This will be a short re-cap of the Mississippi River Half Marathon.
First, we don’t get snow in the South. I know my Northern friends and relatives like to make fun of us, but we really don’t have the equipment or clothes to deal with this weather. (I, too, sometimes think the hysteria is a bit much, however.) We had bad weather a week ago, it warmed up a little but then the cold and snow moved in again. I realize that our definition of snow is not a Midwesterner’s or Northeasterner’s definition. So it snowed last night plus there was ice. I no longer have an ice scraper in my car. I was thankful for the woman who came from Colorado and brought one along. My windshield was clear in a few minutes.
In October when my cousin and I signed up for this race we expected normal winter temperatures of around 40ish. That is pretty good running weather. This morning it was 29 degrees and I later found out that the wind chill was 22 degrees. I was freezing. She was fine but she lives in New Hampshire.
This is a great race, despite the fact that I had to quit at mile 3 because I was so cold that the medic really thought I was on the verge of hypothermia. Start to Finish puts it on and this was the second year. It’s well organized, enough buses to get everyone to the start line, great volunteers, great packet and medals, lots of port of potties, 2 free photos, lots of food at the finish line – the things runners love from a good race. And it really is flat as a pancake other than a slight climb on the bridge that goes over the Mississippi River.
Running over the Mississippi River was the attraction for this race. My cousin Nancy is working on 25 half’s in 25 states and this would have gotten her two states, Arkansas and Mississippi. The bridge is about 3 miles long and there was still slush and ice on the pavement though they had sanded and salted. Lots of people were walking and there were a lot of slower runners this morning. We actually walked at about a 15:45 pace, which isn’t awful for jumping over patches of ice and grids in the bridge.
This was the river from the window of the bus:
Cold and foggy. There was a slight wind as well. I became chilled going over the bridge. I had enough layers on part of my body but not all of it. I was chilled to my core by the time we reached the first water stop that was being staffed by the National Guard. They put me in a van to get warm but then said they thought I was headed for hypothermia if I went back out. A volunteer took me back to the starting line to the medical tent. I do meet the nicest people in the medical tent but I can give that up anytime. It took me around 4 hours to finally get warm again. I sat and watched the first guys come in from the half and full marathon – all in shorts. I thought I was going to be sick looking at them because it just made me colder to look at runners in shorts.
For the record, nutrition and hydration were not issues today. It was the cold that got me.
Here are a few more photos: Me with Nancy at the starting area. McDonald’s was providing coffee, fyi. You can see how muddy and icy the area was where we were dropped off. The race actually started on the bridge (the sign is just visible in this photo).
By the way, behind the buses is a restaurant called The Cowpen. And, yes, it really is an old cowpen. See what you can do with those family barns that are no longer being used?
I would return to try this one again if the weather is normal next winter. It was a great race and there were nice people to talk to on the bus.