Star City Half Marathon

This past weekend I finished the Roanoke Triple Crown! The Triple Crown is in it’s second year and requires running either the Blue Ridge Marathon or Half in April, Race 13.1 Roanoke in June, and the Star City Half in November. It was my first year running all 3 races, and I enjoyed every single one. 

I went into Star City with very low expectations. It’s the smallest of the 3, the least advertised, and the coldest. However, this year was the 30th year, so it has an established race crew.

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Overall, I loved this race! It far exceeded my expectations and I’ll definitely do it again.

Pros:

  • Once I figured out parking, it was free!
  • The pre race area was indoors, which meant real bathrooms and heat! It also meant I didn’t have to sit in my car for an hour.
  • They printed the shirts in several colors and let us pick what color we wanted at packet pickup. Since I didn’t feel like making a 2 hour round trip to get my packet on Friday I was worried I would have limited choices Saturday morning. The purple was gone, but I wanted grey and there were still plenty left.
  • The course was the flattest of the Triple Crown races. There were still hills, but it was nothing compared to Blue Ridge or Race 13.1.
  • Aid stations were always well manned and I never had to wait for a volunteer to grab water. In fact, usually 3 or 4 people were trying to hand me a cup at any given spot.
  • I got to wear Christmas leggings and I got so many compliments, which means the runners here are super awesome!
  • I also made a few friends on the course and talked to them for a few miles, which is something I’ve never had happen before. This goes to show how great the running community in Roanoke is.
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Almost to the finish! Photo credits: Felix Lopez

Cons:

  • The parking instructions were not clear, and I spent 15 minutes driving around trying to figure out where to park. The website said to use the Gainsboro Garage on Shenandoah Ave, but that entrance was only for monthly passholders. The actual entrance I found was on Center Ave, a block away down a side street.
  • There was no food or Gu on the course. I brought my own food since Gu makes my stomach upset so I was prepared, but I can see this being an issue for people used to larger races.
  • The Star City medal was a little disappointing. They promoted it as a “bigger better” medal for their 30th year, but it was still a sticker on a disc. Luckily the Triple Crown made up for it!

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Real talk: I already have the Blue Ridge Marathon on next year’s schedule. So there’s a strong chance I’ll be back for the entire triple crown!

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