Joanne Blatchley (HF14845)
This past weekend I ran the Magnolia ½ Marathon in Meridian, Mississippi. The weather was a bit chilly at the start point with a little breeze blowing, 32 degrees, and even though the sun came out, it only warmed up to barely 50 by the time I finished.
The race itself was well planned (at least I thought so). Packet pick up was the day before at 3 Foot Brewing right downtown next to City Hall which was where the start/finish line was. Parking was easily accessible and there was plenty as it seemed to be more of a local race with some out of towners like myself. All the volunteers were friendly and helpful.
The race was all pavement. The route took us through the city streets of Meridian and into the back roads of some pretty neighborhoods. There was some pitch to some of the roads and also some uneven pavement but other than that, it was a straight forward course. Who knew Mississippi had hills?! Yep, hills aplenty. I’m not sure who decided a hill (over the bridge) was a good idea at mile 12 but it was there for us to run up and over. The directional signage for the course was well done and easy to follow.
One of the fascinating things about the course were the carousel horses. Yep that’s right, those things from the merry-go-round. It is an exhibit which pays homage to an attraction at the center of practically every amusement park and fairgrounds across the country – the carousel. They mention that the carousels live at the heart and soul of American culture, bringing out the kid in all of us. Meridian proudly honors that American icon with a one-of-a-kind outdoor public art exhibit: Around Town Carousels Abound. There are 13 different horses located in the heart of historic downtown Meridian with others scattered further away.
There were plenty of water stops along the route; miles 2, 4, 6, 10.5, 12 and at the Start/Finish. GU Energy Gels (various flavors), Powerade and water were provided at all stations and some even offered candy, pretzels and orange slices. The support at these stations and along the course were very encouraging and friendly.
The announcer was great. They had you fill out a form at packet pick up sharing a few things about yourself and this race. Then the announcer made a point to share some of those things as you came toward the finish line which was a nice touch.
The medals were unique as they were rings cut from a magnolia tree and burned with the race name on it. Me and my friend Melly even got the creator of the medals to sign the back.
There was a results tent where they printed out your personal results on a sticker and you were able to stick it to the back side of your medal.
They also had a rehab center there for post-race stretching and rolling with those necessary hard stick evil devices (hurts so good).
The post race snacks were fantastic. They had water, coke, chips, bananas, cookies, sandwiches from a local restaurant and even pizza from Little Caesars.
Photo and Post Credit Joanne Blatchley