Monday, September 16, 2013

Surftown Half Marathon

September 15, 2013

This was the third year of the Surftown Half Marathon, and this year it filled to capacity with 1,800 registrants (1,614 finishers), plus another 500 or so in the new 5K.  Arrived at Misquamicut State Beach just after 6:30AM to a refreshingly cool 50 degree morning, and went for a warm-up run with Muddy and Matthew.  Escaped the insane bathroom lines and crowds to sneak down to the Town Beach and get a few miles in on Atlantic Ave. 
Massive starting line (from rear of running crowd looking forward)

Miles 0 - 5:  As with last year, the race start was delayed about 15 minutes or so to allow the masses to get situated.  The gun went off, and I followed behind Muddy and Ryan Woolley marching down Atlantic behind the police lead car and some antique truck, which while nostalgic, was belching noxious smoke – ugh!  Last year I ran this about 6:20 average pace, and this year I was aiming for closer to 6:10.  In the first mile, I got passed by two very speedy ladies, and in the second mile got passed by a guy in a Timex shirt.  That was it for the passing all race; I settled into 6th place and ran the rest of the race as an island, most of it not seeing anyone ahead of me.  The first five miles were right on the money and even ahead of goal pace on flat roads along the ocean:  6:02, 6:05, 6:06, 6:09, 6:06.
Behind leaders Muddy and Ryan 0.5 miles in
(photo courtesy Leanne Noonan)
Miles 6 - 10:  Couldn't hold to a 6:10 during this section.  Mile 6 was fine as it was still on flat Atlantic Ave and the fan support and familiar faces were great here!  Once I turned off Atlantic onto Fisherman and Shore, I had my slowest miles of the race. At the Fisherman water and GU stop, I heard one woman (referencing me) saying, "Look, it's another one of those same shirts.  That club is really dominating out here!".  A huge smile from me as I yelled back "Westerly Track Club!" (didn't have enough energy to insert "and Athletic").  Shore and Watch Hills Roads were quiet and lonely.  Never saw anyone ahead of me, nor heard anyone behind me.  Splits for miles 6 - 10:  6:10, 6:16, 6:20, 6:10, 6:17.
Mile 7 back at Misquamicut State Beach
(photo by Jana)

Miles 11 - finish:  I tell myself just a 5K to go.  As I turn into the "hill", I glance back and for the first time see someone very close behind me.  It seems silly to even mention the "Ocean House Bump", as it's only a 50-foot climb and nothing compared to the climbs Jonny is making out on the Pisgah trail race today in NH, but just the same I prepare for it by shortening my stride and slowly the pace just a tad.  I catch my breath at the top and am able to pick it up again for the last few miles, have my fastest mile all day on Mile 13, and widen my gap over the guy chasing me.  Splits for final miles:  6:05, 6:09, 6:00.
Mile 13

The finish line!
(photo by Leanne)

Final official time 1:21:28, for an average pace of 6:14.  PR by 22 seconds!  6th overall out of 1,614. 1st in age group.  

Really thrilled with my finish.  Post race celebrations included catching up with Matthew and his awesome results on his debut half-marathon, jumping in the ocean with Muddy, schmoozing with the rest of WTAC runners at awards (except Mike B - where did he disappear to?), and catching up with BLS at the beer tent.

Notable achievements:
  • Muddy with the overall WIN!  Just awesome!
  • Matthew (excuse the proud Dad moment here) just killing it with a 6:43 average pace and 26th overall!  He was looking to run "sub 7:30", but exceeded all those expectations and more, by even surpassing his Blessing pace.
  • Lots of WTAC singlets and PRs out there, including Seth, Crutch, and 1st timer Ryan Noonan.  Great to be part of a cool and growing local running club.


  1. Fantastic race you ran, and a great write-up! Incredible showing by the WTAC, too, everyone should be proud of their results...and great to represent on our home turf. Unbelievable pace by Matthew, and at his first half, you should be a proud dad!

  2. Awesome work out there. I lost sight of you by Mile 1 and then you were gone!

  3. Great race Jeff!! The pride in your smile talking about Matthew was so awesome!!! Great job to both of you!!

  4. Amazing, amazing job by you and all of WTAC. Congratulations!