Joanne Blatchley (HF14845) – Medal Monday, HF 14845
This weekend I checked Texas off the list!
I ran the 3M Austin 1/2 Marathon.
My excitement and expectations were high due to the big name sponsor, and everything is always bigger in Texas. I will honestly say this race left me disappointed overall.
The expo was held at the Palmer Events Center downtown Austin. There were no signs if you came in the front door telling you where to go (there are multiple rooms throughout). If I didn’t run into another runner leaving the building and ask them, it would’ve taken me a while to find it.
Bib #’s were not emailed (or I just never got the email). Instead, there was a QR code to scan with your phone to look it up. After bib pickup, you were greeted by the swag bag people, and then it was onto the race shirt tables. The shirts are nice. This year’s shirt was long sleeve orange performance wear.
What disappointed me about this expo was how small it was, especially with over 6,000 runners for the half marathon. With a sponsor like 3M, I truly expected many more vendors than what was there. They did have a few photo op backgrounds, which were a nice option (the runner name wall & 3M background with balloons). They also had a green screen photo op where they texted you the photo, but there was nobody manning the booth when I was there.
It was a point to point race (which I’m not the biggest fan of), so different start and finish locations. They advised us to park at the start line because they didn’t over shuttle from finish to start line.
Multiple people told me the course was completely flat and Downhill (heck, it’s even captioned as Downhill to Downtown). I’m guessing everyone’s definition of flat is different. There were both inclines and hills going up, but nothing too scary.
I did not find the course that was scenic, but maybe that’s just me. We ran through some nice areas but nothing stood out to me.
The course support was on point!
All the water stops had both water and Nuun and were well-spaced. Some stops also had Gu gels and chews. I tried the Nuun, but I’m definitely not a fan of the taste and ended up sticking with my DripDrop packets.
The private cheerleaders and support tables were fantastic! There were donut holes, orange slices, beer, Jello shots, and mimosas. The best was a house (I’m assuming a few neighbors banding together) making and handing out fresh bacon to all the runners.
As always, I enjoyed all the support signs along the course.
The finish line ended on a freaking hill! Not a crazy one like I said, but what was the race director thinking?!!!
The medal was handed to us, then a mylar blanket and a bottle of water (Evamor). Onto the prepackaged 3M post race snack bag sans banana. The bag held a fruit cup and 2 granola type bars ( I don’t remember brand).
They had a massage tent, but they were charging for it. First race for me where they charged $$; normally just a sign up sheet.
Of course there was a beer tent, but the bib didn’t have a ticket, so unsure if they accepted bib as payment or $$.
They had a few vendor tables at post race area and 3 food trucks, but nothing to write home about. FinisherPix was there for finish line photos, but they didn’t have anyone to take photos after with medals.
Free bus transportation was provided at finish area to return you to parking at start line, BUT they had signs stating that in 2024 they would charge $10 for the service.
I almost forgot about the swag bags. As expected, it was all 3M stuff, but nothing runner related. There were post-it notes aplenty in various shapes/sizes, scotch taoe, packing tape, kitchen scrubbers, and a freaking pair of full-size scissors. Obviously, they were NOT thinking of runners who traveled with carry-on luggage only.
Overall, it was just okay. I wouldn’t say don’t do this Texas race, but I’m sure there are better options.
Photo and Post Credit Joanne Blatchley