Race: Whidbey Island Half
Runner: Dionne Himmelfarb
Race Date: 4/25/2021
Location: Oak Harbor, WA
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5192321922
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
3 bests aspects I like the best from this race are the staggered starting time, it allows you to start whenever you are ready so there are only few people at once at the starting line. The second one is the fact this is an inaugural race the spaces are limited, you ran mostly on your own and feel very safe/spaced out well. The third one is there are plenty of spots for anyone to stop along the way to cheer on, both my kid and sister pretty much pulled over and stopped at every mile to do so.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
I knew going in that this is a hilly race for me. The fact that is also my first race coming back from a 3-year sidelined (injury) making it tougher that it really is (764′ elevation).
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Nothing really weird stood out for me about this race.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
My goal was to run this hilly route entirely without stopping and getting back to the racing mentality. I just started running again in the beginning of this year after almost 3 years went without running due to an injury. This race did it for me. I was able to run it entirely no matter how slow I was. That feeling of hitting the finish line is enough to make me forget about the pain and start planning for the next race.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
I personally think this is a good route for anyone to test their fitness for running on hilly course. There are 2 big downhills along the route. Don’t let them fool you. Both of them have great water views, especially the second one, and they will make you feel like you want to run them fast downhills while absorbing the views.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
The 2 big hills 🙂
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
This is a rolling-hill loop course.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s nice along the water.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
For me, it is a tough course coming back from an injury/not running for awhile. It is a good and tough course overall for a half-marathon.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Yes, it is super easy and smooth at both starting and finishing line.
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 took me about 45 minutes to go to the ferry from Seattle, no need to book a hotel or anything. Registration is easy and fast.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Self-served stations with cups and water and big trash cans next to the tables.
Weather and typical race conditions
It was cooler in the 40s. We were lucky it wasn’t raining but don’t be surprised if it does because it’s the weather around this time.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
I had a pair of capris, short sleeves and a thin Patagonia Houdini on. I was super comfortable the entire run, typically I’d peel off my Patagonia and stuff it in its own pocket after warming up. But this time I kept it on the entire time.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Super spectator-friendly. My kid pretty much stopped at every mile to cheer me on. The finish line is at the high school, which is also the starting line. Plenty of parking spots for friends and family to see you after the race.
How’s the Swag?
Long technical shirt and a beanie. Nice materials and definitely are a keeper.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I’ll give a 5-star score and definitely highly recommend this race for the beginning of the season.