“The journey is the destination”.
Searched for a clever destination run quote since I have been writing about the 2021 Savannah Rock N Roll Half marathon for months now. The quote above brings me back to center with the simple concept on the importance of the journey.
Well, I have been working up to this journey for quite a bit of time. I was originally scheduled to run in Savannah for the first time back in November 2020. We know COVID-19 caused havoc and most races were cancelled in 2020.
The Rock N Roll folks allowed runners to defer race credits forward to 2021 races—I decided to do a direct swap to the 2021 Savannah half marathon since I have never run in the city. Please note, I have visited Savannah multiple times to enjoy the culture, food, and sightseeing. My draw was to be a running tourist in Savannah and take in the sights while running through the city.
Full disclosure, my running tourist adventures did not happen in 2021 and we cannot blame it on COVID-19 this time.
Savannah weather in the month of November is normally mild and attracts 15k+ runners from all over the world. I am sure my fellow runners targeted this race for the mild temperatures, flat course, music, and great food. Unfortunately, I am not sure many runners experienced any of these things.
The weather forecast for race weekend identified rain and colder weather early in the week. The premise was the rain would clear out before race day and keep temperatures cooler than normal. I was excited to run in cooler weather since I train in Fort Pierce, Florida and experience heat and humidity daily.
I got on the road on Friday to head up I-95 to Savannah. The trip was a straight shot up the interstate and took a little over 5 hours to get there. It rained the entire drive up, but it was never a heavy rain, just steady. My thoughts heading up was the rain would clear out by race day and things would be great in the morning.
This concept did not play out and the weather got much worse than projected.
I made my way to the EXPO to pick up my race packet and get some shopping in—normal routine. The rain impacted the foot traffic at the EXPO while I was there so getting in and out was quick. Most of the folks there had rain gear on, but we all were hoping the rain would be gone by race day. I was shocked with the number of vehicles still trying to get to the EXPO—I am sure the weather caused delays with runners arriving in town and then to the EXPO.
Made my way to the hotel to check-in and then look for a place to continue my carb loading program. Decided to make a quick trip to a local Goodwill store to buy a sweatshirt I could wear in the corral while waiting for the race to start. Runners routinely drop sweatshirts and blankets prior to racing—these items are then donated to local homeless shelters. I did not find a sweatshirt at the Goodwill so headed across the street to Burlington and found what I needed for a very good price. 😊
Headed to Buffalo Wild Wings to complete my carb loading process and watch some college football before going to bed early. FYI—it was raining the entire time I was out and about, but the hope was the rain would stop before morning—it did not!
I laid out my race outfit like normal when I got to the hotel. Decided to dress in layers with a long sleeve run shirt since it was colder than normal. My sweatshirt would allow me to stay warm prior to the race—in theory.
Fast forward to race day and it was STILL raining! The rain was a drizzle when I headed out towards downtown and got a bit heavier the closer I got to the shuttle pickup spot. My fellow runners were dressed in layers wearing rain gear, trash bags and large coats to stay dry and warm. This should have been an indication of what was to come but we all got on the shuttle and headed to the start line. The rain appeared to get heavier the closer we got to our drop off spot.
Everyone got off the shuttle with full intent to run the half or full marathon. This intent lasted for about 30 minutes as the rain came down harder and the streets started to flood. I met a lot of nice people from all over America as we huddled and shivered under a restaurant overhang trying to stay dry and somewhat warm.
There was a gentleman who flew in from Seattle two days prior who needed to run this race to complete his goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states. He was conflicted with the weather but determined to run. Other runners had similar stories or reasons they wanted to run. The consensus was none of us expected the weather to be this bad and completing the race in these conditions would be tough. Some vowed to stay and run while others said to hell with this.
I was in the hell with this camp since I rarely train in the rain but have done it. The temperature at the time was 41 degrees and we were experiencing a downpour with no end in sight. I decided to call NO JOY and not risk injury or sickness with the current conditions.
Made my way to Forsythe Park since that’s where the shuttles were to drive runners back to their vehicles. A positive note is the shuttles had heat and provided a dry environment to get us out of the rain. I have never made it to a race start line and not run but this was the best option for me considering the cold, rain, and race conditions for the day.
Happily made it back to my hotel, took a hot shower and got back in the bed for a 2 hour nap! 😊
I normally write about the sightseeing from a race location, but the rain never stopped. I made my way back downtown so I could visit New Realm Brewery. My first experience with New Realm Brewery was when I ran in Virginia Beach back in September. Great food again! They were out of the Acai Berry cider, but I was able to enjoy another local craft beer which was pretty good.
That’s about it for my trip—the rain and cold weather was not conducive to exploring so I didn’t. Made my way back to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch more football and stay dry.
Don’t know if I will try to run Savannah again—two tries and two false starts.
May just take a trip back up in the summer to experience the city as a regular tourist. 😊