Read my recap here. Then read the race review below!
Pre-race information, logistics, organization
Pros: Website gave most info you would need.
Cons: This stupid engine sound roars as you enter their website. Annoying.
Lodging and transportation:
Pros: Parking near start/finish. Lots of lodging options near the race.
Cons: Unfortunately I found Charlotte expensive, especially parking. You could park near the start/finish, but it wasn't free or particularly close.
Swag: Short sleeved tech T was it. The race bag was "online" - as in, they emailed you a link to some ads and coupons. I didn't click on a single one - what a silly idea! If I were an advertiser, I would not pay for this. Way too easy to ignore (not that this bothered me since I rarely use enclosed coupons, etc). The expo had no freebies or samples, and just the usual booths. I wasn't thrilled that you had to pay to park (we used a $5 lot but the actual convention parking was $10) and pick up was the night before only - no day-of.
After the race, there were plenty of snacks and samples although they were a little weird - gatorade, myoplex, coffee, bananas, fiber gummies, and bakery samples (who eats fiber gummies after a marathon?).
Pros: I liked the variety of neighborhoods and that you got to see Charlotte (which is pretty). Overall a nice course, nothing thrilling but not boring either. Almost every section was accessible to fans, so there was a lot of crowd support.
Cons: The entire course is rolling hills, no flat section at all. Also the second half is not nearly as nice as the first (First half: Big houses in expensive neighborhoods. Second half: Pawn shops and Boost Mobile stores).
Pros: Water and gatorade every 2 miles. Shot bloks at miles 16 and 20.
Cons: Shot bloks, I discovered, are impossible to open with frozen fingers; also I think they should be given out earlier in the course. I'd go with mile 14 and 18.
Scoring: Chip timed/scored.
- Bring Gu since aid is rather late on the course.
- The start is a zoo: this race is large enough to have a wave start, but it doesn't. Scoot up front if you can. No matter what it is too crowded for a fast first mile: we didn't thin out until mile three (race directors, are you reading?). I was close to the front and I still ran a 9:30 first mile just because of the crowded course.
- Get to the start early so you can get in the long restroom lines in the convention center. It beats waiting in line for a potty on course.
- You probably won't need your ipod until the second half. There are lots of spectators and plenty of other runners throughout the first half.
- Charlotte is a friendly and attractive city, so make time to enjoy your stay.