challenge you get 3 medals and the dolphin one is amazing and my favorite medal besides my Beach city sea turtle medal. I did the half on Sunday morning. The open course made race morning very unstressful. I wanted to start around 7am so I would have time to shower and relax after the race before 11am hotel check out time so I just rolled out of bed put on my running gear and walked to the startline and went. The start is not too exciting but the RD is there to cheer on runners which was appreciated (and allowed it to meet criteria for half fanatics/marathon maniacs during the pandemic – I confirmed with them it will count if anyone wants to know). The course is quite nice. The first 5 miles are an out and back along the boardwalk. It was lovely to be near the ocean. Also the boardwalk is cement not wooden boards so don’t worry it is fast. Weather was absolutely perfect on Sunday and there was not much wind. Course was well marked but one place I was slightly confused and had to stop and look around but quickly saw a course sign. After the boardwalk it is about a mile on the main street of Virginia Beach then an out and back that consists of few miles of pretty neighborhoods and a few miles through a nice and shaded state park where there is a turn around. It was pancake flat until the state park where there were some easy rollers which were actually a nice break to use some different muscles. The out and back nature of this course actual worked great for this race format and you were always with other runners. There were limited aid stations this year but they had 2 set up that you passed twice (four times for marathon) with self served water and Nuun. There were also mile markers on the course. There were a couple road crossings which maybe made me lose 30 to 60 seconds but they did a good job making a course with minimal road crossings. The marathon ended up being 2 loops of the half due to flooding on the initial course. The course this year was similar to the usual course from what I saw online but this year did not go through the military base. After the out and back you turn back on the boardwalk and run to the finish line. It’s a little anticlimatic with no medals at the end but the RD and lucky the leprechaun and a lot of runners are there to cheer you. No issues with the timing mat for my half marathon. My time was actually faster than I meant it to be due to the easy course and encouragement from other runners. I meant to do this at more of a training pace and finish around 2:45 since I’m tapering for my 50K but was closer to my usual goal race time of 2:30. Oh well I had fun and didn’t get injured which was my main goal. There was no post race party this year but several local restaurants and bars had deals for the runners but I chose instead to get some delicious vegan junk food for a post race meal from the Bumbling Bee which is about 5 miles away from the race but worth the drive if you love vegan junk food as much as I do. Overall I thought this was a very fun event and they definitely made the best of a bad situation. It wasn’t perfect and I definitely miss large races but this was definitely better than going fully virtual, deferring to next year, rescheduling to the fall on a date when I’m probably already registered for another race or even worse holding an unsafe event. I am planning to do the NYC Half Marathon next March (I did the virtual half for guaranteed entry in 2022 this year) which usually falls on the same weekend as this race but I absolutely want to come back and do this race again one year to see what it is like without the modifications. If it is this good with all these modifications I’m sure it is amazing without them.

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    M_Sohaskey Mar 25, 2021 at 8:21pm

    Sounds like J&A did a great job, all things considered! Glad you didn't have to deal with the wind both days, I've been training in crazy wind all winter and… MORE

    Sounds like J&A did a great job, all things considered! Glad you didn't have to deal with the wind both days, I've been training in crazy wind all winter and it's the worst. We're still waiting for California to open up (our last year here has been one... long... taper), but in the meantime it's great to be able to follow along on your own racing adventures. Congrats on the double weekend and thanks for two great reviews! (And count me in on the vegan junk food... anywhere, anytime 😋.) LESS

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    seagroves87 Mar 26, 2021 at 6:01pm

    Yes, they definitely did a great job! I wish more races would consider this format rather than just postponing or cancelling. Also I will be sure to include more vegan… MORE

    Yes, they definitely did a great job! I wish more races would consider this format rather than just postponing or cancelling. Also I will be sure to include more vegan junk food recs whenever I find some for my post race meal :) LESS

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I did the 8K this year as part of the dolphin challenge. You can read my review for the half for more details but the silver lining of the modified … MORE

    I did the 8K this year as part of the dolphin challenge. You can read my review for the half for more details but the silver lining of the modified Shamrock experience this year was I got to do the 8K and the dolphin challenge. The 8K swag was great for a short race and included a short-sleeved tech shirt, a drink cozie, and a really nice medal although appropriately smaller than the half and full medals. Since I did both the 8K and the half I got the dolphin challenge medal which was amazing! I did this race right after packet pickup. It started with an out and back on the boardwalk and then about a mile or so on a main street in Virginia Beach before turning back on the boardwalk. It was a nice, pancake flat 5 miles. The only difficulty is there was a strong headwind on Saturday when I ran it. There was issues with my chip timing for the 8K and they seemed to miss my finish line time but it sort of got fixed but now my listed time is 2 mins slower than my Garmin. Oh well I still had fun and the swag is great and had no issues with the timing chip for the half marathon

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    22twain REPEAT RUNNER '20

    A handful of us committed to running Shamrock Half virtually down at the oceanfront after hearing the unfortunate news of a live event being cancelled. Without course support and access … MORE

    A handful of us committed to running Shamrock Half virtually down at the oceanfront after hearing the unfortunate news of a live event being cancelled. Without course support and access to Ft. Story, the route was a simple out and back. Weather was unusually perfect.

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    22twain REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Signed up to see how my fitness level had progressed since 2018, but opted to pace a friend for her first sub-2 finish, which was just as rewarding as setting … MORE

    Signed up to see how my fitness level had progressed since 2018, but opted to pace a friend for her first sub-2 finish, which was just as rewarding as setting a PR, if not more so. Same course, same support, same amazing after party!

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    5
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    Course was ok... two out and backs. We had decent weather. LOVED the fleece blanket at the end!! We stayed close to start/finish which made it so easy to shower … MORE

    Course was ok… two out and backs. We had decent weather. LOVED the fleece blanket at the end!!
    We stayed close to start/finish which made it so easy to shower and return to party with our group of runners!
    The after party with Irish stew and FOUR beers and great music!!

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    splante5874 FIRST-TIMER '19

    The 8k is a nice flat course. You run down the Main Street to turn around and come back on the boardwalk. After party is AWESOME! Hosted by Yuengling and … MORE

    The 8k is a nice flat course. You run down the Main Street to turn around and come back on the boardwalk. After party is AWESOME! Hosted by Yuengling and the huge tent is heated. Day I ran was cold but at least I finished before the snow started to fly. The 1/2 and full marathons were not so lucky. But that’s March on the Ocean. Swag was great too!

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    karenmhwells FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race gave awesome swag, the course was flat, and it had a beautiful finish. I also loved the stew at the finish line area. Very unique. The blankets at … MORE

    This race gave awesome swag, the course was flat, and it had a beautiful finish. I also loved the stew at the finish line area. Very unique. The blankets at the end were nice too.

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    dbrown FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first marathon. I chose the Shamrock because of its reputation as a flat course and it did not disappoint. The weather was a concern as it was … MORE

    This was my first marathon. I chose the Shamrock because of its reputation as a flat course and it did not disappoint. The weather was a concern as it was windy and looked like it may rain early on while we were getting in the corrals. The weather turned out fine though as it got into the high 40’s and was sunny. The only spot where wind ended up being the slightest problem was in Fort Story. However, the wind was of little concern as I simply took in the sites of the fort. After leaving the fort you are just heading back to the same route towards the boardwalk area. At this juncture the half marathoners and marathoners split (did not see it as abproblem running the two groups together. I liked the crowds of people around for my first marathon and do not think they slowed the faster runners down. The second half of the route takes you along the boardwalk and the ocean in sight is relaxing. The only real hill is crossing the Rudee Inlet Bridge. At mile 15 getting close to Camp Pendleton I realized I was actually going to be able to finish this thing. Finishingnup the race by Poseidon is pretty cool. Swag galore as you cross the line. A small zip bag with the race logo, a runners cap with the race you completed on the back, a blanket, medal, chips, water, gatorade, fruit, protein bars. A small walk to the party although I only stayed a few moments. Expo earlier was fine, long sleeve tech shirt specific to your race was high quality. I jave no real complaints. Of all of the races that I have done I am proud to say the two best overall productions have been in my home state-Anthem in Richmond and this race. I will def be registering for this marathon again next year. In fact I have already reserved hotel rooms on the boardwalk for this coming race. This one I stayed at a cheaper Marriott in Norfolk and had the wife drop me off early, but decided to make it easier on myself this coming year. Also, plenty of water stops and Gatorade stops along the route. Not a ton of spectators, but more on the second half of the route when they are sorely needed.

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    runnermama FIRST-TIMER '19

    Very well planned event from start to finish. Expo had plenty of vendors, corrals were easy to get in, aid stations were well staffed and had everything they claimed to … MORE

    Very well planned event from start to finish. Expo had plenty of vendors, corrals were easy to get in, aid stations were well staffed and had everything they claimed to have, post-race party was good food and good fun. They even had a tent set up race day morning selling gloves, hand warmers, etc. in case you needed it last minute (which I did…sooo happy I bought the shamrock gloves because the start was very chilly!) The city itself has many fantastic restaurants (breakfast at Commune is a MUST!!!), and a beautiful boardwalk for your shakeout run. The only downside is the wind can be bothersome along the coastal portion of the race. All in all I highly recommend this race!

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    ruateddybear2 FIRST-TIMER '19

    It’s a beautiful course. I’d totally recommend it! It takes you through three different bases, a beautiful park, and of course up and down the beach. It was well ran, … MORE

    It’s a beautiful course. I’d totally recommend it! It takes you through three different bases, a beautiful park, and of course up and down the beach. It was well ran, the volunteers where awesome, and the swag was cool! I didn’t realize I’d get a nice finishers hat and blanket. Love them!

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    Bluebird46360 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I think that this was overall a great race! The course was very flat with a repeat hill about mile 16/22 (bridge) which I felt gave me a chance to … MORE

    I think that this was overall a great race! The course was very flat with a repeat hill about mile 16/22 (bridge) which I felt gave me a chance to stretch out my legs/hips. I was a very windy race (off the ocean), but who can control the weather. J&A Race did an awesome job of production, as this was very well organized race with tons of extra swag (blanket, hat, and a beautiful medal). The after party was great with tons of beer (4 free), and stew. The bands were great, we had a lot of fun doing this race, and will certainly be back again! Considering I was sick all weekend, my time was not too bad…

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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '19

    The weather this year was perfect, temperatures around 50 and sunny. The race expo was a little disappointing in size, but probably because I'm used to bigger expos. It was … MORE

    The weather this year was perfect, temperatures around 50 and sunny. The race expo was a little disappointing in size, but probably because I’m used to bigger expos. It was well run, however. There is no race day packet pickup, but a friend can pick up for you if they have the form filled out allowing them to pick up for you.

    I have never seen so much green in a race or so many opportunities for free alcohol. You could get drunk on the race course if you were so inclined. The most scenic part of the race is the first half, taking you through Fort Story and along roads lined with trees. The second half is a little less exciting, though not boring by any means. The course itself is mostly flat, the only real “hills” being the bridge you cross on the marathon course with a slight incline (that you don’t even feel) in the first 5 miles or so. The course contained such amusing things as Leprechaun Lane (with fun facts about Leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day) and corny Irish jokes in Ft. Pendleton on the marathon course.

    My only goal, especially running the 8k the day before as part of the Whale Challenge, was to finish under 6 hours. This course is perfect for PR’s as long as the weather cooperates.

    The post race swag included 2 awesome medals (the one for 26.2 and the awesome Whale Challenge medal), a running hat, and this year’s finisher item was a nice race branded blanket. There were also plenty of edible items handed out, not including the post race tent. My only complaint was having to walk on sand after running 26.2 miles to get to and from the post race festivities, which was not enjoyable.

    I don’t know that I’d come back for the marathon, half marathons being my preferred distance, but I’d definitely go back for the Dolphin Challenge (8k and 13.1).

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