This past weekend I ran the half marathon at Race 13.1 St Louis. This is the 2nd year that this national race has been held in St Louis. Starting from Missouri Research Park in St Charles, this was the 1st race that I have ran in this area of St Louis. The course covered portions of the Katy Trail, Busch Greenway, and Hamburg Trail.
To start the day, my alarm went off at 4:30am. I live about 40 minutes away from the race site and still needed to check in between 5:15-6:15am. With a high temperature of 69 degrees predicted for the day, I chose to wear a tank top and running shorts. Driving into the Reseach Park, there was plenty of close parking available. The race had a cap of 2,000 half marathon participants and 1,000 5k participants, but only 872 participants registered and only 753 finished. With these small numbers, I had no wait to pick up my bib and race t-shirt and then use a porta-potty. At packet pick up, I received a pre-printed race bib personalized with my first name and a race t-shirt. They also directed me to tables with safety pins, rubber bracelets, and temporary tattoos.
The half marathon started at 7:00am, with the 5k to start at 7:15am. Pace groups were available for the following half marathon times: 1:45 | 2:00 | 2:15 | 2:30 | 2:45 | 3:00. This made it easy to line up in an appropriate spot. But again, with the small race numbers, there was no starting corral congestion as so many big races have.
The course started in the Research Park with paved roads for the first 1.5 miles. We then entered the Katy Trail, with crushed limestone and beautiful views of the Missouri River. We stayed on the Katy Trail through mile 6. Hydration stations were located about every 2 miles, but the first station at mile 2 had ran out of cups by the time I got there, but had gallons of water that you could use. All other stations had both water and Gatorade.
We left the Katy Trail for the Hamburg Trail through mile 10, also on crushed limestone. The overall race was pretty flat, except for mile 8, which had a steep incline. At mile 10, we entered Busch Greenway, a paved trail that ran near Highway 94, back to the Research Park. Up to mile 10, the trail had been pretty well covered by tree coverage, but opened up at mile 10 for a warm final 5k.
The race organizers had warned runners of muddy areas on the Katy Trail after the recent floodings, but the Katy seemed in great condition. There was light muddy areas on the Hamburg Trail, but nothing that impeded your progress or slowed you down.
There was great crowd support and cheering upon exiting the trail and entering the finish area. There was someone on a loud speaker cheering all the finishers and announcing runners as they crossed the finish line. After crossing the finish line, volunteers handed out race medals and wet cloth to help cool down. They had tables set up with bananas and granola bars and a beer tent available. Papa John’s was also there handing out pizza. As I was one of the later finishers, they offered me a full pizza as they still had a large stack to give away.
Race 13.1 was a great experience on a beautiful course! It’s a race that I will be adding to my annual “Must-Run Races”.