Review – Go St. Louis half marathon / marathon – St. Louis, MO
Date: April 15, 2012
Distance: 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles
Race Cost: $85
Race website: http://www.gostlouis.org
Total Runners: Around 9,000 for the half marathon, 1,700 for the full marathon
Race Start Time: 7am
Course: Rolling Hills. Some hills are fairly long. The half marathon course takes you through the city of St. Louis, and the roads are all closed for the race. At approximately the 10 mile mark, the half marathoners and full marathoners split up. At that point, it’s a very lonely race for the full marathon runners.
Weather: Weather in April can be cold and rainy or hot and humid. Prepare for all scenarios.
Race Schwag: You get a long-sleeve t-shirt by registering and a very nice finisher’s medal awaits you.
Aid Stations: I’m not sure why the race organizers fail so badly here. First, they announce that there will be an aid station every two miles, not every mile. On race day, some aid stations are nearly 3 miles apart. In a long distance race, 3 miles can be way too long for many runners. I witnessed runners throwing up and collapsing on the course. On top of that, one aid station near the 12 mile mark (in the half marathon) had NO VOLUNTEERS at it. Nine thousand runners participating and nobody was handing out water. This was witnessed by myself and many other runners.
Review: I have run this race many times, mostly because half of St. Louis shows up. The course is challenging, so don’t expect a personal record for the distance you choose. For the half marathon, there are great spectators shouting encouragement, and the volunteers are cheerful. For the full, spectators are sparse after you part with the half runners, but volunteers continue to be helpful. You’ll be very aware that most people are running the half marathon, so prepare yourself for a drastically different second half of the marathon. It gets a little lonely out there.
For some reason on the half marathon, the mile markers were at times over half a mile off. Not good.
The aid station issue is a huge problem. They need to be every mile at least. At the very least, if you announce that they will be every two miles, put them every two miles!
This year, several runners informed me that early aid stations actually ran out of water. How in the world does this happen? Totally unacceptable
This race has a lot of things going for it. The organizers produce a very nice race day guide, and a high-quality race day finisher’s medal. Unfortunately, this forward-thinking and progressive behavior seems to stop there. Race day management fails big time.
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