The Texas Half (Dallas) was one of the smaller scale venues that I've run. I'm so used to being jam-packed with 22-25,000 runners on a closed course. This event probably had a total of 3-4,000 for all distances (full, half and 5k). It was nice to be back in my home state (and visit with family) but I don't think I'll be running this event in the near future. I'll explain why...
The course takes you through some scenic areas of Dallas (parks, high-valued neighborhoods, downtown etc) but we also ran through a "rough" area too (obvious due to the higher level of Dallas PD personnel supporting that area). The course wasn't a closed course (like previous venues that I've raced) but Dallas PD, Fire and volunteers were blocking traffic at major intersections when racers approached them. The start and finish lines were in Fair Park (home of the Texas State Fair and Cotton Bowl). The start line was VERY narrow, pace groups were few and far (apart at the beginning), and at times I found myself running with/against vehicle traffic! YES, we were running along some streets with vehicles! Of course, some of those drivers weren't following posted speed limits, and the majority of them were either on the phone talking (or texting). I ran along the opposite side of traffic just to be safe.
The course veered off road onto a two lane (wide) running/biking trail alongside White Rock Lake (which was a surprise sight!). The lake trail was still open for public use that day and many runners were bottle-necked waiting on opportunities to pass other runners. I was able to pass freely once we made it back to the streets but lost some time on the lake trail. The event used electronic timing (so they claimed) with bib-placed timing chips. I crossed the start line about 15-20 seconds after the gun went off (8:00am) and crossed the finish line at 2:00:06 (gun time). My Garmin 610 clocked me at 1:59:49, which later turned out to actually be 1:59:51 (once uploaded to Garmin's website). The ONLY chip/timing mats for the half marathon course were at the start and finish lines (ZERO on the course). I noticed an error in my time once the race website updated the finish results... My initial start time read 8:00:00 (which was impossible since I was far back from the line at start) and finish time read 2:00:06 (actual clock time at the finish line). They didn't factor in my chip time!
It's rather frustrating... I paid nearly $100 to run this event, had to deal with traffic and crowds of runners (with the fewest entries in all of the events that I've run), inaccurate timing and water stations spread thin; I think I'll pass on this event and consider Dallas R&R instead... Such a surprise for a 10 year old event too...
I know, I usually don't complain about stuff. But, I was expecting more (and accuracy). I'm just glad that I finished this event without having to walk (or drop out).
Oklahoma City Memorial is in two weeks! I think I'm ready for it (and will avoid soccer until after the race).
On a side note, our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy at Boston Marathon.
Happy running and God bless!
"Fight the good fight, finish the race, and always keep faith"
2 Timothy 4:7