Star City Half Marathon

I ran the Star City Half Marathon for the 2nd time on November 23rd. It was the 28th year of this local race and they had record numbers of people turn out this year.

Christine and I have been training for this race since late August. We had put in loads of miles and lots of long runs to get to this race.  We were blessed with no injuries and were able to go out and just run it.

Believe it or not, I had no concrete goal for this race, other than I wanted to have fun and enjoy it, and I wanted to beat my time from last year.  I calculated that if I did at least a 10:30 pace throughout the race, I’d beat my time.  That seemed pretty doable, so I wasn’t too worried.

At the last minute, I decided to carry a camera with me, so was able to capture some of the race course.

Here is Christine and I at the starting line.

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We decided to run our own race, so this was the last time I saw her during the race.

Once the gun went of, we said our good byes and headed out on the first of 3 legs.

The race is separated into 3 stages:

The first stage is a 6 mile loop that takes you through downtown Roanoke…

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…and past the Transportation museum. Then back toward the start.

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During this loop, I caught one of the official race photographers taking photos.

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Here’s the photo he caught:

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At mile 6, I was at 1:01:57.

The second stage was a 4(ish) mile loop that pulls a loong hill up Franklin Avenue, and through an old Southwest neighborhood.  This is the serious hill portion of the race.

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I held back during the first part of the race, so that I could have enough to make it up to the top of the hill and then push on the back side of the course.

Mile 8 signified the peak of the long hill, and then it was (mostly) down hill on the backside, through several neighborhoods.

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The final leg of the race is a fairly flat 3(ish) mile loop on the greenway.  Both years I’ve run this, it has been the toughest section of the race, mainly because near mile 11, they take you past the finish line.  You still have 2 more miles to go, and yet you see people finishing the race.  There are lots of people cheering and celebrating…but not for you.  For me, I just had to put my head down and keep running.

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At this point, I was pushing hard, trying to maintain and increase my pace and just keep going to the end. Once I reached the far end of the loop, I tried pushing even faster toward the end. I passed a bunch of people in the last mile, which turned out to be my fastest mile at a 9:24 pace.

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I ended up shaving 6 minutes off of last years time, coming in at 2:14:31.7.

Christine was only minutes behind me and I barely had enough time to get some water before she crossed the finish line, blowing her time away by 20 minutes.  Astounding!

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We really had fun on this race, but glad that half marathon season is over!

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