The New England Half was my 6th half marathon in two years. I did this one last year as well when it was called the Travelers Half. I didn’t love it last year because I was not as prepared to run the half as I would have liked. I was strong armed into this one by one of my running friends and am glad that I did. I also happen to be training for the Disney Marathon, so I turned this half marathon into a 16 mile interval run. My friends and I had a lot of fun with this half marathon!
First the swag, you can’t go wrong with a zip up jacket. Last year the swag was a zip up fleece, that I am actually wearing right now. They also had a pretty cool leaf finisher’s medal at the end. The swag for this race is one of the reasons that I run it. It is also put on by Millennium, and you can never go wrong with one of their races. Registration was easy as always. I could have entered my husband’s phone number so that he could be notified of my progress during the race. I forgot to do this. At registration you can also enter your own phone number so that you results are texted to you.
This is a point to point race. It starts at the Louden Speedway and ends at the state house in Concord. You can either park near the state house and take a shuttle to Louden, or park at Louden and hitch a ride from someone after back to Louden. They do have a bag check that travels on the shuttle back to Concord so that you can pick up at the finish. There are indoor bathrooms as well as plenty of porta potties near the start. There was also a DJ playing to help keep the energy high prior to race start.
At the start line, everyone lines up according to race pace. It was not overly packed and everyone seemed to line up accordingly.
The scenery varies during the race. Portions are through neighborhood like main streets, main roads, as well on a dirt road. The dirt road portion was a couple of miles long if I am recalling correctly. That part was the most scenic. There were pond and farm views all within a tree lined dirt road. The dirt road portion was also very uneven, but if you kept to the middle of the road the surface was more even.
There was a good amount of crowd support for a small race. The police officers on detail made it a lot of fun. This was the first time that I saw detail officers get really into the race and cheer on the runners. It defintly added to overall vibe of the race.
There seemed to be plenty of aid stations. Aid stations were set up with water and Gatorade just about every two miles. There was a gel stop a little more than 8 miles into the race.
During the race, I didn’t think that the race was going to equal 13.1 miles. It seemed like the mile markers were a few tenths of a mile off. I would be at 5 miles according to the mile markers but see 4.8 miles on my Garmin. The race did in fact equate to 13.1 miles. At the 5K and 10K split mile markers there was a timer set up which clocked your time for you with your finishers results.
The elevation is very manageable. There is a rather steep uphill for what felt like close to one mile near the 9 mile marker. At around mile 12 there is another uphill to climb. The finish line crosses with a slight uphill finish at the Concord State House.
There was a lively band at the finish along with vendor tents. After grabbing water, a slice of pizza, banana, and chocolate milk I explored the vendor tents. I grabbed a mini backpack, some tooth brushes, band aid holders, and nutrition bars. There was a results tent to grab your results at. There was also a photo op backdrop to grab your friends and take pictures with. There was a beer ticket to claim your beer at Margaritas. We were not in the mood for Mexican so we went elsewhere to eat after.
In addition, Millennium usually does a great job with race photography. I was emailed several photos of myself as well as a finisher’s video within a couple of days of the finish. I like that they sort the photos according to bib number making it easy to find your photos.
An added bonus for me, is that with Millennium races if you run a total of 26.2 or 40 miles within their race series you earn a jacket. This race puts me at 33 miles, with another race coming up in November. I will only have to run the 1 miler to earn Ultra Status of 40 miles. I will get extra goodies with my runner’s jacket this year. It is all about the swag!