Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OBX Marathon... Race Rating

Tagline: "OBX Marathon... Our crowd loves you so much, they'll give you their childrens Halloween candy!!!"

Registration Fee: $75 (Early Reg., $85-$100 Late)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.8/5.0

(The Rating Feet are back!!!)

Average Calculated Rating: 4.4/5.0
~ Small race price for a big race experience! This was a very fun race with a very a different/pretty course, a great group of volunteers & crowd, and a fantastic afterparty. The expo was fun and the size of the race was perfect. It's definitely hot so get ready for the heat!

Note: If you're going definitely carry or store some money in your checked bag because there is lots to do after the race, but you'll need cash.

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director?
The only big thing I would suggest is more gatorade stops, but besides that Robyn did a great job especially for a newer race that growing by leaps and bounds every year. The wave start and pace groups need a little work on organization, but other than that it was awesome.

Event Organization: 4.8/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
~ Let's start with the website: Looks great and VERY easy to use-- includes all the information that you need, and if you have a problem simply email the race director and she'll get right back to you! The closest airport IS a little out of the way (~1.5 hours), but you're going out to an island so you'll have to expect that. You'll also have to expect to get a rental car! The actual race was easy to get to-- shuttles to either the start or the finish from designated parking areas. No long waits for shuttles either before or after. The even ends in Roanoke Island and the party is definitely something to stay for!!! And 2 free beers to every adult-- participants and spectator and... it was COORS LIGHT!!! non of that "mica-can't get me drunk but I'm only 50 calories" junk!

Race Organization: 4.25/5.0

~ The race was fairly well put together: Streets were definitely open for runners (lots of room!), Great amount of water stops, lots of opportunities/places for your fans & family to meet you and take pictures! Potties weren't too far and few between-- and the website shows you where they all are if you know you're a frequenter of the john during races. Hammer Gel provided at 4 key spots in the race in a few flavors. Ooooh also, the half was started 20 min before the full and at the 13.1 mile mark so we never got caught up with them except maybe a few stragglers! That was awesome!

The bad: The only problems I saw on the race itself were the gatorade stops and the start. The start went off in waves for the first time-- this was a little shaky because people weren't really clear on where to go or what to do. Also, the pace teams went off in random waves, making it hard to spot them. The gatorade was definitely given out, but you couldn't get any until mile 7 and then it was every other stop that had some... on a hot day we definitely needed a lot of gatorade!

Course: 4.3/5.0
~ If you're looking for a little bit of everthing, this is your race. This is a stright point to point course out that runs southbound (mostly). You start on asphalt in a park-type area, then you move into the "trails" that have trail-esque floors in places as well as sand and bark! Then you move out to the ashalt/cement areas that bring you on "highways" (for an island), into suburban-type neighborhoods, out onto a VERY long bridge over beautiful water and to the finish in a cute little town on roanoke island. The trails had a few rolling hills, and the bridge has one GIANT hill at mile 23 (Pictured left from the bridge start)-- that was a little rough! Besides that it was mostly flat.

A few tough spots: Definitely having the one giant hill on the 23rd mile is a little cruel! Also, the footing in the trails were hurting my ankles toward the end. Finally, the course was completely open for the second half of the race and it was HOT on race day! A few people mentioned possible turning the course around because the first half was in the shade and the second half out in the open heat... but that wouldn't take you into the cute town where the afterparty is!

Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ The spectators REALLY made this race FUN! There were people out ALL over the course-- both fans as well as locals. You constantly saw locals out front of their houses or on the course giving out water, food, candy, etc to everyone. In fact... at one point there was a mom giving out a giant bowl of halloween candy-- almost as if she had taken it right from her kids. Coincidentally, there were children about 4 ft away from her looking pretty PO'd.  Hmmmm...

For some reason they seemed to REALLY support women in this race. If they saw women, the fans went CRAZY, some girls yelled "girl power" to us, even though we were surrounded by men. Way cool! Also, the people in traffic were hooting and hollaring out of their windows. At a lot of races, locals are pretty pissed that we shut down their roads and cause traffic, but these people were SO excited to be watching the race, even in traffic!

Pace Group: 2.5/5.0
~ This was the first year they had pace groups and I was actually thinking about being one-- but I wasn't feeling terriffic about a month ago and I wanted to run with CB, so I opted not to participate. The pace groups need a little work.... lessons to be learned for 2010. The main problem was that this was also the first year for wave starts and those went off a little shaky. The pacers didn't really hold up their signs (if they had any) so were hard to spot. Also, they went off randomly in the waves, so some faster pacers started behind some slower ones, causeing a bit of confusion. We saw some 3:30 group yell at the 3:40 pacer because he jumped out in the first wave AND was going at about a 3:30 pace... tsk tsk. I'm sure they'll work on it for next year and get the kinks worked out. Good points though: the pace groups that we did see seemed to be having lots of fun with very experienced runners--- chatting the whole way without skipping a beat!

~  This was the first year for wave starts and as mentioned was a little shaky but it WAS very very nice not to get caught up in a huge mass of people, especially the ones that were a little slower that like to jump to the front. Runners were great throughout. The size of the race was perfect... you always had lots of people around, but you weren't caught in a big mess and trying to squeeze by for room. Also, the halfies went off ahead and actually started at the halfway point, so it didn't get congested with them. yay! well done.

Expo: 5.0/5.0
~ Most fun expo! Loved it! Not too big, not too small... you could get anything and everything you needed but you didn't put in miles of walking to do it. Also, they were all decked out in pirate gear and they sang along to set songs that came on by the... DJ!!! That's right, they had a DJ. You could also pick up a few discount coupons for local restaurants, which was nice because the restaurants are kind of all over the place, so if you're unfamiliar with the area it gives you some idea of where to go. Also-- my favorite part, they offered a pirate packfor $6. I mentioned this already, but I'll mention it again: Piarate Scully cap, eye patch AND cowbell! Couldn't be more excited.

Swag: 4.8/5.0
~T-Shirt: Yay another long sleeve teck T! Very cute design and worked well for both men and women! 4.8
~Medals: They weren't the pirate map medals medals but they were Pirate Coin Medals!!! (Ooh- Ahhh) 4.4
~ PS! Almost forgot this... when you finished you were handed an OBX marathon visor!!! Didn't even know about it.... I LOVE surprises at the end of a race!
~ Goodie Bag: We got a few cups with the OBX marathon design on it, along with some coupons to local eateries-- also the bag itself was really pretty cool! It had "booty bag" on it. hahahahahahahahaa I loved it... I eat that cheesy stuff right up! In fact... I took 2! + a few tenths of a point for the booty bag!


  1. I want to run that! Sounds like too much fun. I love the theme.

  2. This sounds like a great race. Thanks for the review.

  3. You should be clearer on where the marathon is located. I know my marathons, but hadn't heard of that one. I had to Google OBX to find out that meant Outer Banks North Carolina.

  4. Love the foot rating! :D Great race review!

  5. Congrats on your run. Seems like you had time to enjoy some of the surrouding area as well.

    Hope you come back to the Outer Banks soon. Please keep us in mind for your future OBX trips.


  6. THanks for the article. I plan to make OBX one of my race destinations in the next few years. I am from NC, go figure. Thanks for all the info. Keep it up!