Hi folks,

I ran the Staten Island Half Marathon yesterday. This race is dear to me because back in 2007 it was my very first half marathon. And i have run it every year since!

I finished that first year in 2:36. And since then the fastest I ever finished was 2:24 until yesterday—I finished it in 2:15:39. It wasn’t an overall PR but i’ll take the course PR for sure—especially because I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel with my knee feeling wonky and having only reached 8.7 miles for my longest long run in training for this.

staten island half finisher

pretty medal

photo 2

 

Getting there: I was on the road by 6:45am to make sure I’d get into the one parking lot that was available at the start. I actually arrived about 7:10am but there was a backup getting into the parking lot because people had to stop to pay $7 before entering. By the time I actually parked it was 7:30. I still had plenty of time as the race didn’t start until 8:30am and the race number pickup area was only a few hundred feet away. This race is easily accessible to those in Manhattan by taking the Staten Island Ferry since the race starts right adjacent. But for runners coming from surrounding areas like New Jersey and other parts of Staten Island, driving is really the only option. The crazy thing was that right after I parked I noticed they put cones up at the entrance and stopped allowing cars to park. That’s a whole hour before the start. And there were still plenty of spots!! I’m sure there was a method to the madness but it was sort of a bummer because my boyfriend was coming to see me run and he arrived after the cones were put up and spent a good 20 minutes scouting out a parking spot on the street. Luckily he found one and was able to see me before the start. So if you decide to do this race and need to drive make sure you get there super early!

Statue of Liberty

lovely view of the Statue of Liberty

Long Training Run Opportunity: Many of my running peeps were running too, including Lisa and Mike who had done 10 mile prior to the race in training for the NYC Marathon. This half is a HUGE unofficial long training run opportunity. You’ll see a large group of participants running extra miles either before or after the race. I’ve done 7 pre-race miles the last 3 years I’ve run it so I’d have my 20 miler in before my fall full marathon.

si half running peeps

Running Peeps: JD, Mike, Lisa and moi.

Weather: The weather was perfect for running. It was in the 50s at the start and low 60s at the finish. The sun was out but there was a lovely breeze especially by the miles that run parallel to the ocean (the FLAT miles =).

Race Size: I’ve seen this race grow over the year and I was really surprised that it took a solid 15 minutes for me to even cross the START. If this race gets any larger maybe they should opt for a wave start. I dunno. I think I’m just partial to it being my hometown half and I want to keep it more intimate and I just can’t control control that. LOL.

Course: The course itself was a bit crowded only for the first mile and then it opened up just fine.

si half mile 1

first mile…crowded. Thanks boyfriend for being there to cheer me on and take pics!

The race has a 3 hour time limit so while there were a few speed walkers it was mostly runners. The course is hilly for the most part with just one flat stretch from mile 5.5 to about mile 9.

si half elevation

You get to fly down a hill from mile 5 to 5.5 (although with my knee I actually controlled my speed so as not to have a blowout) And from 9-10 you climb that same hill! The bulk of the race is out and back so it’s always fun to see the elites running in the opposite direction. I think I was about 4 miles in when I saw the leaders of the pack on the other side heading toward mile 11. Cray cray!

 

mile13

Rounding mile 13 and about to enter the ballpark for the finish! © marathon foto (waiting on purchased ones to come)

mile1

early on in the race. I’m FINALLY not heal striking! #winning! © marathon foto (waiting on purchased images to come)

Lisa at mile 13 which is really her mile 23! She's gonna rock the NYC Marathon in 3 weeks. (And I'm going to support her and cheer her on with cowbell and sweet tea!)

Lisa at mile 13 which is really her mile 23! She’s gonna rock the NYC Marathon in 3 weeks. (And I’m going to support her and cheer her on with cowbell and sweet tea!) Photo courtesy of my awesome BF

The course is really most scenic at the start/finish since you get to enjoy the view of the NYC Skyline. The flat miles in the middle run parallel to the ocean and boardwalk but the rest of the course is sort of boring.

Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower. Photo courtesy of my awesome BF

Postcards 9/11 Memorial

Postcards 9/11 Memorial. Photo courtesy of my awesome BF

Aid stops: There were PLENTY of aid stops with water and Gatorade and halfway thru they offered powergels. For once I can happily report that ALL water stops were sufficiently stocked.

The most awesome change to this year’s race is that we actually entered into the ballpark of the minor league Staten Island Yankees to finish directly on home plate

Thanks boyfriend for taking this pic

closing in on the finish! Thanks boyfriend for capturing this!

finish-2014-sihalf

© marathon foto (waiting on purchased images to come)

My final thoughts: With my home turf for the course, the weather being spectacular, the finish at home plate and with friends to see and chat with prior to and after the race I have to say it was a great day and a great race. I’d only suggest that they try and carve out a longer time frame for people to park and if the race gets any larger I’d suggest 2 waves. Knowing that the course change from last year stayed (last year it was due to construction but I guess they’re gonna keep it this way) I’ll have to do some more hill training. LOL!

And if you want to read another recap from another staten island runner, blogger who is WAY speedier than me check at NYC Running Mama’s recap.

Have you ever been to Staten Island? Have you ever been on the Staten Island Ferry? I’ve lived on Staten Island for my entire 40 (almost 41) years!

 

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