102nd Half – Grand Island, NY

Many years ago, I came across a fellow runner who had told me that he had run 30 halfs. He told me and a group of marathoners that 2 halfs essentially equal one full and so indirectly, he had run 15 fulls.

It’s funny how each runner interprets distances differently. In my mind, a half is a distance that you run at a slightly faster pace than your full marathon pace and is a do-able distance where runners recover quicker and can be functional within a couple of days.

I love the half marathon so much that this has grown to be my favourite distance. It provides a good base to bump up to a full marathon yet a distance that is equally challenging.

On May 7th, I completed my 102nd half. It was in Grand Island, New York, which is really quite close to the Canadian/US border near Niagara Falls. This course was an out-and-back, 6.5 miles each way along the Niagara River in Beaver Lake State Park.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, which quickly turned very hot as the race progressed. The route offered no shade, so the sun was pretty direct and intense. I almost found it a bit too warm to race. I was on pace for a 2:10 finish when I crossed the half-way mat, but I just could not keep pace. As each mile went by, the heat just got to me.

This race had a lot of fast runners, as it was put on by the Greater Buffalo Running Club. I was amazed that the top three ladies in my age group all finished within seconds of one another.

With each race I run, there are lots of pros and cons of running a new race vs. a repeated one. New races give you that excitement of the unknown, whereas with old courses you can plan out the race day logistics much better and visualize the exact course.

Thus far, I have run 3 half marathons in New York (Brooklyn, Newburgh, and Grand Island now). I think they are all unique in their own ways. But…I must admit that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half is a must do. It is truly an awesome race, and there is definitely something magical about running in New York City.

Running is such a great sport. For me, it allows me to travel and race, stay healthy and set goals. I cannot emphasize the endless benefits it offers. Running has definitely changed my life and I hope it has changed yours!

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