Runner Heidi Getty shares her experience of the Washington DC Half Marathon in this race report.

Race: DC Half Marathon

Runner: Heidi Getty

Race Date: 9/19/2021

Location: Washington DC

Results: 1:30:43

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/uzyeZdBsJjb

washington dc half marathon

3 Bests – What aspects of the Washington DC Half Marathon did you like the most?

1. Beautiful course along the Potomac
2. Water stops every 2 miles
3. Really organized, had plenty of volunteers, medical staff, etc

Not so much – What aspects of the Washington DC Half Marathon didn’t work for you?

They needed more restrooms at the starting line and throughout the course. Also, there was no parking near the starting line, it would be nice to have shuttles for future races.

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

I had a great PR at this race despite it being 70 degrees and muggy. I took a 5 second walk at each water stop to ensure that I drank enough water (without spilling it all over myself) so I felt really hydrated despite the heat and humidity.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Washington DC Half Marathon to help the next runner

Go out slower than your goal pace. I always struggled with that in prior races. I had enough energy for the second half to pick it up.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Stay calm. I was really hyped up on adrenaline for the first few miles. I had to really focus on staying calm and keeping my pace on track.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Washington DC half marathon?

For the most part the course is shaded, which helps with the hotter/muggier conditions. However, the last couple of miles are mostly exposed to the sun. It gets really hot so it’s important to be well hydrated prior to that.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Beautiful course. Lots of trees and stone bridges.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It was a fairly flat course but in the middle there were a handful of gradual inclines that I wasn’t expecting.

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

It was the Washington DC Half Marathon’s first year, and I think they did a great job organizing.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It wasn’t a huge race, maybe 1000-1500 total, but there was a good range skill levels and paces to keep it competitive for everyone.

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.

It was a really simple race to sign up for, all done online. With it being the first year for the half-marathon not many people knew about it. I think as it becomes more popular hotels/places to stay may become more difficult but for me this year it was simple. DC prices are more expensive and there is no parking near the starting line so you need to have someone drop you off near the Lincoln Memorial.

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

Pretty standard. Water and Gatorade every 2 miles. Plenty of volunteers handing out cups and cleaning up around the trash bins.

Weather and typical race conditions

It was hot and muggy, something DC natives said was typical for this time of year. Most of the course was shaded so that helped but when you were in the sun it got pretty brutal.

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

They strongly recommended bring fluids (belt or vests were ok). At some races they limit the fluid amounts/don’t allow vests but for this one they encouraged it due to the hot and muggy conditions.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not a large crowd but scattered cheering groups were excited and happy to be there.

How’s the Swag?

Swag was simple but nice. The t-shirt was a softer cotton with the race logo on the front and graphic on the back and seemed true to size. Also, post race you could take your bib to The Shake Shack and get a free shake, beer, or wine. It was a nice post-race celebratory drink that got people out to see some of the city.

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

5 out of 5. For this being the race’s first year, I was really impressed. I am excited to see how it grows in the years to come as more people learn about it.

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