On Saturday, July 1 was the wonderful, (and humid) second annual Battle Creek Half Marathon and 5k in Battle Creek, MI. I thought this was a well-executed run, and I encourage everyone in the area to put it on your to-run list. I particularly think that this run is well suited for the person looking to run their first ever half marathon. So for this review I present to you the…
Top 10 reasons why you should run the Battle Creek Half Marathon as your first half marathon.
- The community. The Kalamazoo Area Runners boasts the largest running community in Michigan, and they had a large presence at this race. Everyone is very friendly, and if you don’t have any friends starting the race with you, you certainly will have some finish the race with you!
- The size. Some say bigger is better, but this small town race has all the amenities with none of the hassles. If this is your first race you are going to be nervous enough. You don’t need to also worry about logistics.
- The airplanes. The first 5+ miles are on the W.K. Kellogg airport around a service road and on the actual tarmac. This provides some wonderful distractions with a plane view and close-ups of fighter jets!
- The Pacers. These important teammates will help you reach your goals for your first half marathon. And the Battle Creek Half recruits an all-star list of experienced local pacers. There were many names of runners who have reliably paced many other, much larger, marathons.
- The balloons! They didn’t happen this year, but I’ve heard in years past when the weather is co-operative they launch hot-air balloons during the race as part of the festival.
- The aid stations. A good sign of a well-executed race are their aid stations, and the Battle Creek Half Marathon was spot on. They were well space and well stocked. Plenty of water, energy drink, and a selection of energy gels. I would have liked to have seen some pickle juice, but then again I’d most likely be the only one drinking it.
- The Swag. Some of the best goodies for a small race. Included with registration was a parking pass and two free tickets to the Field of Flight festival! Also included is your running t-shirt. I wouldn’t normally mention the t-shirt, but my wife made a point to compliment me on how nice I looked the first time I wore it. It must be a fine shirt if it can make even me look good.
- The festival. As mentioned before you get two free tickets to Saturday’s Field of Flight festival. I did not get to attend this year, but from their website it looks like it is a blast! You could at least go in and get a couple of post-race elephant ears with the money you saved off parking and admission, and catch a few minutes of the air show. https://www.bcballoons.com
- The chocolate milk. That’s right, I judge a race by its post-race chocolate milk. This half certainly had it, along with other post-race goodies. No better way to celebrate the end by plopping on some grass listening to the great music while munching on chips, pretzels, bananas, jelly beans, and sipping on some chocolate milk.
- The free photos. And of course, after you finish your first marathon you’ll want some proof to show your friends. Included is some complementary photos of yourself in sweaty, agonizing pain crossing the finish line that you’ll want to post on social media #cantwaittilnextyear!