Photo: Adam Getty

Race: Enders Insurance Harrisburg Marathon

Runner: Heidi Getty

Race Date: 11/14/2021

Location: Harrisburg

Results: 3:11:19

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

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

  1. Very well organized
  2. Tons of positive volunteers
  3. Great crowd turnout for a smaller race

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

  1. There were a couple gravel sections on the course that were really muddy and unkept. For future marathons it would be good to see them adjust the course to eliminate the gravel sections.
  2. There were a few really tight turns on the course, one of which was a nearly 360 turn from the road to the paved trail. It required you to take a couple steps on uneven grass/dirt. If they adjust the course slightly they could use a paved section that connects the street to the paved trail. My foot was bruised and very tender to touch after the race and I think it is a result of planting funny at this turn during the second loop.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

There are a couple gravel sections along the course. I really hated that aspect of the race, especially since it had rained the day before so there were several mud patches and a lot of slippery leaves to also contend with.

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

I held my pace for most of the race really consistently and on track with what my coach and I planned out. There was a small blip at mile 23.5-ish that cause me to loose my stride and speed but overall I am really proud of how I carried myself through the course.

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

My tip would be to drive along the course and get out to see the terrain up close. As mentioned, there are a couple short gravel sections and tight turns throughout the course that can really mess with you if you are not aware of them.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I started to get cramps around the halfway mark after I ate my 2nd gel. I had trained with these same gels with little issue but on race day they weren’t feeling great. I think next time I will space them out just a little bit more to help my stomach settle between each.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be prepared for different terrains. There will be tight turns and gravel sections that can really mess with your footing/stride.

Photo: Adam Getty

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very pretty course. Nice mix of historical buildings along Front Street and river views along the paved trail.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It was an average difficulty course in my opinion. It had long stretches of fairly flat terrain with a handful of shorter inclines throughout. The one section that I think people underestimate is the out and back bridge section. The bridge out and back is around 1.5 miles and can get a good bit of wind in addition to the steady incline.

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

Yes, it was very well run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It was a good field range.

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.

No, very easy race to sign up for with a lot of affordable places to stay nearby that are either walking distance to the start/finish or an easy 10 min car ride. It is a smaller field size (approximately 750 people) so signing up early wouldn’t be a bad idea incase it fills up.

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

The aid stations were spread out really well along the course. One detail I loved was they handed out small bottles of water, meaning you could control your intake better and reduce the usual spillage from paper cups.

Weather and typical race conditions for the Harrisburg Marathon

Weather was perfect (mid 30s most of the race). If it’s sunny out make sure to wear sun glasses or a hat because there are large stretches of the course that run along the river facing the sun.

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

Be ready for potential sun glare and a little more wind since the course runs along the river.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

This race had a great spectator turnout. It helps that it is a double loop, people can walk easily to different points of the course.

How’s the Swag?

Swag was awesome. They gave every participant a really good quality hoodie, which was perfect for the post race awards and walk (really a hobble) back the the car.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

8/10. The biggest draw back is the tight turns and gravel sections on the course. If they adjusted those items this would be a 10/10.

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