We'll start in the parking lot. This race has quite a bit of logistics and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing until we started running. Very confusing.
Parking: Runners could park anywhere at Hampton Beach, but the Casino Ballroom was the official parking lot. I greatly appreciated the fact that we could park there. It made getting in and out quick and easy, I didn't have to pay a meter or search for a spot, plus the shuttle buses were right there for pick up and drop off.
Getting to the Starting Line: There were 2 buses in the parking lot at the Casino Ballroom - one for the half marathon, one for the 20 miler. Show volunteer your email proving you are a runner, get on the correct bus. Simple enough. Except a few people were on the wrong bus. Whoops!
Get on the right bus. Or else you end up at the wrong start line. Ask the driver where they are headed to be sure.
The bus drives along the coast to the starting line, giving you a preview of the course. Once you park, you can hang out on bus until the start time (which isn't for a while), or you can get off to pick up your bib and t-shirt if you need to get those, use the bathroom, drop off a bag with bag check, or start warming up.
Sitting on this bus took forever. I almost killed the battery on my phone sitting there waiting, but it was good practice for me to run a race that had a later start time and where I had to shuttle, since Boston will be similar in both ways.
Last comment about getting to the start line: you can't actually see the start from the buses. There is no arch or anything to make it stick out, so don't try to find it. My only tip is to follow the mass of people when they start walking away from the buses. They'll bring you around the corner where the race kicks off.
The Course: I have run most of this course before during solo runs on the beach. I think I could run on the beach everyday of the year. The views and smells of the ocean just never get old. Even running along one flat road you get different views - the rocky shore, marshes, mansions, the wall, the strip, the drawbridge - from Rye to North Hampton through Hampton, Seabrook, and Salisbury.
Running such a long distance along the coast leaves lots of room for weather changes. Wear layers! I was cold a the start and FREEZING at the finish, with gloves, a hat, and a buff covering my face, but HOT halfway through, ripping off those layers as fast as I could. Also sunscreen. During all of this I got a sunburn. The perils of being a pale-faced runner.
Final course tip is to be careful along the edge of the roads. Even though you are running a straight shot, with barely two hills, the grading on the edge might start to get to you, there are areas with sidewalks that aren't the best, and it might be covered in sand sometimes. Keep an eye out!
The Finish: The finish line is around the corner, off the main road that you have been running down for the majority of the race. You won't be able to see it coming until you are close enough to spot the orange cones forming a finish line shoot. By the time you see them you'll be thanking all that is holy that the race is over. Or maybe that was just me. I had a rough last few miles.
I was super thankful that there were snacks at the finish line, because we needed another shuttle before getting back to our cars. My favorite were the bags of tortilla chips! I've never seen that before and I needed that salt! There were also Clif protein bars, waters, and Gatorade for runners.
The Swag: The swag that came along with this race was lackluster. The medal wasn't very high quality and I feel like for a race as long as a half marathon or a 20 miler you deserve a NICE medal! This one a just a generic, thin medal with a sticker for the race. Where's that old McKayla Maroney unimpressed face meme?
Runners also got a t-shirt, but I can't comment on the quality because I didn't take one. I have enough t-shirts so I passed.
The After Party: I can't comment on the after party either because I bailed to head home. I needed to get out of there and have a warm shower to thaw myself out. I did read that were were complementary massages though. Sounds amazing.
Official Time: 2:32:45
Not my slowest, not even close to my fastest. I just keep reminding myself this was a training run and I did 4 hours of yoga at my fundraiser the day before!
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance