I was set up to push my son in the half marathon, and then afterwards - he would run in the "Diaper Dash" 50 yard race. I was really excited to see him do his race - since he's finally walking now, so this would be his first official "race" where he was moving all on his own.
As for the Half Marathon - the course is fairly technical (in terms of turns) and has several rolling hills with a few steep sections. It is NOT an ideal course for a stroller because of this and one can expect to lose a fair amount of time from their standard half marathon times if they are pushing a stroller (at least, *I* can expect that).
There were metric shitton of people corralled into the start line and everything went off without a hitch with one exception - and that would be my chief complaint with this race: They made everyone with a stroller go to the back. This was more or less loosely enforced (since I passed a few people pushing strollers - which means they started ahead of me and not in the back), but when I tried to line up in the front I was told to go to the back of the line because all strollers had to be there. Despite my attempts to protest ("Dude, I'm expecting to finish this under 1:30 - I won't be in ANYONE'S way!") - I was sent to the back.
Now, that leads to several issues and probably one of the worst things about running with a stroller in a race if you're a faster runner. If you cannot get out in front of the main pack - then you're going to be stuck behind it. There is no inbetween. So when you're stuck in the very back of a gigantic race with people doing the 5k, 10k, and half marathon in front of you - you WILL be slowed to a slow jog (or even a walk at time) for the first couple of miles because of the people in front of you who are casually doing the race (not that there is anything wrong with that - in fact - I applaud anyone who was supporting this cause).
Unfortunately, this is what happened to me. I was in the very back when the race started, and as we began the race - the streets were narrow and windy before it opened up to "open road." I did the best I could with what I could do - but there were several people walking, lightly jogging, and more than a few with earphones in (and subsequently not paying attention and drifting back and forth throughout the course). This lead to (what felt like, at least) 9:30 miles for the first two miles or so of the course.
|Weaving around people delayed me a bit, but once I got opened it worked well enough.|
I would rate this course as a difficult half marathon course WITHOUT a stroller. It was hot - and once you got out in the open road there was absolutely no cover from the sun until the turnaround. However, there were a multitude of aid stations that were well placed and the volunteers did an outstanding job getting the water and sports drink out to the runners. In addition to the heat, the rolling hills would wear you down after awhile. There were several long climbs with long descents and some steeper, shorter ones mixed in as well. It made for a challenging course for the people running it - but provided an extra challenge to those pushing a stroller. The problem with hills and a stroller is that you're pushing a bunch of extra weight going up the hill and then you're pulling the stroller coming down the hill (to prevent it from getting away).
|Pushing up a hill is tough.|
|Crossing the finish line.|
|With Bruce and the wifey before his race (I know, he looked THRILLED)|
Bruce did well. He started walking and about halfway to the turnaround saw a dog playing off in the field and a kid bouncing a ball - so he immediately decided that those things were more interesting than the race and started walking towards them. I had to redirect him several times, and he eventually finished. One of the volunteers apparently took away the medal box too soon - so they had to go hunting for a medal for Bruce. They eventually gave him the same one that the Half Marathoners got - which was pretty cool since it was a much nicer medal (not that my one year old would care either way, but still).
|Brucie crossing the finish line, so proud of him.|
All in all, a really good day and a really well run race. I will be back next year (probably sans stroller) to give it another shot.