I ran this race because it had been over a month since I had a race on my schedule and I was feeling a little lazy. Plus my better half was out of town for a family wedding and I felt like I should take advantage of that since I so frequently leave him alone when I go out of town. This race takes place over Memorial Day weekend and is a short drive from most upstate cities. A lot of my local running friends had run it in the past so I signed up.
This race goes through downtown Binghamton and the suburban areas around some of the local colleges. The course is fairly scenic and there are plenty of spectators out cheering runners on during the main stretches of the race. If you are not familiar with Binghamton, the course can be a little boring. Not a lot of variety. All the city blocks look the same as do the suburban neighborhoods. There are some stretches of the course that are lonely. If you aren’t good about getting to your zen place without encouragement make sure you wear your iPod for this one.
The half and the full courses overlap but there are markers identifying when to turn for each race. If you are a back of a the pack runner STAY ALERT! There aren’t a lot of volunteers around these interchanges later in the day; a couple hours into your run and you might go off course.
The finish line for the marathon and the half are at different places. There wasn’t much fanfare at the half marathon finish. Initially I wasn’t sure that I had stopped at the right place and then I saw volunteers with medals. I don’t know if the post race is set up at the marathon finish but I didn’t see anything at the finish of the half. Even smaller races have a box of bananas and granola bars.
After a short walk from the finish I did see a couple of booths set up but these were all vendors where you could buy food and drink. After running 13.1 miles I’d hope there would be something that was included with the race registration fee. Like I said, it was confusing at the finish line. Maybe there was a post race setup somewhere but there were no signs or volunteers to point this area out to runners. It was the strange situation where I was truly in the middle of the pack. I didn’t see a lot of runners finish before or after me. Usually if I don’t know what to do I just follow the crowd but that wasn’t an option here.
Parking for the race is plentiful and free but it is a long way off from the finish of the race. If you are not familiar with the area you will wander around after the race with no idea how to get back to where you parked. I am happy that I run with my phone. After walking mindlessly for a couple blocks I turned on my GPS and found my way back to where I parked. Without this I would have been completely lost. I was feeling very dehydrated and sore at this point so that would not have ended well.
Luckily I had some snacks in my car so I could have a little something to eat while I stretched. I still ended up cramping up a little on my drive home but there is nothing better for heavy sweater than an order of salty Mcdonald’s or Wendy’s french fries. Yes, I take salt tablets but still not enough to keep me from cramping on a hot day. I know, that’s not what I’m supposed to say but it’s true. If you have an option between 90 minutes in your car with Charley horses or a large order of fries I hope you’d pick the high calorie option too.
Bottom line: Nice medal. Some hills but not too bad if you run in upstate NY. Easy to get to and plenty of reasonable priced hotels in the area. No post race. Could use better course support (both volunteers and signs). Average price. I didn’t hate it but I probably wouldn’t run it again.