Dallas Half Marathon Race Report – Scott Sayler

Race: BMW Dallas Half Marathon

Runner: Scott Sayler

Race Date: 12/12/2021

Location: Dallas, TX

Results: 1:49:09

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6375974175

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • Great course!
  • Nearly perfect weather.
  • Well organized! (see below…no negative comments)

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I’m preparing to qualify for Boston at the January 16, 2022 Houston Marathon. Part of my preparation was racing the Williams Route 66 Tulsa Half Marathon back on Nov. 21. I had a 5 minute PR in that race and felt pretty good about myself going into the Dallas Half Marathon. I had been nailing all of my workouts and was excited about improving upon my 1:52:09 at Tulsa. My pre-race goal was to improve upon my Tulsa results.

The Dallas course has a slight 200′ gain in elevation on the front half and a slight downhill 200′ loss heading towards the finish line. My goal was to go out a bit faster, but nothing crazy. I was hoping to settle into a pace that allowed me to really open it up and race for home in the second half. It worked to perfection. I ran nearly a perfect race. I hit all of my front half splits going out the first mile, holding back at 8:45 and then settled into a 8:25-8:30 pace for the first half of the race uphill. I was hoping to sustain 8:15 on the second half but exceeded my expectations with the following splits from 7 miles on: 8:22, 8:11, 7:55, 7:55, 7:45, 7:52, 7:48. My goal was to break my Tulsa PR by a minute or so. I thought I had an optimistic shot at breaking the 1:50 barrier. Result exactly a 3 minute PR. Expectations exceeded. I never looked at elapse time. I totally focused in on each individual mile. It didn’t hurt that I had nearly perfect weather. Temps at start were high 30s, sunny, light wind, temps at finish high 40s.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Hold back at start conserving energy for the second half of the race. At the start, the race course immediately goes downhill. It would be very easy to go out too fast. On the front half, push a bit on the slight uphill sections, but not so much that there’s nothing in the tank when you get to the slight downhill. The slight downhill allows you to really open it up.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Many time us runners have an alternative plan if our race plan is not going well. Be sure to have an alternative race strategy for those times when you are exceeding your race plan….and go for it!

I have been experimenting with UCAN edge fuel to go. (Super starch) This was the first time I had raced with it. I followed the directions and
consumed UCAN 40 minutes before the race and then at the 8.5 mark where UCAN had a station. I had no ill affects, no stomach issues. I will be using it at Houston.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  • Hold back at the start
  • Conserve on the front half
  • Race downhill on the second half
  • It really helped me for my pre-race prep to stay in a hotel (Aloft) adjacent to the start. I was 1/3 mile from my corral. I was able to stay warm and take my last bathroom break before heading out for a short warmup.
  • I also had some disposable warmup gear that kept me warm prior to start

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, mostly. The course starts and finishes downtown among the Dallas skyscrapers. There are some beautiful neighborhoods along with everyday nothing to write home about city streets.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Although it is not flat, the Dallas Half Marathon is not a tough course. All of the uphill and downhill is very gradual. It could be tough if you went out too fast.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?


Competition – Is there a strong field?


Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

I would say it helps to book early.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Excellent aid stations along the route. 9 stations in 13.1 miles. They also had UCAN (starch energy fluid) at the start and mile 8.5 (16 mile for marathon)

Weather and typical race conditions

Slightly cool but much preferred to warm/hot. Temps were in the high 30s to start and high 40s at the finish. Sunny and light winds

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

With the cool temps, I had some disposable warmup gear

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?


How’s the Swag?

  • Excellent! A nice cotton “check-in” T.
  • An awesome finishing long sleeve T.
  • Great 50th anniversary medal

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Dallas Half Marathon race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 STARS. I would highly recommend this race to anyone.

Scott Sayler is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Scott, check out his coaching page.