Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon Race Report and Video

Here's Holly's race report for Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach:

The quest for a marathon in all 50 states continues. We decided on the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon for a few reasons. Number one is that my brother lives in Virginia Beach and it would be good to see him. Number two my parents live kind of close and I figured they would come down and cheer me on as well. Number three, Yuengling sponsors it! These are in no particular order, LOL.

We got into VA Beach Friday night and went right to the expo to pick up our packets for the races. I was doing the 8k on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. This is called the “Whale” Challenge. If you do both they mail you a pin after the races. Dave was doing the 8k on Saturday. The expo was packed. We waited an hour to buy some official race merchandise. Normally I would have skipped it, but the stuff was cute and said “Yuengling”. We left expo and met up with my parents and brother and had dinner. Then it was off to bed to get up early for the 8k.

We drove to the 8k and then hung out in the warm Hilton and used the bathrooms. Very nice. Dave and I did the race together. I would jog ahead and then stop for a walk break and Dave would power walk right by. I don’t know how he can walk that fast. The course was nice with half of it right on the boardwalk with a great view of the ocean. My parents and brother saw us on the course. We finished up and got a cool medal, beer coozie, and best of all, 4 free Yuengling beers. Now I had the marathon the next day so had to behave, but the after party on the beach was awesome. It was a beautiful morning.

The next day was the marathon. The marathon started 90 minutes after the half marathon. When we got close to the start line we could tell that we were never going to find a place to park. Dave dropped me off and I was going to be solo from now on. Luckily I found a place in the Hilton to sit and even a free paper to read. Pretty soon it was time to make my way out to the start.

There were about 3,000 people in the full marathon. Before I knew it we were off. The first few miles went really fast. I was warm at first but eventually with the wind the weather ended up being perfect.

I saw Dave, my brother and parents several times during the first 11 miles. It was awesome to have such a big cheering section. We ran through one military area and the guys and girls there were very enthusiastic cheerleaders. It was such a great feeling. The run up the boardwalk was tough as it was into the wind. I was feeling pretty good and kept it up through mile 20. I started tiring here but I sucked it up and kept pushing. Unfortunately at mile 23, I got really dizzy and it freaked me out, so I stopped and walked and drank a bunch of water for a mile. There goes the PR! Right after that some college guys were partying and they gave me a Guinness! It was great! That is a first for me. We made the turn onto the Boardwalk and I passed my family and that was a very special feeling for me. The first time my whole family saw me finish a marathon. I finished in 5:23 and it is my second fastest time ever. I got a cool medal, finishers’ hat and sweatshirt and 4 more beers! This time I did enjoy some. The post race party on the beach was again awesome. I highly recommend this weekend to anyone. Great course, well organized, a bunch of races to choose from, great swag and the best post race party I have seen.
Dave's comments:
The 8k was fun. I enjoyed the beach party.

The first half of the marathon course was great for spectating. The road they were running on was open heading in the same direction as the runners so you could easily pull over at a few places. Parking was easy to find around Mile 11 (boardwalk area). We had trouble cutting back roads to mile 16 due to road closures and traffic volume. We missed Holly at that marker and decided to cut our losses and go wait by the finish line.

Great snacking opportunities: businesses were open on Atlantic at the start, Miles 5/6.5 were by a 7-11 and McDonald's, Mile 11 was on the Boardwalk and some of those restaurants were open. The finish line was at the Hilton so we hung at their outdoor bar until it was time to wait for Holly's approach. Great seafood (obviously) and some really good beer selections at local restaurants.


  1. Great job! I really want to run this one someday. I really like the rock'n'roll half here but I hate the weather then, so I think this might be a better fit for me.

    1. Weather was perfect. Chilly in the morning and still cool enough in the afternoon. The after-party on the beach was a winner!