We arrived in Bluffton on Saturday night, too late to make it to the packet pick-up at Palmetto Running Company. Though rooms at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff were discounted to runners, they were still well over $300 a night, so we opted to stay at the Fairfield Inn 20 minutes away. The hotel was clean, had a much-desired refrigerator, continental breakfast at 7 am, and fully functioning bathroom (no weird leaks in toilet, great water pressure in shower). Race morning it was an easy 20 minute drive to the race start where parking was plentiful, if a little bit muddy after 5 days of rain. We knew pick-up was available on Sunday before the race, but runners were strongly encouraged, even warned, to pick up packets on Saturday. Since Saturday wasn't in the cards for us, we took our chances and picked up at 8:30 on race morning... 30 minutes before the race start. Justin registered for a men's large shirt and was given his size along with his race bib. I registered for a women's medium, but sadly there was only one women's shirt left in a size small. I took my chances on the small, but likely will not wear it as it feels like I am nearly being shrink wrapped by a cotton-poly blend. The t-shirt scenario was disappointing because: A. I was psyched to get a gender specific shirt, and B. the t-shirt design was beautiful. Had I gotten the medium I requested with registration, its the kind of shirt I would be wearing all the time!
Our bibs each had two tickets: one for a Jim-N-Nick's barbecue sandwich and slaw, the other for a beer from River Dog Brewing Co. Oranges, bananas, water, and bug spray were all available at the finish as well, no tickets needed. We both chowed down on our Jim-N-Nicks and enjoyed socializing with other finishers at the community tables.
Even after finishing our food, we stuck around for the awards ceremony as Justin had likely run well-enough to place in his age group. Sure enough, awards were announced, and in spite of the 10 year age range for awards, Justin still earned second place in the 30-39 category. Sadly, in spite of the broad age range, Palmetto Bluff was still a little stingy with rewards, only giving a plaque with the Palmetto Bluff logo to the first place finisher in each age group. We made our departure shortly thereafter.
An added bonus was our spontaneous decision to tour some of the model homes we passed by on the race course. Though we both still have a ways to go before retirement, it was fun to imagine ourselves as retirees, still running the half marathon in the idyllic Palmetto Bluff. If you run the race, we recommend checking out the rest of the neighborhood before you leave the area.
Tips for a Successful Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon:
1. Pick up your packet on Saturday before 5 o'clock. This will ensure you get the t-shirt size you ordered.
2. Don't expect any extra medals unless you know you can finish 1st in your age group.
3. Don't worry about staying at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff. Though we are sure it is an amazing experience, the $100
hotels in Bluffton will do you just fine. It was an easy drive to the race start.
For more information on this race visit: http://www.palmettobluff.com/events-palmetto-bluff-Half-Marathon.aspx