Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Owens-Corning Glass City Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.
For as long as I’ve been running I’ve always told myself I wanted to run a Glass City race! The past reviews and the unique experience provided by race organizers was the ultimate draw for me. Not to mention the common theme I have heard is running the Glass is FAST! That statement is absolutely correct as 24% of the marathon runners posted a BQ time! As for my time, you will need to wait until the end!
I know most races try to stay on top of providing the most updated information from the time of registration all the way to race morning…and Glass City Marathon organizers did just that. It seemed like every week I had an update waiting in my inbox, along with every social media outlet available. Great communication in my books is what I look for!
Expo: I did not have the opportunity to make it to the expo, but heard great things about it. The Expo was held on Saturday in The Savage arena, and was also the place of bib pick up on race day.
So for me it was going to be a race day pick up. My alarm clock woke me at 2:30 am, yes that is not a typo, for a 7am start. I would be making the 2hr and 15min drive the morning of race day. Talk about needing some extra stretching time. I pulled into The University of Toledo and was met by volunteers directing traffic into the correct parking areas. There were numerous areas to park around the venue, which made for an easy in and easy out scenario. Luckily I picked a parking area that was close to the Expo center and start line. Win win! As I expected the lines were short and I was able to secure my bib and race day swag!
Off to the start line I went to meet up with my fellow BibRave Pro’s running the race, Mark and Jeph. Along the route I passed by the well know church on campus, where I had to stop for a selfie. The start line was filling up with people and the music and announcements where starting. There were more than enough toilets to use pre race. However like all races it seems like we all wait until the last minute to use them.
Course: The course started you off through the campus and then led you into a upscale residential area, where to my surprise was filled with spectators cheering the runners on. Hats off to you Toledo, as I’m not so sure I would have found myself out there on a chilly 40 degree morning! At mile 8 the marathoners spilt off while us half marathoners headed back towards campus.
Mile 1 – Mile 4: The first two miles were very congested and filled with runners. This lead to a slow pace, while at the same time kept me from starting off too fast. My first mile was ran in a 8:04 min/pace. I wasn’t overly concerned as I knew I could pick some time up. Around mile 3 we headed into the residential area an the roads thinned out. By the end of mile 4 I was tracking towards my target pace.
My goal was to run an easy race not over exert myself. My goal was 1:45, but depending on how my legs felt would determine if I shot for a PR.
The first four miles consisted of an Up and down, but not to drastic elevation change.
Mile 5 – Mile 8: The scenery during this stretch consisted of some very nice houses and the spectators were abundant and providing the motivation to propel runners. I was feeling great and knew I could PR so I had that in sight.
At mile 8 the marathoners split off which meant the road thinned out even more. At this point I found myself doing a lot of thinking, since I did not race with headphones and there were only a few runners in front of and behind me.
Mile 9 through finish: I struggled around mile 11 as I felt like I had a huge blister forming on my left forefoot and toes. I tried to change my stride, but that did not subdue the pain. It became mind over matter as we headed back towards campus. At that point I glanced at my watch and found myself staring at the possibility of crushing my PR (from my training runs) and took off. The crowds lined along the side of the streets were amazing and propelled me down that last mile. We made the last turn and entered the Glass Bowl, where I felt like I was shot out of a cannon. I saw the clock had just ticked past 1:38 and took off in a sprint. I was happy as I crossed the finish line, only to find out my time was even better due to the chip timing. 1:37:27!!!
Swag: The medals for these events were by far some of the largest I’ve seen! Along with the medal you received a glass mug to celebrate your accomplishment at the post race party. The food, or should I say pizza was fantastic! I grabbed a craft beer, knowning I had a 2 hr drive home still waiting, and listened to some tunes.
Volunteers: The amount of volunteers at the aid stations made getting hydration seamless. As you approached the stations they were calling out water or Gatorade to prevent any confusion or back ups. Thank you volunteers!
To conclude the Glass City Marathon met and exceeded all of my expectations for my first half. To PR on my first run will definitely have me coming back for either the full or half next year! I would definitely recommend this race to anyone and you can check out my review here on BibRave.
You will run fast at The Glass!!!
Have you ever run the Glass City Marathon? What were your thoughts?