This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Massachusetts was my 29th state.
By now, I had ran a few half marathons in the New England states Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and I had thoroughly enjoyed visiting each state, even if the races were some of my tougher ones. I chose the All Women & One Lucky Guy Half Marathon for my Massachusetts race. As you can tell from the name, this was a race for women, with one “lucky” guy being chosen from a lottery to run in the race. I had never ran in an all-women race before and I was curious to see what it was like.
The All Women & One Lucky Guy Half Marathon was formerly known as the Maine Coast Half Marathon which took place in York, Maine. The new course wound through the streets of Newburyport on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The race organizers said they changed the location of the race because the one in Massachusetts was flatter than the one in Maine, and the race in Massachusetts offered things to do before and after the race and the town had the necessary hotels and inns, restaurants, and retail shops that are vital for a successful race of this size.
The course was an out-and-back that started and finished at Newburyport High School, with country roads winding along Newburyport and West Newburyport, passing two reservoirs along the way. The race typically included more than 800 runners and walkers, so it was on the small side but not so small that you would feel completely secluded along the course. Most of the course’s hills were in the first half of the race, with the exception of a gradual uphill near the finish.
Newburyport is just under an hour driving time to Boston Logan International Airport, which makes it incredibly easy to get to from other parts of the country. We spent the evening before the race in Newburyport and checked out some of the unique shops, but for the rest of our time before and after the race, we were in Boston, which is full of fun things to do. This was my first time to Boston, so my family and I walked the Freedom Trail and took in all of the history. We visited the Samuel Adams Brewery which turned out to be even more fun than we had expected (they make their own root beer for the younger crowd or non-drinkers). There are multiple running tours, food tours, and brewery tours in Boston, in addition to historical tours. If you’re a baseball fan, a must-do is to check out a game at Fenway Park. If you’re a runner, a must-do is to get your photo taken by the Boston Marathon logo that is permanently painted on Charles Street.
If you’re wondering what it was like to run an all-women’s race, there was definitely a different kind of vibe before, during, and after the race. I’m not sure I can even explain it other than there was maybe more of a camaraderie kind of feel. We were all friends just out for a beautiful run that just happened to be a half marathon. Not to say that women aren’t competitive and this race was definitely a competitive race, but that’s the best way I can explain it.
From my post-race notes:
“Beautiful course along country roads; passed several farms and went by water for much of the course. Lots of short but steep hills throughout, however. Was pretty chilly- 40 at start around 42 at finish. Medal and short-sleeve technical shirt were both nice. No race packet so nothing else. Was soup and bread at finish along with usual bananas, water, yogurt. Race was all women and one guy so that was different. Finished in 2:04.”
Unfortunately it appears that 2014 was the last year for this race. Too bad! It was a fun one! There are tons of half and full marathons in Massachusetts, so choosing one should be no problem. There is a half marathon in Newburyport in October, so that would be a good choice and you would get to enjoy the colorful autumn leaves and ideal running temperatures.