This past Saturday (March 29th), I qualified for the Half Fanatics by completing my second half marathon in 7 days – the Berry College Half Marathon. Berry is my alma mater so I was super excited to run this race.
It was great fun, but I will be honest and say I walked probably 80% of it. I had never done two half marathons so close together and was not prepared for what the first one did to my body. But I finished it, got my bling and my Half Fanatic qualification so I was very proud of myself.
The weekend started with a trip to Berry to pick up my race bib. There was an expo, but it was basically just the sponsors of the race. Which would be great if I lived in the Rome, GA area – which I don’t. So I picked up my bib and headed to have dinner with my parents, sister and nephew.
After dinner, my husband and I headed to my parents’ house where we were staying the night. Luckily, they live about 45 minutes from Berry so we didn’t have to travel to far to and from the race and my parents were able to dog sit while I was running. I laid out my outfit for race day and headed to bed early to ensure I got enough sleep.
Race day started pretty early. I got up, dressed in my Swirlgear (vintage shirt, shorts and headband) and drank my Ignite Naturals GSH Ignite chocolate shake to prepare for the race. Since I have race stomach issues, a protein shake is the only thing I can have on race morning without getting sick or cramps during the race. We drove to Berry, leaving plenty of time to chill, use the bathroom (they were opened in the student center!) and take a few photos before the race started.
I even found the Chick-fil-a cow (they were a sponsor) and I knew I just HAD to get a photo.
It was finally time for the race to start. We started by running through the main campus for about 2 miles before heading out to the mountain portion of the campus. Miles 2-5 were really boring as we were just running down stretch road to the mountain campus. But the scenery changed at mile 5 when I passed Swan Lake.
Next up was Frost Chapel. I stopped to get a selfie.
The halfway point of the race came when I had to run on a gravel road to the Old Mill (which still runs about twice a year).
Mile 8 saw me running through the old dairy. Though the buildings have been transformed into apartments for students now, they are still beautiful and have a lovely pond behind them which I also got to run around.
After this, we ran back to the main road before veering off onto Viking Trail for the last 3 miles or so. This is a biking & running path that runs through the woods (though it was on pavement) all the way back to the main campus. It would have been quite pleasant if the rain had held off, but it did not. It rained for about 2.5 miles.
Finally, I made it back to the main campus and crossed the finish line.
I then posed for a photo with my new bling. The “castle” in the background is the Ford buildings. You may remember them from the movie “Remember the Titans.” They were also my dorm for my freshman & sophomore years at Berry.
My final time was slow – 3:42:40. But I did finish which was the important thing. And, with the exception of the rain, I had a lot of fun running by all of the landmarks on campus. They brought back so many great memories.
Final Thoughts on the race:
- I usually don’t like smaller races like this, but this was pretty enjoyable. There were plenty of volunteers who were so supportive and enthusiastic – even in the rain and waiting for us stragglers at the back.
- I also liked that they had medical people at every water stop and a couple of EMTs on bikes riding with all us runners. This was great for such a small race.
- The runners themselves were fabulous. There were a few spots where the faster runners passed us slower ones and they all took time to smile, wave and tell us we were doing great.
- The course was relatively flat which was a great thing after doing the Publix Half in Atlanta last week.
- The course was among the most scenic I’ve experienced. Of course, I may be a little biased as I did spend 4 fabulous years at Berry.