Race Recap: 2014 Gulf Beach Half Marathon

A few weeks ago, with less than 40 spots until the race sold out, I went ahead and finally purchased my entry into the 2014 Gulf Beach Half Marathon. This was my PR race from last year, where I worked for my 1:50:15 finishing time {recap here!}. I knew I was not in shape to try for a PR but I thought it would be the perfect training run. I really wanted to see if I could cover the half marathon distance. With difficulties in training this summer, I really needed a boost of confidence in distance running.

Gulf Beach 1

I ended up driving the hour and half from home on race morning. I left plenty of time to get there and arrived at 7:15am. The perk of small races are your ability to park very close to the start/finish, pick up your packet and get to the start without much fuss. I was hoping that they offered more porta-potties since that was an issue last year but that wasn’t the case. The lines for the restrooms were LONG. And, the race director opts to wait until everyone is ready before starting the race. While this is great and ensures that all runners have empty bladders, this is not so great for starting on time. Luckily, I ran into my friend and high school field hockey coach at the start. We caught up and before I knew it, we were on our way.

Gulf Beach 5

The first few miles were very congested but I still felt as though I was able to hit a groove. I knew I wanted to try to hit an average of 9:00 minute miles during the race. I felt pretty good throughout the race. I did hit a bit of a rough patch around the 10-12 mile mark. It’s been a while since I raced this distance so it was nice to get back to it!

Mile 1:  9:08 / Mile 2:  8:45 / Mile 3:  8:50

Mile 4:  8:58 / Mile 5:  9:04 /Mile 6:  8:47

Mile 7:  8:59 / Mile 8:  8:56 / Mile 9:  9:03

Mile 10:  9:29 / Mile 11:  9:22 / Mile 12:  9:41

Mile 13: 8:25 +

Final: 01:57:26 / 8:58

Gulf Beach 2

In terms of positives of the race, it is a small field that offers a truly beautiful course with coastal views for several miles. The section of the course along the boardwalk is really amazing scenery. The Milford area also offers quaint residential areas that are enjoyable to run through. Although, one of the downfalls is that the course is an out and back race. Mentally, these kinds of races are tough for me. Also, the road is not closed during the race. I understand that this may be difficult for the residents of the area but there were several aggressive drivers out making it dangerous for runners. For me, that was the major downfall of my race experience. Overall, I will be back for this flat and fast course as long as we are still living in striking distance!


What’s your favorite flat and fast race?  Have you ever done a race as a training run?



  1. brandieflow says:

    Wow! You have good times! Congrats! I ran the Brooklyn Half which was super flat for a majority of the race. I'm not very fast, I finished around 2:15. It was only my second race so really I was just happy to complete it without stopping.

  2. Leslie @ TriathleteTreats says:

    Awesome race!! Good confident boost for NYC!!?? Can't wait to hear how Ragnar went!! I am beginning to love smaller races more and more!!
    I actually like a race that has rolling hills instead of being flat. I think its a mental thing! 🙂 RNRAZ is a fast course! I have used lots of races as training runs. I am actually doing Nike 1/2 in SF(+5 miles) 2 weeks before as a "training" run for NYC!!

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