RANTS AND RAVES: Joplin Memorial Run

You’re probably thinking “wait, didn’t you just run a half marathon last weekend?!” Indeed, I did. But I got this wild idea a bit ago that I wanted to be a Half Fantatic. So I signed up for JMR, a mere six days after my last half. More like five days. But whatever.

If you’ve heard of Joplin (of course you have) you may know that three years ago this month they were hit with a devastating EF-5 tornado that killed 161 people. I wasn’t living in Missouri at the time but had met Boyfriend and remember how scary it was for him and me, 2000 miles a way with zero experience with severe weather. I’ve visited Joplin a few times since moving here and the effects can still be seen and it is very eerie. After the tornado, the race was renamed the memorial run and it is very special to the town.

We arrived Friday afternoon since the race had a 6:30am Saturday start time. Here are some of my rants and raves!

RAVE: Packet pickup it was organized, easy to find and had plenty of space. We got there late so some vendors had already packed up, but it ran until 9pm, giving out of town runners plenty of time to get there.

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RANT: No race day pickup?? first the event advertised no race day pickup. Then it was for a fee. Then someone was told all packets would be moved to the start line for race day pickup. Confusing!! I still would’ve come to town the night before to stay there, but some people may have made an unnecessary trip or paid a needless fee.

RAVE: Accomadations!! JMR did a great job partnering with hotels and recommending LOCAL restaurants to eat at. Three of the partner hotels were a location for bus pickup/drop off, as the race start had limited parking. Partner hotels also offered a special early breakfast! Not a full spread but enough for me! Fruit, toast, coffee, cereal. Full breakfast was available after the race and it was wOMNOMNOMNOMnderful.

RANT: Prerace announcements the day was expected to be warm and humid. Event organizers made an announcement before the start about flags at aid stations and what they meant in regard to weather. BUT YOU COULD NOT HEAR. To me, that’s pretty important. Print up a sheet, put it in the packet. Make sure I know what a red flag means!

Other raves: great course support, aid stations, post race food, scenic course and a sweet medal.

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I have to say, the crowd support for this race was unbelievable. So many people coming out to cheer, sit in their front yards and watch. It was very powerful to see how much the event means to the community. If you’re a Midwest runner, this is a must-run event.

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Rants and Raves: Run Like A Diva Half Marathon

Remember me?!  Probably not.  It’s been far too long.  But I will say, I’m about a week and a half out from graduation so hopefully that means life is about to calm down and I can blog more!  Yeah right.  It’s probably going to hit a whole new level of crazy.  Oh well.

 

April was a nutty month.  I dealt on and off with being sick and having a low back injury (dead lilfts – like an idiot) that really knocked me off my training course.  My April 19th half marathon was supposed to be my PR race.  Didn’t happen.  Oh, I ran.  But it was miserable.  That’s a blog post for another day.  

 

THIS weekend was the first of two races I’m using to qualify for Half Fanatics!  I felt great going into this.  Much better than I have felt in a while.  Less back pain and less anxiety.  More excited and happy.  

 

Run Like A Diva Half Marathon and 5K Series puts on races around the country.  Their big hook is a blinged out medal (handed to you by hot “firemen”), roses, and feather boas with tiaras handed to you before the finish line.  It’s a (mostly) women’s event and quite large.  I have to say, I’m not THAT girly so I wasn’t sold on it.  But I made a last minute decision that I wanted to qualify for Half Fanatics and have anther half to run with my amazing running buddy before she moves, so I signed up.  

 

Here’s some of my rants and raves from Sunday in Branson:

RAVE: The DJs!  There were five DJs on the course playing music and amping up the atmosphere.  It was GREAT!  They all had energy and looked like they were having a great time.  I also stopped and took pictures with 4 of the 5.  

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RAVE: The crowd!  I guess that probably has nothing to do with the race directors but the crowd was PUMPED!  Event organizers did a fantastic job of having a station at the expo for people to make signs for race day and I saw quite a few of them around the course.  There were several “fans” I saw at different times along the course (BF included!) and they were so vocal and positive!  It made a challenging race so much more fun.  

 

RAVE: The “firemen” handing out the medals.  I don’t think I need to go into detail here…

 

RANT/RAVE: The course/hills.  The course was beautiful.  If you’ve been to Branson, you know what a gorgeous area that is.  You also then know that those hills are NOT. A. JOKE.  They’re huge.  Now, event organizers SHOULD have made that clear, rather than saying “mostly flat” after mile 3/4.  That was a lie.  And anyone from around here knew that it had to be.  I have a bone to pick with you, event organizers.  STOP SAYING SOMETHING IS FLAT!!  Just because the total elevation climb/drop equals out does NOT make a course flat!  The total climb for this course was over 1300 feet.  My legs are reminding me of that fact today.  That said, I had fun on the hills! *GASP* I know.  But I did.  Except this one. 

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And this one…mile 12.5.  What is with races doing this to me?!

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RAVE: The expo!  Are you an expo person?  I am.  I like things.  They had things.  Shirts, jackets, headbands on headbands on headbands.  Bondi Band (LOVE!) was there and had special ones designed for this series with bedazzled crowns (you can sort of see the hot pink one I got in some of the pictures).  Lots of necklaces and stickers and all kinds of things.  Weird: handanas.  Have you seen these?  Bizarre.  I’ll wipe sweat on my shirt or have it wicked off by one of the million headbands I own.  Awesome:  the teenage boys dressed in tutus and tiaras signing people in at the expo.  You were hilarious and if it wouldn’t have been creepy, I’d have taken my picture with you.

 

Last but not least…

RAVE: the 72 year old woman from Arkansas that I had the pleasure of running portions of the race with.  YOU, ma’am, are a badass.  You crushed that race, looked as strong or stronger than anyone out there and were so positive.  I hope I’m running when I’m your age.  Thank you for the hug at the end. 

 

Overall, a great race and a great time!  10/10 would do again.  

 

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