Yesterday, I completed my 8th half marathon in Lincoln, NE, where I was joined by 13,000 other runners. If I have to recommend a top-notch race where every single mile is enjoyable and unique, then Lincoln Half Marathon will be the race. Here’s why:
There was one thing that could have been better though. I think there was an issue with the organization of the race at the starting line. Bibs had different colors according to the estimated pace, I placed myself in the 10 min/mile pace because I knew I could run at that pace for 13 miles. Nobody was checking if the right bib color that represented our pace was in the right section before runners took off. This led to a bigger issue for runners, who like me, had to dodge people from mile 0 till mile 13.1 because slower participants would not move to the right side of the road. It was frustrating at times.
Have you ever thought that after 3 miles you need a shot of whiskey? Well, it seems that some cool guys had the best idea ever and put a table right at mile 3 with whiskey for runners to take some shots. I was very tempted to do it, but I had 10 miles ahead of me. If this had been placed at mile 11 or 12, I would have taken a shot or two for sure!
I am not a big fan of big races, mostly because of how crowded they get, so I tend to sign up for smaller races. I guess I am missing a tons of fun stuff by doing this as I am not used to seeing odd stuff spectators do for runners. Yesterday, Senator Ben Sasse was shaking hands with almost every other runner at the race, which I found very odd, and also nice; but mostly odd. His arm was stretched at all times, and he would just look at the runners to give them a hand shake. Is that common on big races?
I needed a hug, a smile, and words of encouragement at this point; and that’s when I saw one of my friends, Judy. She was waiting for me with a big smile, and as soon as she saw me, she told me “How are you doing?” I replied with tears in my eyes, “I’m a bit burned down.” Four words kept me moving for the next 2.1 miles: “You can do it.”
I have never seen so much involvement from the community in a running event before. Temperatures were between the 40s and the 50s with rain and drizzle at all times, but this didn’t prevent spectators to get out of their comfy beds at 7 in the morning to cheer on runners. Hundreds of signs with words of encouragement like “Go Faster” next to “That’s what she said,” or “You run better than our government” covered the 13.1 miles of the course. People really knew how to make runners giggle and laugh even when we were going through pain while running the rolling hills of the Midwestern city.
Overall, I still think this race was quite amazing. I was 11 seconds from PR’ing but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying every single mile of this race. What made a big difference was definitely the amazing crowd support. And even though I am not a big fan of road racing, I think Lincoln Half Marathon has become my favorite half marathon on pavement.
Here’s my Strava info