Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the A1A Fort Lauderdale race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
The A1A race was my first half marathon of 2017. There is no better place to kick off my half marathon racing than my home state of FL. Since I had never been to Fort Lauderdale, it made the race double special. It was definitely a memorable race.
The expo was held at the Broward Convention Center, about 4 miles north of the airport. I was able to quickly drive there after I arrived on Friday night. The expo was easy to navigate and they had plenty of vendors giving out food samples and selling apparel and gear. I snagged a cute pair of tights to add to my collection. Packet pick up was really quick. There many props for photo ops. Since I arrived in the last hour of the expo, I missed the name wall. I returned to the expo on Saturday so I could find my name.
We received green race shirts and surprisingly mine fit well. We also were given a bag full of goodies. The bag had snacks, coconut water, olive oil, headphones, and coupons.
The race had a 6 am start time. I arrived at the finish area to park at 4:30 am since it was recommended that we arrive early. There was plenty of parking and shuttles were provided to take us to the start. The race did not have traditional corrals so runners were allowed to self seed. Since I am still in marathon training mode, I decided to run 2:1 intervals and I joined the 2:30 group. The logistics around the start were a bit of challenge since the lines for the porta potties were in the middle of the start. Maybe next year they will move the lines to the sidewalk to make it easier for everyone to start.
After the normal race formalities we were off. About 0.25 miles into the race, a train came and we had to stop. The train took close to 20 minutes and we were directed back to the start so we start over. This was the first time I have ever had this happen in a race, but I was in good spirits since there was nothing we could do. I was grateful that they allowed us to start over so our time would reflect our effort. After the train moved we were off.
The course was nice and flat. There was a hill when we went over the Intracoastal Bridge. Compared to ATL, that hill was just a bump in the road. We ran through a state park and along the coast line. It was really warm. Within the first mile I realized that I was getting too hot so I decided to slow down so that could finish strong. After 13.1 miles, I crossed the finish line and received the most unique medal to add to my collection. The finishers party had plenty of vendors that offered food and massages after the race.
Overall it was great race and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to PR on a flat course. There is room for improvement on the course hydration. Hydration was provided about every other mile. Since it was really warm, every mile would have been better. Also sprinklers, cold towels, and popsicles would have been welcomed. Also I wish I had known about the sand sculpture at the end of the race, but I totally missed it. Maybe next year they can publicize all the cool features (name wall, sand sculpture) so you know to look for it at the end.