Race: Neuse River Bridge Run
Runner: Coach Cassie Nevins
Race Date: 04/09/2022
Location: New Bern, NC
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- The race has staggered start times for the different events, which include 13.1, 10K, and 5K.
- The race starts with a climb over the bridge, which is about 180 feet of straight climbing. I preferred the climb in the beginning of the race rather than the finish.
- The race is scheduled at a time of year in North Carolina, where it is not too hot or too cold. The temperature could not have been better for race day, about 55 degrees.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- The aid stations lacked typical items that you would see- gels, bananas, and electrolyte solution like gatorade. The only items at aid stations were water.
- The aid stations were sporadic, the first one was about five miles into the event and they were spread far apart after that.
- For the cost of the event, the items that were included (aid station items) and swag were basic.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
The aid stations only had water.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
Because of the staggered start for all three events, you constantly see other runners on the course. It was nice to see the competition and have other runners within eyesight.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
I was glad that I used hill repeats in my training plan working up to this race. You will cross over the Neuse River bridge two times during the event which includes almost 200 ft both ways, in the beginning of the event.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
The latter part of the course is completely flat. I went out too hard in the beginning and I wish I would have saved some energy for the second half because it is a fast course to the finish line.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The course runs through historical parts of New Bern and there is a lot of change in scenery to keep you entertained. The time flies by and there is a lot of opportunity to see other runners/competition so that you do not get bored.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
The course is beautiful, taking runners through historic homes and neighborhoods. The half marathon starts right at sunrise so you get an excellent view of the sun coming up over the river as you cross the bridge two times.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
This course is great for someone who is looking for a PR. Other than the two bridge repeats, the course is completely flat and can be run fast.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This is the only downside to the event. For the cost of the event, roughly $75 with early registration, they could have contributed a little more to the aid station fare. The organizers failed to send out a pre-race email the week before the event, so make sure you save the initial email when you sign up or you may not remember key details for the event. This race takes place in a military town and they did not start with the National Anthem or even a welcome from the race director, which was unusual compared to other local events in this area. The race directors, did not send out a thank you or a race-recap to participants.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
This is a local community event, so most of the athletes are from the area. There were strong competitors with the local university having collegiate level runners participate in the event.
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.
The race takes place on the waterfront in New Bern, NC. There are several hotels within walking distance to the start line and the convention center, where the race headquarters are located.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
The aid stations only included water, requiring runners to plan ahead for gels and electrolytes.
Weather and typical race conditions
The weather was perfect with low humidity and a high of 55 the morning of the event.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
If you are a runner that needs electrolyte or would like to carry gels, you need to bring your own to this event as the aid station does not have anything besides water.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
There are plenty of places for spectators to find their runners and even walk to different viewing points as the course winds through downtown New Bern.
How’s the Swag?
The swag was sub-par. The t-shirts are men’s cut only, so if you are a female or smaller individual the shirt will be baggy. The race does not give you the option to opt out of the t-shirt, so you get one automatically in the packet. The half marathon does come with a finisher’s medal, but it is small and a basic medal with a sticker on it.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I would give this race 3 out of 5 stars. It is a great race as a training event or a time trial for a bigger training plan which is what I used it for. If you are using this as a primary event, there are larger events in the Eastern NC region that are the same price range, but with better aid stations and swag.
Cassie Nevins is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, please check out her coaching page.