What? Women’s Running Series Half Marathon
Who? 2,292 runners
When? Sept. 27, 2014
Where? Nashville, Tennessee
How much? $90
My Finish? 2:46:12
The Swag? technical T-shirt, medal and tote bag
The Good? bottomless mimosas
The Bad? anticlimactic race
Have you ever had a craving for one of your favorite dishes? And wanted it so bad that you could almost taste it? And when you finally got a plate, from the first bite, it didn’t taste as good as you remember it being? That’s how my experience was at this year’s Women’s Running Series Half Marathon in Nashville.
It was my first half marathon in 2012 and let me hungry for more races. I set a personal record on the same course in 2013, and the victory was sweet. This year, full on sangria and paella and running undertrained, I somehow and maintained an average pace of 12:40 for 13.1 miles using 2:30/1 run/walk intervals.
For my three-peat, the race was a noticeable disappointment. There wasn’t a grand send off at the start line or even a pre-race announcer with music blaring from speakers. People just starting moving under the banner shortly after 7. There weren’t any bands along the race course. Speakers played music in a 10K banner oddly placed around mile 9. The water stops were plentiful, yet there was a noticeable warmth and friendliness missing from the atmosphere. It was as if the Women’s Running Series was the neglected stepdaughter of The Competitor Group compared to the beloved Country Music Marathon, which is on many of the same streets in Nashville. My best guess is that registrations were down, limiting the race budget, as the crowd was noticeably thinner than in previous years.
In a letter posted on the company’s website, Vice President Jessie Sebor writes to runners the Women’s Running Series has postponed its remaining races until 2015 to “create the best running event in the world for women.” The promise is that next year’s races will be amazing, and I am looking forward to a Cinderella-like redemption for the “ultimate girls weekend” race.
Despite my disappointment, the race continued to have many post-race amenities I enjoy, including bottomless mimosas, cookies, yoga and an area with toiletries and sunscreen to freshen up while cooling off.
Disclosure: I received complimentary race registration from Women’s Running Series for promotional purposes. All opinions are my own.