Half #190 is in the books!Badass Texas Half in Waco TX, May 30, 2021.Badass Texas Half Marathon was the second of three races I did Memorial Weekend. Originally i had planned to attend the Great American River Run in Memphis (which I did), then on to Dallas for Days 2 and 3 of the Texas Triple put on by Angela Tortorice and Run The Distance. However, fate would dictate a different path with challenge, intrigue, some begging and a bit of FOMO thrown in at the end!
Over the last few months I’ve enjoyed getting to know Kristine Harper, Dallas Half Fanatic Ambassador. Recently she said she would not be at day 2 of the Triple because she was pacing with the Half Fanatic pace group in Waco at the BadAss Texas Half. She said I should consider the race and that they really needed a few more pacers! Well, I have never paced a race but I thought why not… let’s try it.
I was able to enlist fellow Fanatic friends Jennifer Sloan Ziegler and Pam Slay Pitts to join the pacer team and the Mississippi Lady Posse was on their way to Waco!
BadAss Texas is a Half Marathon event put in by Racing Systems (Wetimer Races) and Run Project, a premier running series in Texas. While a number of their races are in the Dallas area, Waco was an excellent choice for BadAss! With the hills on the course it earned the name easily.
The race began and ended at Heritage Square Downtown. It is a perfect place for a race center, spacious and nicely kept. It had plenty of shaded areas to sit and get ready.
After some group pictures and the usual pre-race preliminaries, the Half started. We made an immediate turn after one block, then another turn onto University Parks Drive. This road runs along the Brazos River and down to Cameron Park. Springtime in Waco along this route was quite beautiful and green all along the river. Along the road are small statues of animals leading you to the zoo.
We passed the entrance to the zoo and weaved through Cameron Park. This is where the hills started and would be with us from mile 2 to mile 6! The worst of the hills were quite steep and the highest point was in Cameron Park at Lover’s Leap. Lover’s Leap is a beautiful overlook of the Bosque River lined with rock cliffs. The Bosque River joins the Brazos River at Waco.
At mile 6 we entered into a residential area and then McLennan Community College…and more hills!! Finally, we got on Lake Shore Drive at mile 8 to cross to the East side of the Brazos and start our return to the finish line. Leaving the road, we veered off onto the Greenway which runs along the Brazos and entered the Doris Miller Park. Doris Miller was a cook aboard the battleship West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Waco native pulled to safety several wounded sailors, then manned an antiaircraft gun, which he wasn’t trained on, and shot down several Japanese planes. He was the first black American to be awarded the Navy Cross.
Midway through Miller Park we crossed back to the West side of the Brazos River for the final mile to the Finish line at Heritage Square. Along the route we were accompanied by Nathan and Deanna on bicycles, part of a bicycle squad sent to help out by a local bike shop. They were in communication with the RD, giving her our position.
As we came around the corner, I was amazed at the amount of people still there to cheer on the last runner. Two motorcyles with flashing lights led the way, followed by the bicycle helpers. Police cars behind us finished the caravan. The cheers and applause for our runner was emotional for her and us!
This is the only race where I have noticed them having a Last Runner pacer. I have heard of sweepers where they may have to remove a runner who falls behind the required minimum pace from a course but that was not the mission for us. I wish there were more of these kind of pacers at races!
There were water stops every 1.5 miles. They were unmanned as part of the Covid protocols for the race but had plenty of 10 gallon dispensers of water and Nuun drink. They had cups available or you could fill your own bottle.
There was good police and volunteer support at turns, intersections, etc. They advertised that there were no porta-potties on the course. At first, I thought, “oh no, no place to go!” However, there were quite a few restrooms in the various parks, which was great! I will take a restroom over a porta-potty anyday!!
We expected warm weather in Waco. After all, It was the end of May in the South. But we were pleasantly surprised with cloudy skies and cool temperature. It was perfect running wather just like Memphis the day before! At the finish line they had medals, BadAss medals at that, bananas, drinks, granola bars. The after party offered food and beer and a nice party atmoslphere, per hubby. I was last to cross and they had saved a couple beers for me. They KNEW what I would find important!
Being the Last Runner pacer was very rewarding… helping someone reach their goal and being able to help and encourage them along the way. The Dallas area chapter did a great job providing the pacers. I enjoyed the race as well with great scenery. I will be back… and I plan to pace again.. proud to be a Last Runner pacer!
Photo and race report credit Jennifer Clark