Has anyone done this race? Does it sell out early? If so, when?
Yep, this was my first Half. Did it this past September. I think I waited till the spring to register. The half didn't sell out, if memory serves correct.... In fact, I think one of the guys from DCT who also raced ended up registering on site!!
LOVED the course. Water was high seventies (79 or something; they allowed wetsuits, but only in the LAST wave). Well supported with boats, kayakers. The long grassy run from the beach to T1 wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either - all things considered, it was okay.
Bike was SHADED and FAST. Couple small rollers, but mostly flat and very scenic. Well supported with two water bottle feeding areas. This past Sept the course was 58 miles due to the hurricane affecting some roads, but I'd imagine it goes back to [update] the normal [end] 56. If you knock the race for adding 2 miles to the bike, find another sport. The bike course was awesome.
Run course was 2 loops of mixed shade/sun and mixed terrain with some gravel/trail but MOSTLY paved, and very flat. Very. Flat. The trail sections are nice and shady and has good footing, so don't worry about shoe type. You'll be fine. Very scenic and nice. The best part of this was the support. Lots of volunteers out on the course directing, and lots of nutrition (we're talking salt tabs, flat coke, HEED, water, Chex Mix, Pretzels, and I think one or two other things). WOW! They called out to you what they had so they can hand you exactly what you wanted. Better than room service.
After party was great. Pools of gatorade, soda, water, plenty of great recovery BBQ and fruit. Beer tent.
Don't get there late, as the line to go in for parking backs up a bit on Jamestown Road.
If I do an end of year half after my IM I'd choose Patriots. Highly recommend.
If you have any other specific questions I'd be happy to answer.
Many thanks for this description, this will be my 1/2 in the build up to IM Florida in November. Its always good to hear from someone who has actually done the race.
I used Patriot's as my race prep for IMFL this year. It is a decent course match. My Garmin reported elevation gains of:
Patriot's: 813 (over the 58 miles)
I would also recommend the race.