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The Montour Trail Half Marathon – A Ranty Recap

While I hesitate to make my return post in such a negative tone, I simply cannot complete this recap without some sort of cynicism towards running today. It was both on my part, and the organizers. Simply put, this race has gone way, way downhill since I first ran it three years ago.

Three years ago this was my very FIRST half marathon. Three years ago the conditions were far from perfect (muggy, rainy and a torrential downpour at mile 10). However, three years ago I was so blown away by the sheer effortlessness of this race that I have continued with distance running. I do not, however, think that the way this race is being managed right now would encourage new runners to continue with the sport.

I’ll get to why I’m so negative in a moment, but first I actually should recap my own experience.

I woke up at 6am, played on my phone in bed until 6:30, and finally managed to get up and get clothed. I didn’t eat anything until 6:50, and scarfed it down when my ride was there at 7. We arrived at The Robinson Town Centre Mall at 7:30, and searched for another friend of ours who was running. This run was not any sort of PR race by any stretch; In truth, it was a training run that we paid for.

When the gun went off (or should I say, the lady yelled “Ready, set, GO!”) we were off. And second to last in the pack. I have NEVER been this far back before, but today I didn’t care. I was in no shape to be running 13 miles, just coming off a week and a half vacation and barely a carb eaten in the days leading up to the race.

This race starts in a mall parking lot. You then run around a half mile out of the mall, down a hill and onto the crushed limestone trail. From there, it is an out and back style course with the turnaround point at mile 7.

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The race all around sucked. If I hadn’t been running and BSing with my friends, this would most certainly be a wash. We incorporate walk breaks into our long runs since it seems to help keep us injury free, and today the humidity and sun was killer. At mile 10 we phoned it in and began walking nearly every mile marker, sometimes at every half mile point. We didn’t care, it was simply TOO hot and all we wanted was our brunch of chicken and waffles at the end.

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2 hours and 55 minutes after the “gun went off”, we crossed the finish. We were first greeted with a lukewarm water bottle and NOTHING else. After a half marathon, I’d appreciate some sort of sustinence. Heck, at that point a piece of bread would have sufficed. Also, no finishers photo. Would it have killed someone to have an iphone out or something? This race hired photographers in the past. Anyways, we kept walking towards the busses back to the starting line.

By the time we reached the mall parking lot, the food for runners was already packed up. That’s right, we made it under 3 hours (the cut-off time for this race), and there was no food left for us to eat. I paid the same amount of money as the people who finished in half my time, where’s my food? I don’t think it’s really that much to ask to have a banana or bagel sitting out for me to grab. In fact, dare I say it’s dangerous for them to NOT have them available?

Keep in mind, we were FAR from the last finishers on the course. After we saw them packing up the food, we were absolutely disgusted. We discussed this being the ‘last time’ we run Montour, and that sealed it. No respect for slow runners. That along with no medal, and I’m sorry …my training runs will best be left as just that, training runs.

Again, I apologize for the sheer negativity in this post ….but I absolutely just hurt for the people who’s half marathon this was their first. It was appaling and poorly mismanaged. I’m not sure what happened with it, but it’s not what it used to be.

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