On Saturday, June 17, we did the Gorges Ithaca Half Marathon. This was the second year we ran this race, making this our first repeated half marathon! (But it was a different course, so it may not fully count?)
Registration Cost: The race registration was $70, regardless of when you registered. We did have a coupon code for $5 off and there was an incentivized date cut-off for registering with a t-shirt guaranteed.
Packet Pick-Up: This was easy and done on the day before the race, with packet pick-up being held at the Finger Lakes Running & Triathlon Company Store in downtown Ithaca, NY. The packets came as reusable drawstring bags, Gorges Ithaca Half magnets, some promos/coupons, t-shirts (there were three design options to choose from), and wristbands for the after party.
We ended up opting for tech t-shirts with the race logo on the front and sponsors on the back; the shirts are comfy, made from 100% recycled materials, and made in the USA–so pretty fancy for race shirts. The other options included 50-50 cotton-polyester shirts with either the race logo or “13.1” on the front. These were also made in the USA.
Pre-Race: The course featured a point-to-point format. There was an option of purchasing a $10 ticket for a (school) bus ride to the starting line, or you could get dropped off. We got dropped off at the nearest intersection at about 7:15 a.m. for the 7:30 a.m. start. We saw about four school buses, and many other people getting dropped off. The course started on the road, with open fields nearby and some porta potties there, too.
The race start was casual. We were near the back of the starting corral and heard an announcement, but couldn’t hear what they said. Shortly after, people started running so we did, too… except the people who were still in line for the porta potties, but we assumed they got their start, too.
In terms of pre-race communication, there were a few emails leading up to the race, but not many. We had received the info for packet pick-up immediately after registering and didn’t receive other reminders with that file.
Course: The first mile was on the road. For the people in the porta potties, it may have been difficult to make the first couple of turns because there weren’t many officials along the first mile or so.
The next five miles were held on the newly finished Black Diamond Trail, which is a fine crushed gravel trail that connects Taughannock Falls State Park with the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. There were many small waterfalls along the sides of this trail, along with a bison farm. This was a shaded area as well.
The final portion of the course went along the Cayuga Waterfront Trail along the Cayuga Lake inlet and lake itself. The last mile went by Ithaca Falls and ended just shy of the Ithaca Commons.
Overall, this course was downhill and/or flat–which was a big difference from last year’s course that went up a big hill! There were five or six water stops along the way that also offered Gatorade and/or Tailwind or Gu. Two also had strawberries. We both carried a handheld bottle with us and the water stops were all great with refilling the bottles when needed.
For on-course entertainment, there were two bagpipers at about mile 8 (they could be heard for parts of earlier miles depending on traffic and wind). There was also MegsRadio at about mile 11.
In terms of spectators, there were some but mostly looking for specific people. This was also a bit different from last year, but probably due to the change in the course (last year’s went through more of the city).
Finish Line: There was an announcer at the finish line. Immediately after crossing the finish line we were given our reusable Gorges Ithaca Half water bottles that were filled, along with the finisher’s medal, and coupons for an entry for a Saucony giveaway. The finisher’s medals are pretty cool–they look like they could be used as coasters as they are that size, printed(?) with a local scene, and sealed(?) on some type of light wood.
Post-Race: Right across the street from the finish line there was a walk-up food tent that had water to refill your bottles with, along with freezer pops, Ithaca Yogurt (many flavors to choose from!), and two kinds of really tasty cookie bars–one had cranberries and white chocolate chips and the other had chocolate chips.
The rest of the post-race party included pulled pork, salt potatoes, scrambled eggs, and fruit. The wristbands had two tickets attached for Ithaca Beer Co., which we used for ginger beer (yum!). There were also post-race massages, kettlebells and foam rolling, live music, and a Saucony tent with shoes to try on and the giveaway raffle.
This was one of the best post-race events (again this year–we thought the same last year).
Weather: It was sunny and in the 70s to 80s, we think. By the time we were at the post-race event, it was in the mid-80s and getting a bit humid.
Apparel: Charcoal wore one of our special race tank tops, compression shorts, running shorts, Roo Sports pocket, and a running cap. She also carried a Nathan QuickDraw insulated bottle. Her footwear for the day included Balega socks and Saucony iSO Triumph 2 shoes.
Violet wore one of our special race tank tops, compression shorts, running shorts (with a lot of pockets–even though they weren’t as full as they were a few weeks ago!), a Roo Sports pocket, and a running cap. She also carried a Nathan ExoShot bottle. Her footwear included injinji 2.0 women’s toesocks and Asics GT-1000 4 shoes.