Race: Williams Route 66 Half Marathon

Runner: Scott Sayler

Race Date: 11/21/2021

Location: Tulsa, OK

Results: 1:52.09 4th place Men 65-69

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/dashboard

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

  • Well organized
  • Good size event. Not huge like the BIG Marathons/Halfs, but not small either.

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

There really wasn’t much not to like. I mention below the rolling hills assisted me. Not everyone would like the hills, especially the 1/4 mile steep hill between mile 12 and 13. That coupled with the 10-15 mph headwind made for challenging finish. Ha! I loved it! Due to the hilly course, most likely a tough course to qualify for Boston if you were running a marathon. Although a 21 year old won the marathon in a time of 2:36.07.

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

Although the race went off without any issues, due to all of the backed up shipping on both coasts, there were no finishing medals at the finish. However, the race organizers notified us ahead of time and will mail us our medals when they arrive. I also thought it was a bit odd that they had a “Marathon Relay” division. I hadn’t seen that before. You’d be racing with the same group of folks and all of a sudden, someone would shoot out of a cannon like they had just started the race and were only running a 10K. Ha! That’s exactly what was happening.

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

I’m at the beginning of my macrocycle as I prepare to qualify for Boston at the Houston Marathon in January. My race strategy was to settle into a sustainable pace that would allow me to race hard the last 4 miles. The splits for my last 4 miles were 8:24, 8:18, 8:20, 8:06. My time of 1:52:09 was a PR of nearly 5 minutes from a year ago. (4:40) I placed in the top 5 for my age group finishing 4th.

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

The first 5.5 miles was a rolling course. I had not raced a half or a marathon with this much elevation change. I focused on the energy I was expending and disciplined myself on the uphills such that I could really get it going on the flat /downhill on the other side. This allowed me on the downhills to really open it up in a relaxed fashion and exceed my expected pace. In a way, the rolling hills early on assisted me in my early pace.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • During the second half of the race, when it was time to push and pick up the pace and really race, I used a new mantra that I got from Elite marathoner Sara Hall: “The well is deep, keep going to the well” This really worked for me.
  • I focused on staying really relaxed throughout

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Like any half or marathon, hold back a bit to start. The hills start right away and although I mentioned above that used them to my advantage, I disciplined myself to not go too fast at the start. Be prepared for the 1/4 mile hill between mile 12 /13.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The first 6 miles is beautiful as the course winds through a neighborhood that looks like it belongs in Beverly Hills.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I would say, due to the hills and elevation change of 500′, that it’s a bit tougher than average.

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

Absolutely! Definitely a well-oiled machine. Ha! Appropriate for Tulsa, Oklahoma. I would highly recommend the half or marathon for someone that wants a well run medium sized race. I loved it!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It was my impression that because the course is not considered fast, that it doesn’t attract 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.

This was one of the best parts. Very easy! Lots of hotels nearby. The race organizers set up discounts with the local hotels that includes late check out. We stayed at a very cool hotel called the Indigo. We were located about halfway between the start and the finish. About 1/2 mile to each. I was able to finish my race and stroll back to the hotel for a leisurely checkout after showering. Very nice. There were lots of restaurants and cool places in downtown Tulsa.

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

The first hydration station was about mile 1.5, then 3,5,7,9,11. Water and Endurance Gatorade.

Weather and typical race conditions

I’m guessing we had typical race conditions. the temperature couldn’t be better, low 50s the whole way. The wind was light a breezy around 6 mph to start and mostly at our back. But as the race progressed, the forecast of winds of 10-15 mph kicked in with a pretty good headwind in the second half.

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

Nope!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Super friendly spectators along the entire course. Not huge, but consistent.

How’s the Swag?

Best I’ve experienced. The nicest racing gear I’ve ever received. A long sleeve tee with zip down collar and a very cool Route 66 emblem. Very good quality. One I will wear, not just throw in the drawer with all the other ones.

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

I’d give it 4.5 stars versus 5 stars only because of the rolling hills and 500′ elevation change.

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