GFGL RACE REVIEWS: The Sentara Colonial Half Marathon


This past February, I had the pleasure of running my first half marathon in my college’s town of Williamsburg, Virginia.   As I soon found out, the Colonial Half Marathon is a staple race of local runners and has become somewhat of a tradition in the area amongst college students as well as local retirees.  The wide age range of the race is in itself a huge source of inspiration.  Occurring in late February, the temperature on race day was a sunny and a mild 60 degrees, otherwise known as the perfect race weather.

The actual course itself was a treat to run on.  Perhaps my only regret of this race was failing to bring a small camera with me to take pictures of the scenery.  The race first starts at William and Mary Hall where racers gather to be escorted across campus by a fife and drum core to the actual starting line.  The race takes you through historic Colonial Williamsburg and then heads off into the gorgeous woods surrounding the Colonial Parkway.  Luckily, a nicely paved trail winds throughout the woods so the race isn’t a true “trail run.”  The trail leads all the way to the Busch corporate center before looping around for the second half of the race.

The local Sentara hospital, the sponsor at large at large of the race, did a great job of proving multiple water spots.  Being my first half marathon, I was especially grateful for a race goo station at mile 8.  In my training, I had run the full distance only one time before race day and had used no form of refueling.  It didn’t even faze me to use one then nor during the race.  Boy was I wrong.  Little did I know but the race is essentially all hills so by mile 8 I was in much need of energy boost and the vanilla PowerBar gel shot I received hit the spot.   I also loved the high quality long sleeve technical tee that the hospital created as part of the race packet.

Perhaps my only complaint about the race is its afternoon start time.  By not running until 1 PM, I didn’t really know how to handle fueling my body before the race.  I didn’t want to eat a large lunch before nor wait to eat lunch after.  I ended up eating a normal breakfast at 7 and then around 11 I had a bagel topped with banana slices and peanut butter.  I felt like this was just the right amount of food to keep me going and was happy in my final choice.

If any of you are ever in the eastern part of Virginia, I highly recommend considering signing up for this race.  It was a great stepping-stone in my race book and I look forward to running the race again next year.  Not only was it an awesome experience to be able to run the race finishing under my goal time, I was able to do it with two of my best friends and hundreds of fellow students as well as professors.  The feeling of accomplishing such a distance is one that I will not easily forgot and it has inspired me to sign up for my first full marathon this coming March.  More information about the race can be found at the race’s website,  If you’re not quite sure you can do the whole half marathon, there is a 5K entry as well!

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Categories: GFGL Race Review, Home, Sections, Your Fitness

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