New Smyrna Beach, FL
I wrote a review on Half Fanatics for the SharkBite 1/2 Marathon and thought I would share it here as well since 1/3 of you guys are runners!
I always try to support local races when I can over big corporate races as a rule and this race started and finished right at the local beautiful New Smyrna Beach. (Without having to run on the beach, Score!) I heard some negative comments in their inaugural year last year but they also had horrible weather and you can't fault the race for what mother nature causes. I signed up this year based on the many great things the race advertised for race day, here are some of the positives and negatives I found personally from running this year(2017) and some things I heard from faster runners that finished way ahead of me, haha (I am a slow poke and love it!)
* Starts & Finishes at the Beautiful New Smyrna Beach (One of the Worlds 20 Best Surf Towns & The Shark-Bite Capitol of the World)
* 1/2 Marathon & 5K options
* 6 water stops(every 2 miles) for the 1/2 Marathon
* Best Race DJ's in the State (www.RaceDJ.com)
* Large Finishers Bling for BOTH 1/2 & 5k (*see below for corresponding negative)
* Super soft Race shirt
* Craft Beer at the finish line (New Smyrna Brewing, DELISH!!!!!) (www.newsmyrnabrewing.com)
* Fun & Creative Race bibs
* Free Race Photos which is always an awesome perk! (Almost There)
Things to be worked on for future years:
* The race was an open course to traffic and they had us run WITH traffic. Many drove behind us honking and yelling for us to get off the road and then driving by not leaving more than 1-2 feet of room in the first 5 miles.
* I witnessed 2 Citizen Patrol cars drive on course(mile 4 before the bridge) and one drove past me way too fast and the other almost side swiped a runner in front of me. I did NOT feel safe on the 1st half of the course!!!!
* Waterstops some only had water, some had water and gatorade and some had water and shotblocks. It was surprisingly hot for January and I was dehydrated(by my own doing) and needed electrolytes by halfway and was feeling lightheaded by mile 7, I stuck it out and was relieved when I got to the mile 8 waterstop excited for Gatorade which I was told they did not have.....at halfway you DON'T have gatorade? Come on RD! I was offered a shot block which I can not have due to if I eat while running I will see it in less than a mile......also mile 10 waterstop didn't have gatorade.
* No medics onsite, I was looking for a medic on the course anywhere since I felt like I could fall at any moment, but there were none to be found.
* BLING! They heavily advertised this medal, '"The BEST FINISHER MEDAL" around!', oh what a great medal, the BEST medal, the BIG & HEAVY medal, you won't believe your eyes! I seriously couldn't wait and then the week before the race we get an email the medals won't be at the race because they are stuck in customs....?( I get it, stuff happens, but if you are relying on the success of this 'epic medal' get it to raceday) So lets order from overseas and not support the USA, even though many other RD's in the area get medals made in the US for a good price, they also ordered them so close to the race that none of the finishers got this amazing medal that they pitched so hard you felt like you needed it to breathe! How about ordering them so you get them a month before the race, that way you have them in 'plenty' of time. Don't get me wrong they are cool looking medals(we saw a photo of what it will look like), nothing to stop breathing over like they were leading you to believe, but cooler than some I have received at races. They will now probably mail them to us for probably $4 each to all 1,500 runners eating into any profit the race made, hopefully not cutting into any charity's cut if there was even a charity associated with the race. (This RD does A LOT of 'for profit' races compared to most local RD's that support local charities and schools in 95% of the races they put on.)
* They advertised Top 10% hats for BOTH the top 10% of Men & Women finishing the 1/2 Marathon. They told male runners finishing 40th overall and later that they were not giving out male hats anymore only female hats even though the Top 10% of males had not all finished yet.
* They advertised "Great After Party with Vendors", there really was no after 'party'...not more than 40 people milling around after they finished(some went home, some went to the beach but no after party per se, there were vendors: 2 chiropractors, a Popsicle stand, a clothing stand and a mechanical shark, that's it. There were hardly any post race refreshments, 1/3 of a banana, small vanilla cookies or half a pretzel stick were your options...very lacking in the post race nutrition.
* Clif Bar had bars available to take but they all had nuts in them so if you had a nut allergy you were out of luck and when you asked about it the teenager manning the tent just rolled his eyes.
* Parking is crazy, they do notify you about it, but it is a Small surf town and when you have 1,500 runners coming in you find even getting there an hour before the race you have to park far away to get a spot. Great for a nice warm up walk, bad if you have to make it back to put your packet and shirt back in the car before you start.
Personally I have no interest in running this race again based on the above mentioned negatives but I wanted to be honest in both the good and the bad so you can make your own decision for the Shark Bite Half Marathon in New Smyrna Beach, FL! Every runner should feel safe on the course and should be set up to succeed, not just left on their own once the race fee($50-$80) is paid and that is how myself and a few others felt after this race. I now see it wasn't just the weather last year that caused issues.