RECOMMENDATION: Beautiful course at a great time of year, as part of an awesome music festival, but the logistics are a little rough around the edges.
My sister suggested meeting in Columbia, Missouri (halfway between her home in St. Louis and my home in Kansas City) to run the Root 'n Blues Half Marathon. She ended up bringing two other friends, and my buddy Jerry and his wife came to participate as well. We ended up with seven people in our combined group which added to the experience. The course was beautiful, and the weather was ideal, but there were a couple of logistical details prevent me from eagerly agreeing to do this race again:
- The course map online did not have the elevation grade - the course ended up being relatively flat, but that's nice information to have prior to the race.
- There was no on-site event parking, so you had to park at a garage and ride the shuttle in, but they only had one school bus running. I'm assuming that's a snafu they will fix going forward.
- The 10k and half marathon races shared the same finish line. The timing was such that the several 10k walkers were finishing when I came through, and the chute was a little narrow for the overlap.
- Post race food was BBQ and beer which are some of my favorites, but the line was extremely long, and BBQ was cold and dry and the beer was Michelob Ultra which seemed way out of place for a super hipster event like Roots 'n Blues.
- An unsecured bag drop. For a race this size that requires being shuttled in, get two volunteers to run a more secure storage.
- Aid stations were bare. Only water or Gatorade, and the second to last station only had Gatorade.
On the plus side:
- Nice medal.
- Packet pick up was organized, friendly and helpful.
- Pictures of the event were free.
- Did I mention the course?
- What about the weather?
- Oh, and there were the awesome people I hung out with.
I had a blast of time with my friends, and I finished with a respectable 8:32 pace at 1:51 placing 127 out of 587. My travel involved another positive AirBnB experience, this time staying with Billy and Carrie. They were delightful hosts, and provided a tremendous value for the price.
Check out my journey to run 50 marathons in 50 states.