This past March, I met my mom in yet another new place for another new race! This time it was North Carolina for Marathon Madness at Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington. My mom works for the company (Quintiles) who sponsored the race and she was personally invited to run by the CEO, so she asked me to join her for a mini-spring break! How could I say no?!
We met each other on Friday afternoon at the airport in Raleigh and after a healthy catch-up lunch downtown, we drove 2 hours east to Wrightsville Beach. It was a treat to be able to spend some time on the beach Friday and Saturday before the race! We didn’t have much on the agenda other than the race expo and pasta dinner on Saturday night – which was perfect, a little R&R was just what we needed!
The pasta dinner featured Frank Shorter as the guest speaker. I’m not going to lie, I did not know who he was before this trip, but my mom had me do some research in our hotel room before the dinner. He told great stories of his experience at the 1972 Summer Olympics, where he won the gold medal in the marathon. It was inspiring to hear such a legendary runner speak of his experiences and hear the advice that he had for us runners! After having my fill of pasta with meat sauce, salad, and several rolls of bread, I was ready to get to bed – we had a very early morning ahead of us!
It was extremely dark outside at the race start (6:45 am), but there was loud music pumping and all of the runners were excited and ready to go! I started out with my mom but we soon parted ways – she is a big believer in “running your own race” – so away we went! To my surprise the course ran near the beach for only a few miles before heading on to a main drag. We then weaved through a neighborhood before heading back on to the main road and finishing the race near the site of the expo at a shopping center plaza. The race had a March Madness theme, so each of the water stations featured a different university (No Terps, boo!) and a lot of them went all out with flags, banners, and music. Lots of crazy Tar Heels, Blue Devils, and Wolfpack fans… I was definitely surprised by the number of spectators and enthusiasm of the volunteers so early in the morning; support like that from an appreciative crowd really helps to get through those last few miles!
I had read before the race that this was a very fast course and it was true! I ended up running the half in 1:53:58, which was my PR at the time! SUPER PSYCHED. I found my mom shortly after finishing and we visited the Quintiles VIP tent – I made a beeline for some tasty post-race snacks while my mom (who placed 3rd in her age group) mingled with some colleagues.
A trip with my mom wouldn’t be complete without a hockey game! After we showered up and checked out of our hotel we drove back to Raleigh to see the Carolina Hurricanes play the Edmonton Oilers. It was the perfect ending to a fun, mother-daughter, race weekend!
Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon: Tara Tested, Mother-Daughter Approved! I had a great time at this race! I loved being near the beach and running in the warm sunshine. The race expo was very well organized (lots of freebies) and the pasta dinner hit the spot! I normally don’t notice race directors but this one, Tom Clifford, was hard to miss. I would recommend this race to anyone looking to PR in a half marathon or marathon – the course was flat, fast, and you can’t beat the rowdy spectators! It didn’t hurt that my mom and I got some VIP treatment because of her work connections. 😉 Definitely one of the most organized races I’ve run – a potential repeat for sure!