What? Harvest Half Marathon
Who? 211 runners
When? Nov. 1, 2014
Where? Brentwood, Tennessee
How much? $55 to $75
My Finish? 2:42:17
The Swag? Long-sleeved technical shirt, medal and bumper sticker
The Good? comradery
The Bad? wind chill
Much like the Franklin Half Marathon in June, this month’s Harvest Half Marathon reminded me that I need to get out of the city and enjoy landscapes other than my comfortable urban corridor. The 13.1 miles of rolling hills were an out-and-back course that started at the Brentwood YMCA and took runners on a greenway connecting McMansion suburbia and a public high school.
It was a terribly cold morning, with the temperature hovering just above freezing. Thankfully, the YMCA was a warm shelter before the race, and the first few miles of the greenway were sandwiched between tall trees. But the middle of the course, especially around Ravenwood High School was wide open, and without the protection of the trees, the wind was brutal.
Since the Harvest Half is a small, community race, runners crossed the start line in self-appointed waves beginning with sub 7-minute miles. I took off with the 11-minute plus wave. Since my runs have been spotty at best lately, I again used a run/walk interval of 2:30/1, which was fine until the last mile, which seemed to take forever. As I was lapped by runners on the “back” of the course, they yelled encouraging words as I slowed to a walk. Not only were the faster runners crazy encouraging but also the slower folks I passed, who also shared motivational words and made it difficult to stay mad at the wind.
The Harvest Half would make a great course for a first-time half marathoner. You’d be able to enjoy your first half marathon without experiencing heal crushing, crowed water stations and parking problems I’ve experience with other popular, mega half marathons while still being challenged with hills and receiving perks like pizza and medals for finishers. The scenery and comradery are enough to push you to the finish line.