Alright my running peeps! I apologize for the silence and for the delay in reviewing this race. Despite the tardiness, I still wanted to share my thoughts because the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. The company also hosts a Coastal 5K and a Doggie Dash the same weekend so, just to be clear, this post will focus on the half marathon.
The surfing-themed Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon is extremely popular, drawing runners from all over the world to the warm and sunny Myrtle Beach area. According to the website information, it is a must-do race here on the Atlantic Coast. If you love to run and love the beach, then this race may be one you want to pay particular attention to!
The 13.1 mile course started at the Coastal Grand Mall right outside of Dillard’s and wove along roads and highways all the way to Plyler Park near Ocean Boulevard. It may go without saying, but the going was flat…like, utterly flat and paved. No trail running here, which could be difficult for runners who have not trained on harder surfaces.
Despite the distance and flatness, the course was quite stimulating. While runners did move through city and populated residential areas, there were also some amazing views to behold. One of the loveliest segments was through the a park around mile six. Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon also boasts five miles of oceanfront running. This is certainly true, but it was sometimes hard to see the sand and water from the road. In fact, much of the five miles is actually spent with huge buildings blocking what would have been the most stunning views.
There were a total of eight water stations, which provided adequate opportunities for hydration. Roads were also clear and the course easily identified.
Organization and Volunteers
Parking was free and close to the starting line! Participants were able to park in the Coastal Grand Mall parking lot, which was incredibly convenient. Volunteers were also amazing, despite the chilly morning weather. There were no issues with registration and everyone was so encouraging. Water stations were well-staffed and there were even “cheerleaders” at various locations, waving signs and even serenade runners.
Organization was on point. Roads were closed where needed and manned by very nice officers throughout. Everything seemed to run smoothly; even the shuttles returning participants to the parking area were on time.
Race Celebration and Festival Area
The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon is relatively large, with 4,000 runners participating this year. Despite the large numbers, the post race concert and beer garden areas at Plyler Park were never over-crowded. One of the best aspects of the festival area was the view of the ocean. Runners were literally steps away from the water. Entertainment was also provided. Participants enjoyed listening to live surf-themed bands as well as a live post race concert.
It’s also worth noting the Health & Fitness Exposition, at which packet pick-up was located. This expo ran Friday and Saturday, so racers could enjoy visiting with a number great fitness vendors. This was an incredible addition for those looking to learn about and sign up for more races in the region. Not to mention all the cool running swag available for purchase!
This race offers some of the very best takeaways for participants. The finisher medals were epic, just as they were last year. These buggers are surfboard shaped, have a bottle opener built in, and are magnets! How cool is that? Racers also received a t-shirt and access to the beer garden with limitless refills.
This was a really neat race appropriate for experienced runners and first-time half marathoners. The flat terrain is particularly enticing for beginners. The course was interesting, everything was well organized, and the staff was wonderful. Aside from some slightly disappointing views, there isn’t much that could have been done better.
The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon is a fantastic half marathon and it is completely deserving of my 4.5 out of 5.0 rating.
Personal Race Reflections
This was my very first go at a half marathon and I have to say, it was probably one of my favorite races ever. From the expo to the course, I enjoyed every minute of it.
While I have completed a Spartan Beast before, which was roughly 13 miles long, this was my first traditional 13.1 mile run. My training had tapered off a bit and I wasn’t sure how I would ultimately perform. In fact, I was a little worried I wouldn’t meet the 3.5 hour course limit! As it turned out, however, the slow and steady pace I set and kept throughout made for an almost relaxing run. I know that sounds crazy, but I really love when I can just go and go and go without pushing so hard I want to die by the time I reach the finish line. I prefer distance to speed and I dislike hills, so this was a near perfect racing experience for me.
- Bib Number: 2692
- Overall: 2096 of 4001
- Overall Women: 1266 of 1654
- Age Group: 127 of 176
- Time: 2:49:17
Okay, so let’s break this down. The numbers show that I was in the top 53% of all runners, top 77% of women, and top 73% of women in my age group. Not so hot, but I’m actually really pleased overall. This was my first attempt at a race like this and I ran all but about six minutes of it. My placement may not be great, but I walked less than 4% of the entire course and I’m really proud of that fact. Granted, my pace was slow, but I kept the pace I set well. According to the splits on my phone, I maintained my pace within about 15 seconds every mile.
I will definitely be doing more half marathons in the future. In fact, we have already started signing up for a few and I can’t wait for the next one!
If you are interested in trying out a half marathon for the first time or are a seasoned runner looking for a new adventure, I highly recommend the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. You can register here!
And there we are, folks! Hope you enjoyed this race review and, as always, keep trotting!