By: Ryan Middleton
Below is a review of the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon course. Before reading this, we recommend you read our other article, “How to Race the Half Marathon.”
Keep in mind that this course is fast and flat. It provides a great opportunity for some PR’s.
At the start, due to the race starting early (6:40am), it will still be dark for the first few miles. Even though the roadway is still visible, your watches will not be. Therefore, make sure that you know how to turn the backlight on and off so that you can see your data. If you have any questions on this, please reach out to your coaches.
The half marathon and marathon start together. However, due to the smaller field size, it isn’t crowded. You should be able to settle into a rhythm pretty quickly.
Mile 2 is the only mile of the entire race near the actual beach where there may be some wind. Miles 11 and 12 are on more of a main highway leaving the potential for some wind exposure as well. Work in groups during both sections, tucking behind someone when possible. Take turns breaking the wind for one another if the wind is an issue.
The rest of the miles are mostly in neighborhoods that are very flat. The only bridge overpass comes in mile 3 and is very small. This is the only hill in the entire race (maybe 100m long).
Other than sticking to your race plan including nutrition and pacing, the biggest things to emphasize about this half marathon course is that it can be long if you are not careful. Make sure you are taking the inside of the turns and running the tangents of the roadways, otherwise you can easily add a quarter mile to the total race distance. I ended up with 13.33 miles two years ago. Just be intentional here.
Now it is time to rest, focus on nutrition, and trust the training. Good luck to everyone!