1st Brett 2nd Mike 3rd Me
Well of course we’re going to celebrate Halloween by running a half marathon! The second annual Provo Haunted Half Marathon was about to go down and I was gearing up for a good race. The only half marathons I’ve run before were at my home town of Star Valley, and that is at 6000 ft and the course is pretty flat. This haunted half course followed the river down Provo Canyon, so it was a lot of downhill and the elevation was a lot less. I was excited for a fast time! I was sure I could break my PR of 1:13.
I got talking to some old Weber State teammates Brett Hales and Mike Hardy and we decided we would all do this half marathon. We hadn’t all run a race together for a long time and we decided it was about time we laced up and raced. I didn’t know if I was happy or sad about this. It would be way fun to run with these guys again, but… they’re both All-American runners! They would be hard to beat! And I’m not saying it’s all about the money, but an extra few hundred bucks for first place doesn’t sound too bad!
We signed up and hung out a bit the night before the race, grabbing some dinner, driving around and talking about good times. It was good to catch up and reminisce. And of course they got on me for still being single. Brett crashed at my apartment and we had some good pillow talk.
I didn’t sleep well, but neither did Brett, I bet. The air mattress I gave him deflated during the night. Bwahaha! Anything to slow him down. He has won most of the half marathons in Utah this year.
We drove to the finish area of the race and shuttled up to the start. After warming up, we found our way in front of the crowd and the race started. We took off at a decent pace. There wasn’t much conversation, things were serious now! Or something like that, maybe its just that no one liked to talk while running fast. The only words spoken was when Taylor Farnsworth (BYU alumni) would read off our mile splits. Something like 5:01, 5:08, 5:02, 4;53. After about 4 miles Brett, Mike, Taylor and I were breaking away from the big pack.
This was my home turf! I ran the Provo River trail a lot. The only advantage I really had was that I had a good idea of how far we were from the finish at all times. But my advantage was squashed because the mile markers were very clearly marked.
Brett pulled ahead, and Farnsworth dropped off a bit and left Mike and I to run side by side. Mike and I were always fairly close to each other in training and racing throughout college. We would beat each other off and on but Mike definitely has more wins over me than I do over him. It was good to run with him again. That lasted until about mile 10 when Mike picked up the pace and I couldn’t hang anymore.
Brett had kept a solid 10 second gap on us for the first 10 miles of the race. In the last 5k was when all the movement really happened. Mike went after Brett, I maintained, and Brett picked it up to hang onto his lead position. Right when I started hurting, around mile 11, was when the half marathoners merged in with the 5k runners that were finishing. Suddenly I was surrounded by loads of joggers and walkers in costumes going about 8:00 minute mile pace while I’m trying to maintain a 5:10 pace. Needless to say it was very frustrating. It made it hard to maintain my rhythm and I might have “gently” pushed a couple runners out of the way so I could get through.
I finished 3rd overall with a 1:07:53, averaging 5:11 per mile. I was pleased with it; it was a big PR. Brett won, about a minute ahead of me, and Mike was second, about 25 seconds ahead of me. And they had pizza at the finish line! What more could I ask for?
Overall, it was great to run with the guys again, and I look forward to racing with them again in the future. The Haunted Half was organized well! hmmm, except for maybe getting the drop off bags back to the runners, that was a little sketchy, and I was worried they had lost my bag, with my keys and wallet in it. But they did eventually find it! Other than that it was put together well; it had a lot to offer and seeing all the costumes was fun!