HO-LY HILLS BATMAN! What a course – endless hills, uneven roads, but some gorgeous views and for a heartbreaking & meaningful cause!
This was my first half marathon in a while – after taking some advice that I may be doing ‘too much cardio’ (yes, it is actually a thing, but not for everybody) I put running on hold, and I must say I missed it and won’t be putting it off any more.
PRE RACE COMMUNICATIONS
For a small race I was impressed with their pre race communications. This race is put on by ‘Rhode Races & Events’ hosting multiple different half marathons and race events throughout the state of Rhode Island, so they have definitely figured their stuff out with all of these races. Their website is very user friendly with lots of information for runners, spectators, and volunteers. They even e-mailed out a race packet with information and maps.
I wasn’t able to pick up my packet and bib the day before, so a friend of mine (Amanda) picked it up for me – there wasn’t an ‘expo’ per-say. The morning of the bib pick up was under a tent and a few local businesses set up booths.
I had worked the night before closing the health club, so didn’t get home until about 10 and then drove down to Rhode Island to a hotel about 20 mins away from the race start.
Uhh, lets just say it was an interesting experience when we were in line to check in to the hotel – there was an irate woman and police involved. We eventually got to our room with a crazy loud snoring neighbor. 4 hours of sleep later we were up and ready to go. This was one of the earlier races I’ve run with a bright and early 7am start.
There was plenty of parking for the size of the race, half steps from the race start at Fort Getty – but you had to get there at least an hour before the start as the roads began shutting down to get in there.
As we waited for Amanda, her friends and family to show up we walked down to the staring area. Plenty of port-a-potties for the race and the line moved smoother than most races.
This race was held in honor of Officer Ryan Bourque at just 24 years old Ryan was on his way home from his shift with the Jamestown RI Police Department when he was killed after being hit head on by a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on the highway. That day happened to be his one year ‘anniversary’ with the department – in that one year he made a huge impact on the youth of the community.
Ryan’s parents and his girlfriend Hailey (Amanda’s sister) have been doing everything in their power to honor Ryan’s memory. Through a T-shirt fundraiser, this race, and a 5k added to the event – donations are being put to the Jamestown Playground Restoration Fund. The community park will be restored and revamped and Ryan will be memorialized at the new playground.
To make a donation to this amazing cause the link is HERE on CrowdRise or mailed to Police Chief Ed Mello – 250 Conanicus Ave, Jamestown RI 02835 with checks payable to “Ryan Bourque Jamestown Playground Restoration Fund”
Hailey started off the race standing strong next to Ryan’s parents thanking the runners for being there and wishing everyone luck. Hailey ran the race herself in honor of Ryan and crushed it. Her strength and resilience through all of this is so admirable. I cannot even fathom the pain and emotional roller coaster she is fighting.
There was no real corral start for this race, and honestly there was no need. Rhode Island Road Runners had pacers spread out throughout the start and people fell in to place around them.
The course starts off taking you right out of Fort Getty and taking a left along the water. The first half has especially gorgeous views of the coast, a beautiful farm, through the charm of Jamestown, and past the expressly impressive suspension bridge (thank goodness we did not run across it). The course took us around the island with endless ‘rolling hills’
Starting with Mile 6 I remember running though communities and small neighborhoods, but what I really remember is it was the beginning of the largest incline on the course spanning across a few miles. At one point during this we were running uphill on an especially slanted road I was right with Amanda the whole way until my knee locked up and felt the pain – on old nagging injury resurfacing and an inconvenient time.
I ran on, at a slightly slower pace. Mile 9 the incline hit its peak and I realized that I hadn’t been drinking a solid amount of water – the water stops handed you a SIP of water and I hadn’t carried my own for this race.
At some points along the course it was a little questionable when it came to traffic. Both lanes on most of the roads were opened and they used the thin ‘cone lane’ method along the edge of the road. I can tell afterwards by the way my legs and knee feel that the uneven-ness of running on the edge of the road was a little bothersome.
Mile 10 the calf cramps started and I began having flashbacks to the Maine race – likely the next water stop also had Gatorade and a Gel – which I happily accepted both. At this point I walked drank and took the Gel and massaged out my calf. I had been in line with this father daughter couple running who motivated me to pick back up the pace. they finished a minuet or two ahead of me.
The morning was absolutely perfect, Ryan was definitely watching over us all with the amazing weather – 60s with a light breeze.
FINISHER CHUTE/POST RACE
The finish was in Fort Getty where we started – as always the Gem was right there waiting with a smile.
At the finish line Hailey, Amanda, and her family were there cheering and helping with medals. I gave them all hugs and walked over to get some goodies.
I started off with the solid mistake of CHUGGING a water bottle. After the intense calf cramps I knew some dehydration was setting in and I KNOW you are supposed to sip water, but ya girl clearly was not thinking straight. You’d think I would have learned after the chaos that was Maine, but as you can tell I’m pretty stubborn.
This started my demise – sparing you LOTs of details we had to cancel plans to head to Connecticut and there was a lot of throwing up on my part. SIPPING water and Blue Gatorade (thanks Des!) for the win.
Race Shirt: They are not name brand or anything, but they offered men’s and women’s cuts and offered a t-shirt swap if you wanted to check out a different size. They were tech-type material and pretty comfortable. I’d say on the better end for the price of race entry!
Medal: The bling – detailed with the race info and colorful!
This race was all about the cause for me – the hills were definitely a struggle and definitely a mental challenge, but it was all worth it. Passing each Jamestown officer who gave a smile, nod or cheer of encouragement was an honor. Knowing that Ryan made such an impact on this community made every struggle seem so small, and so worth it.
I know that I am well trained when I can cut of 11 mins from my last half marathon and can definitely PR in Vegas.
Finish Time – 2:48:37