The Youngstown Half Marathon

In my last post I brought you almost up to date. I wanted to make the next race it’s own post because of how amazing it was. 

Very early in the year I somehow came across an ad for the inaugural Youngstown Marathon. Now first off, let me say that for some reason I love being part of inaugural events. Maybe it’s the excitement of being one of the first to ever run a course or earn a medal or just to say “Yeah, I ran that!”, but I love it. I ran the inaugural Flying Pig Marathon, the inaugural Gold Jacket 5k, the inaugural Akron Half Marathon, and a few others, so when the opportunity to run this race appeared I jumped on it!

The expo was small, it was a first year race, but easy to find. Parking was a breeze and we had my packet in no time at all. I did pick up a souvenir mug while we were there. What can I say, running and coffee are like breathing for me.

The race was the following day, and again, easy to find. There was ample parking and there was race day packet pick-up which was nice because once home I realized the shirt I was given was too small. I tried to exchange it, but was told they were going to have to order shirts because there were so many last minute registrants that they ran out. Not a bad problem to have if you ask me 😉 so with that I left the shirt I received with the pick-up table in case it could be used for someone else and figured if I can get a shirt then great, if not, well, it’s just a shirt and I was ok with that.

The staging area was spacious, and the announcer easy to hear. I made it with plenty of time for one last porta potty break then waited for the start. We lined up and at 7am started our journey.

The first .75 miles was on city streets then we made the turn into Mill Creek Park. I was blown away! It was so quiet and shaded and beautiful. I don’t usually take a ton of pics on the run, but I just had to get my phone out for one. The first 2 miles or so we’re pretty flat. I had a friend warn me of the hills there (that’s why she didn’t run it this year) but thought to myself, “Hey, this isn’t so bad!” Well, she was right, lol! First, let me say that I love hills. I’ll take them over speedwork any day. So for me the hills were challenging, but enjoyable. I stuck with the hill mantra that has gotten me through every race I’ve run since my first marathon, “keep your effort the same, let your pace adjust”. By doing this I was able to actually run all the hills, so I was super happy.

There were plenty of aid stations, which I did walk through, because well I’m a klutz and running and drinking from a cup doesn’t always end well for me. They had water and Gatorade as well as Clif shot Gel which was nice. I stuck with my plan of walking the water stations and Honey Stinger chews every 60 minutes or so which I’ve found work very well for me.

The last couple miles of the course weren’t quite as hilly, and it pretty much being a loop meant there were plenty of new sights to see around every turn. The last mile or so was on city streets again, although I was totally drained when I crossed the finish, I was absolutely satisfied with my finish of 2:12:19. 

I took my time at the after party, which was awesome, enjoying a beer from Paladin Brewing, pizza, bagels and coffee among other goodies. Then decided that after conquering those hills there was no way I was heading home without a shirt that day, so I made my way to Second Sole and got a super soft and comfy Run Youngstown shirt from Sole Clothing Co. On the drive home I had already decided I’m running this one again next year!

Let me just finish up by saying I’ve truly fallen in love with this race. On the way home I was even saying that I would come back and run it again in the fall. Just a week later I was ready to run it again. If you get the opportunity to run this one next year TAKE IT!! You won’t be disappointed. Hope to see you there. 

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