This is a sponsored post. I am an ambassador for Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. Due to that relationship, I receive a complimentary race registration, as well as other sponsor amenities in exchange for my honest reviews and promotion of the event and affiliated sponsors. All opinions are my own.
Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon Weekend is fast becoming a highlight of my running year. With three days of activities in one of the Southeast’s most beautiful cities, it is a perfect destination race.
Let’s get to it!
Friday – New Balance Fashion Fitness Expo
Meghan and I arrived in Savannah around lunchtime. Our room at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto wasn’t ready yet, but they happily stowed our bags so we could get something to eat.
After a few hours in the car, we wanted to stretch our legs, so we made the walk to City Market to grab pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go.
We got a text that our room was ready so we returned to the hotel, brought up our suitcases
and hit the New Balance Fashion Fitness Expo.
We were able to score our race bibs, runner’s gift,
and some sweet swag from the race sponsors.
We were also able to do some shopping! I have been loving New Balance’s running gear lately, and was excited to score an adorable tank with the race logo on it!
So it wasn’t the traditional carb-loading dinner, but it was delicious and satisfying and just what we needed.
We had to get to bed because race morning was going to come early! Flat runners were laid out and the alarm got set!
Saturday – Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon
Amy, Meghan and I met in the lobby (and we also met our fellow ambassador Amy) at 6:45 to walk the few blocks to the race start. The weather was glorious! Cool and breezy without much humidity. We were absolutely stoked!
At 7:15, we got a group shot
And then we hurried to get in the bathroom line. With so many women, things were slow-moving, but I was hopeful to be able to go before the race began.
We made it with minutes to spare! The start corral was self-seeded, and we inserted ourselves in the middle of the pack. Cecilia performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and we were off!
Here’s a look at the course:
Miles 1 -3
The half marathon and 5K follow the same route through about the 2.5 mile mark. Runners proceed towards the river, and then take a few left turns to head back into the city. There were some cobblestones and some squares to be navigated, but because it wasn’t wet or slick, we were able to maintain a steady pace. Conditions were great, too – I was a little worried about sun because I had forgotten my visor, but my sunglasses were perfect. The 5Kers turned left to head to their finish in Forsyth Park, and I was grateful to be moving on to the miles beyond.
Miles 4 – 6
We followed a long straightaway from downtown to the smaller neighborhoods beyond. Water stops were situated about every 1.5 miles, and were well stocked with cheering volunteers, water and electrolyte drink (red!) and even blasting music. This part of the race was a bit challenging – there were a lot of little out-and-backs, loops and switchbacks on the road. I knew we were heading towards Daffin Park, but I had lost all sense of direction. Fortunately, our little group was enjoying the morning, and the houses and little parks and squares are always fun to look at, so I just figured if we followed the crowd and the arrows, we would be fine.
Miles 7 – 9
These miles brought us into, through and out of Daffin Park, home of the Savannah Bananas Stadium. There were some pretty shaded parts of this area (Meghan and I ran a 5K in this area last year), and of course, the park’s trees and scenery is lovely. Volunteers were handing out gels and there was medical station on our way to Mile 9. It was time to start heading back!
Miles 10 – 13.1
These last few miles are a wee bit deceiving. After a couple more out-and-backs and turns, runners find themselves back on the long straightaway last seen at Mile 4. However, rather than following that straight back to Forsyth Park and the finish line, the course hooks right, away from the festivities. We could hear the music, and even see the finish line a few blocks away, but we had more work to do before getting there. Boo!
That being said, once we we finally started winding our way back in the direction of the park, we were elated!
I would also love to point out that even though we were towards the back of the middle of the pack, the aid stations were going strong. Plenty of volunteers were still out with cups, the tunes were still blaring, and the drinks were plentiful (I even commented that the Gatorade wasn’t warm or watered down). It was such a morale boost.
Just a few more squares, and then the fountain and finish line were in sight!
Victory was ours!
We were all smiles when we crossed that finish line! And I was beyond thrilled because I had my redemption from last year! I was so glad to be able to take on the full distance, and feel great the whole way!
I was also so grateful to have some wonderful running friends by my side.
Stay tuned for Part II, for the after party and second part of the weekend!
What do you love most about racecation weekends?
What’s something that boosts your morale during a race?