This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Virginia was my 24th state.
We all see people wearing race shirts from previous races all the time, right? Well, I ran the half marathon of the Shamrock Marathon and Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, Virginia quite honestly because I saw a guy at the gym where I work out wearing a shirt from the race and it piqued my interest. When I asked him about it, he was very enthusiastic about the race and the course, so I thought I would give it a shot. This was definitely one of the biggest half marathons I had ever ran, but it was so well-organized, the crowds weren’t an issue.
This race is held on the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, so a lot of people that run it go for the party atmosphere. I was a little concerned about partiers being loud and keeping me up the night before the race (go ahead, call me old!), but that wasn’t an issue fortunately. The weather was nice while we were there and we got to enjoy the area before and after the race. Virginia Beach can be pretty expensive, especially hotels in the area, and it is fairly touristy so this place certainly isn’t for everyone. The sand sculptures on the beach were really cool and a very popular spot for photos after the race.
I felt like I got a ton of swag at this race, too; much more than I had at any other race. I got a short-sleeve technical shirt, hooded sweatshirt, running hat, small rucksack bag, in addition to one of the coolest medals I’ve received. The medal was a bottle-opener in the shape of a shamrock so it was functional as well as fun. Fun was pretty much the vibe from start to finish for this race. I highly recommend it.
If you’re flying into the area, the closest public airport is Norfolk International Airport, 13 miles away. Another option is Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, 35 miles away in Newport News, Virginia. There is a trolley system, the VB Wave that is part of the city’s public transportation system. Depending on where your hotel or B & B is, you may be able to walk to many restaurants, bars, and shops. If you stay on streets that are numbered in the teens to twenties (for example, 19th or 25th Street), you should be able to get by without a rental car. However, if you prefer more peace and quiet and stay accordingly on a street at either far end (10th Street or lower and 30th Street and higher), you will definitely want to either rely on the trolleys, a rental car, or taxis.
From my post-race notes:
” Completely flat course along neighborhoods, a military base, and ended at boardwalk by the beach. Good aid stations and volunteers, DJ’s playing music along course. Overcast until very end when sun peeked out, not too much wind. Low 50’s at start. Was biggest race (number of runners) I’ve ran but were divided into corrals so course didn’t feel crowded. Received short-sleeve running shirt, nice hooded sweatshirt, small rucksack-type bag, running hat, and nice medal with a shamrock on it. Was a good race to do. Finish time was an improvement over past several races. My finish time was 2:07:40.”