On November 4, 2012, I ran the Danze Half Marathon, a great little race put on by Ocean State Multisport. I’ve featured Ocean State Multisport events on the blog before, as part of my upcoming events series, but never participated in one. That changed when, in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, I won a Facebook contest and got a free entry into the Danze Half Marathon. Here’s how it happened. I had lost power due to the hurricane and was updating my Facebook status accordingly. Because, really, did anything happen if it wasn’t recorded on social media. As I was refreshing my feed, Gary popped up with a little Ocean State Multisport contest. I love contests, though I rarely win, so I entered. And, I won! Yay. I was super sick, but I would not be deterred. I was going to run in the Danze Half Marathon.
Half marathon day dawned clear, cool, and sunny. It was great racing weather, albeit a little cool. At race time it was about 34 degrees and sunny. It warmed up to just about 40 during the course of the race. Having never run an Ocean State Multisport event before, I had no idea what to expect. Race check in and packet pick up was at the YMCA in Seekonk, MA, just over the border from Providence.
The race was a very low key affair. There were only about 50 people registered and most of them were found milling around in the (heated!) gym at the Y, waiting for the race to start. There was plenty of room to warm up, stretch, and lounge in the heated gym, and a full locker room available for use. Gary, the director of Ocean State Multisport gathered everyone and ushered us out to the start line, a little spray painted mark on the sidewalk next to the YMCA. He welcomed everyone to the race, explained the course, and sent us on our way.
The course was a lovely, rural and suburban course. It began running through what I imagine is downtown Seekonk, if there is such a thing. There were a number of homes and subdivisions. Then, the race turned into a wooded, rural, residential area and the course wound past a lovely subdivision with huge, stately homes. Next, the race course headed out into the country. We ran along rural roads, past cow pastures, fields, and great New England scenery. The roads were not closed to traffic, but drivers were kind, waving and honking. Drivers seemed to be driving safely and obeying the speed limit. There were uniformed police officers with cruisers at ever turn and volunteers with flags on each corner. The course was extremely well marked. Gary had spray painted markings on the road and large black and white signs on telephone poles. The uniformed officers marked every major intersection and turn. It would have been very difficult to get lost. I was very impressed with the course and the clarity of the course markings. I was also pleased to see so many police officers and felt comforted by the police presence. I have run many much larger races and not had such a strong police presence. It was wonderful.
The course was relatively flat, with just a few small hills. It was what I generally refer to as “New England flat” (though the elevation chart doesn’t look like it – there wasn’t much elevation change so the little changes look large) with a nice downhill finish.
Water stations were well marked, and just where Gary said they would be. Each water stop was staffed with a few friendly volunteers.
At the finish line, Gary himself greeted each runner. He was cheering and friendly. There were snacks – oranges, bananas, and an amazing tray of sweets from a local bakery. Finish line amenities also included complimentary massage.
Overall, I loved this race. I liked Gary, and I was impressed with Ocean State Multisport. Though the race had only 50 or so participants, there were perks that I often don’t even see at much larger races. Every finisher got a medal, a t-shirt, wonderful food, and free massage. The traffic was well controlled and the local police had a strong presence. The course was well marked, scenic, and fun to run. It ‘s worth note that the race also seemed to attract a fast field – many of the finish times were below 2 hours. Not me, of course, as I had spent the whole week sick. It wasn’t my finest finish, but it was a finish.
I will definitely make plans to participate in another Ocean State Multisport event.