I am definitely a little late on this recap, but as I always saw with my race recaps, they are better late than never! The New Bo Half Marathon was the second part of my Labor Day double weekend. This race came after running the Rockin’ Chocolate Half and would count as my Iowa race in my 50 state quest. It wasn’t necessarily the first Iowa race on my list, but it worked out too perfectly and was glad I did end up choosing this one!
Mel and I got into Cedar Rapids just before dinner time and with the late lunch I had, I was pretty exhausted and wanted to just pass out. Luckily Mel ordered the smallest gluten free pizza ever and we ended up splitting it. The delivery guy was pretty amusing when he brought the pizza to our hotel room. While it might have been the smallest pizza ever, it was actually all I needed. We had another early race morning with a 7:30am start and had to get our bibs before the race, so I was not upset calling it an early night and getting as much sleep as I could.
We got into downtown Cedar Rapids pretty easily and found a close parking spot to the NewBo City Market. We pretty quickly snagged our bibs and I grabbed my t-shirt. I guess when I signed up, I opted to purchase a t-shirt. I am glad I did because it was the super soft variety, fits well and is yellow, which isn’t a color I have a lot of! One of the reasons I was absolutely okay with running this race was because it only cost me $30 to register. On top of that, you got a hand made clay medal as well. We took my shirt to the car and then headed to the start line. We actually ran into Angie and Josh, who are the only other Iowans I know, so I was happy to see them.
I knew walking up to the start line for this race that it wasn’t going to be stellar. This was the first double weekend I had attempted in over a year and the heat was only getting worse. Mel was awesome again and said she was going to stick with me. Even more than the first day, I was even more grateful to have her along for this race. The race was pretty much broken up into 2 sections. The first part was headed out of town on some country roads and the second was headed back into town on the Sac and Fox Trail.
Once we got going, I knew right away it was going to be a long day out there. Luckily before the week before the race, Angie had warned me that we went over a few train tracks and that they were live tracks. We had a chance of getting stuck on the wrong side if the timing was off. I definitely didn’t want to get stuck on the wrong side. To get out to the Sac and Fox Trail, we had to pass by the corn processing plant at the beginning of Prairie Park. The sun was still coming up which made for a nice setting, but even by mile 2 I could feel the heat getting worse.
At mile 3 we turn some turn and headed out on some true country roads. There was road kill, corn and farm animals. We even had some roosters say hi as we went by. There was zero shade though. By far this was the worst part of the course. While this was a good race, it would be so much better in 50 degree weather.
Just as we got to mile 6 we actually crossed over runners below us on the Sac and Fox Trail. As I looked down I saw Angie waving up. We had about another half mile before we got to the trail head. However, just before the trail head, we crossed over this one lane bridge. I immediately noticed how bouncy it was. There was a photographer there and was just laughing probably at me, but was telling me with me. Mel thought I was crazy, but I at least got him to verbally agree that it was bouncing too.
Just at the trailhead we saw some spectators. This was really the only spot we saw spectators besides the finish line. It was certainly not a great race for that. I love this part of the race because it was under tree cover and much cooler. It was a beautiful part of the course. It was a very fine crushed limestone that we ran on. This was also the part of the race that I started losing it a bit more than normal. Usually around mile 8 of a half marathon is where I would stop at a water stop and grab gatorade. Well, here is the one biggest gripe I had with this race. There was no gatorade. Again, the amazing Angie warned me of this, but I just don’t see why this was even a thing. It couldn’t be that hard to even put a thing of Gatorade at the later water stops. Maybe it didn’t need to be at all, but perhaps the last 2 would have been nice, especially since we were pushing 70+ in the temperature scale. I really could have used those extra electrolytes at this point in the race.
Just after we hit the 10 mile mark, we headed back through Prairie Park and on our way back into town. I was very done with this race at this point, but doing everything I could to keep moving forward. I wish we could have run more in that park and then we maybe could have done less on the country roads. The 10k racers did get to do a loop around there.
Right before we turned out of the park, I saw a train started moving. We were maybe 500 yards away and I literally stopped and threw my hands up. I was so mad. I wanted to scream. Then all of a sudden Mel yelled that it was just the engine and he was probably moving forward to then back up to the rest of the train. Luckily that was exactly what it was so we easily passed over the tracks. This threw me off though and made for a long last mile. We had less than a mile and then one more turn until the finish line. We didn’t know it at the time, but Josh was hanging out at the finish line waiting for us to cross. When not knowing a lot of people at a race, this was such a nice gesture. He caught an awesome finish line photo of us finishing our 2nd race in 2 days.
Once we got our awesome hand made medals, Mel and I went over to get our finishers kolache. I had no idea what this thing was, but Mel was an expert and based on her description, I was amped to try it. We got there and all we had were empty boxes. Not a single one was left. I know we were not the fastest out there, but come on! You promise a kolache, give me a kolache! Luckily though, Mel was determined to get me one, so we found one later. After hanging for a bit with Angie, Josh and their friend, we decided to get back to the hotel to shower and then on the road to Des Moines after hitting the arts festival in town first.
Overall, the New Bo Half was the epitome of a small race. It had a great appeal and amazing volunteers! You can’t beat the registration price at all. You also get free race pictures. Even with not getting my kolache and not having gatorade on the course, I was glad I picked this race for my Iowa race. It’s definitely one I’d still recommend to just add to your race calendar or if you’re on the 50 state quest. Just hope for better weather!
Official Finish Time:
84/94, Female 30-39