I’ve been told that the Churchill’s half marathon is the 2nd oldest race in Ohio.  2020 was the 53rd year for it!  The race was organized by a well known runner in our town, Walt Churchill.  He is 91 years old now, and you can count on him being at the end of the race to hand out medals to everyone as they cross the finish line.  Well, except no medals this year, but he was still there to congratulate everyone!

Since we’re still in a pandemic, safety measures were in place.  The changes to this race was:

  • Mask wearing at all times, other than while running (this is a no brainer.  If you’re not used to wearing a mask by now, I’m not sure where you’ve been hiding!)
  • No bus transportation (this race is a point to point race, and a bus used to shuttle people to the start line.  No problem, my husband and I left a car at the start and finish line.)
  • No waiting area at the race start (normally the high school building is open and we wait for the race to start in the building.  Because it’s November, it’s usually a cold morning!  This change worked out quite well really because I enjoyed waiting in my car.  Even though I didn’t get to see my friends, I also had no prerace jitters!)
  • Wave start (I think there were 6 waves?  Each wave started a minute apart.  (A bit anticlimactic, but no problem, I didn’t get caught up in the “first mile sprint”!). There were almost 500 runners this year.
  • Fewer water stops (once again, no problem, I had a water belt)
  • No medals at the end (ok, a bit of a bummer, but I had mine in the car so I put it on right after the finish!)
  • No beer tent (Boooooo, no beer??  Let’s be honest, one of the draws of this race is hanging out with my friends in the beer tent afterwards.  Oh well, had to celebrate at home)

Race morning turned out to be a little chillier than predicted.  Consider this – on Monday it was 55 degrees at 6am.  Saturday morning (race day) it was 22 degrees!  I was caught a bit off guard by the cold temps, but went with my tried and true gear and was fine.  Headband, gloves, long sleeve tech, quarter zip, full tights.  There was no wind and the sun was out, so by mile 3 I had ditched my gloves and probably could have gone with just a t-shirt and arm warmers.  Still, I wasn’t too warm or too cold.  Just right!

Corrals were spaced apart
And just like that, the race had started!

This was my 7th year running this race and the course was a bit different from last time.  We went through a subdivision which was really nice.  It’s always fun to check out the really big houses in town and some of the neighbors came out to cheer us on, so that was fun.  

As for my race goals, I really didn’t have any.  Honestly, I wasn’t even sure this race was going to happen!  Registration opened a month before the race I think.  I hadn’t been following the full training plan because speed work was angering my hamstrings.  So I just ran however I wanted, and got a long run in each week.  When we started the race I just wanted to make it to the end without fading and having to walk.  Big goals, right?

This race is notorious for being hilly.  The hills are very similar to the hills on the Boston marathon course!  Also similar to Heartbreak Hill in that the hills don’t happen until later in the race – starting around mile 10.  I always expect my pace to be up to a minute slower on the hills, and that was about right.  They gave me a challenge for sure!  Alan was running with me and doing a good job of keeping me entertained.  By the time I reached mile 10 I told him, “it’s the part of the race where we shut up and just run!!”  I was not in the mood for chitter chatter! LOL!!!  

Tackling the one of the hills!

As we got down to the final miles I started to panic a bit.  I knew a sub 2hr was a 9:0x pace.  Current pace was 8:45, but fading on the hills.  I worried I’d come this far to miss a good finish time!  Alan assured me we’d get it.  I just responded “we’re going to be close!!”  Uh duh, not really.  Finish time 1:57!  6th place out of 27 in my age group.

Mile splits were: 8:46, 8:42, 8:40, 8:41, 8:37, 8:46, 8:52, 9:08, 8:58, 9:02, 9:08, 8:59, 9:30, 8:31 (.2)

Don’t worry, we’re not mad at each other. Ha!!

I was thrilled with my finish time.  I would have been excited to see just one mile with an 8: in front of it, but to get an overall pace under 9:00 was really encouraging.  This was not my best finish time for this race, but it was really good.  Especially because I had been haunted by angry hamstrings for weeks prior to this race, and now, after resting a few days before the race, I had no angry hamstrings at all!  In fact, my quads were the sore ones, which was a wonderful change.  

Fun fact – the race director works in my office and he let me pick out the shirts this year. I picked out this super soft t-shirt. The blue really makes the logo pop! I think they turned out really nice.

And here’s something you won’t see at just any race… when we were driving back on the course to cheer on a friend, a cute goat ran out in front of us!! Yep, only in Ohio 😁

Q: Have you ever seen anything odd on a race course?

Q: Do you like to carry water on a longer race, or use water stops?

Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

10 thoughts on “Churchill’s Half Marathon – 2020 race recap”
  1. Well done, Lisa! A sub-2 hour without training is awesome! And yay on no hamstring pain.
    Looks like a very well organized race for pandemic times.

    I have also had goats on a racecourse – and cows! But that was in the Swiss mountains and to be expected.

    I prefer to use water stops. We often have races where you have to bring your own cup (environmental and sanitary reasons) and that works well.

    1. Ah yes, that is a very normal place to see cows and goats! I was wondering if I somehow attracted the goat to us because we were ringing a cow bell as we drove down the road. Could happen, right? 🙂 Your water stops sound like a good idea.

  2. wow a real race! Congrats! You look really happy. always carry my own water on anything over a 5K bc often the water stops are crowded. I don’t think we will be having in person races here for a while.

  3. Congrats on the sub-2!!! You did great, especially with hills at the end. My live half sounds very similar to yours. They did have aid stations, with drinks placed on a table, but I carried my own bottle. I always do, so that wasn’t a big deal. I did miss socializing with friends, tho!

    1. I was glad to meet up with my friend after the race because she came in just a bit before we finished. But otherwise it would have been a bit lonely after the finish! Seeing all of your friends is really one of the big draws of a race for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.