I have been a fan of Startline Racing events ever since I first heard about them last year. My friend was doing races in their sunrise series, and posting pictures with cool medals that hung from each other. I got medal envy. As a result, I ended up running several in the series last summer. Startline also partners with the Max Cure Foundation, which raises money to fight B-Cell Lymphoma. You can drop off your old running shoes at most Startline Races, which goes to benefit the Max Cure Foundation.
This year, I dove into the “Going The Distance” series. They started with a 5k, then had a 10k, 15k, half marathon, and will finish with the marathon on April 7. It really is a smart concept, to let someone gradually build their way up to a half or full marathon. In January, I had already run the 10k and was scheduled to run the 15k on the dirt trails at the Reach 11 sports complex. However, due to some unusual January rainstorms, we were advised that the race was moving to the concrete trails near Rose Mofford Sports Complex. Startline had to move quickly to make that happen. They are really on top of things!
I decided to sign up for the half marathon. It would give me the opportunity to qualify for the Half Fanatics – an exclusive group of crazy runners who enjoy running a plethora of half marathons. The minimum entry point is running 3 half marathons in 90 days. I was able to achieve 3 half marathons in 49 days. The half marathon was also scheduled to be at Rose Mofford Sports Complex, so I knew exactly what to expect.
You can register for the whole series, or just purchase races a la carte like I did. They have a unique medal presentation. You are given one hanger, and each race “medal” plate hangs from the hanger. Then if you get an age group placement, that little placard hangs from the same hanger. I love that! They also give you a different tech-shirt at each race. This time it was orange – my favorite!
One of my other favorite things about Startline Events (there are many favorites) is that logistically everything is so EASY. When I ran the 10k back on January 3, it was literally 25 degrees. I was able to stay warm in my car until about 5 minutes before the gun time. No traffic, no shuttles, no lines, no drama! Even though they offered packet pickup the day prior, I chose to show up before the race for my shirt and medal (yes they give you your medal BEFORE you actually run!) You might be tempted to hop back in your car and skip the race – but what fun would that be?! Plus you would miss out on possibly scoring some age group bling!
I was able to pick up my goodies, then head back to my car to drop off things and get situated. I did the race with 2 other members of the #RunEatTweetAZ family. All of a sudden it was race time and we were off! It was about 65 and sunny at race start, and about 72 at the finish. There is little to no shade along the course. It’s a paved trail on the canal system. Every half mile or so we dipped down under a cross street and came up on the other side. In between those dips, the course was flat as a pancake, but by the 10th time you encounter one of these dips, it suddenly seems like you are climbing a mountain!
I started out way too fast, per usual, and between the heat and sun and those uphill climbs, watched my possible PR float slip right through my fingers. I left my go-to fuel Island Boost at home on the kitchen counter by mistake and mentally I felt doomed. The race director did explain that there would be energy gels and water/Gatorade on the course, so I felt like ok, at least I won’t die out here today. Although there were water stops roughly every 2 or so miles, I would have been better off had I hand carried my own.
Even though my time was way off (2:01), I still managed to win 2nd place in my age group, hooray! I was happy to keep the string alive.
This was another well-managed race by Startline, and I’m looking forward to coming back for the Sunrise Series in May!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!