I’m planning to do a half-ironman this September or October and I am looking for any advice members might have on a few races. The three that meet my schedule, and are close by, are the Patriots Half in Williamsburg (website) on 9/11, the Half-Full in Ellicott (website) and the Bassman Half in Tuckerton, NJ (website) both on 10/3.
Has anybody here run these races before (or the Columbia Triathlon, which is at the same location as the Half-Full)? Does anyone have any pros or cons to running any of these races? Can anyone make a direct comparison (having done two or more of the courses)? Is anyone able to discuss the bike course for the Columbia Triathlon? I’ve heard that it is hilly, but the website for the Half-Full doesn’t have the elevation breakdown (just the cue sheet).
A bit about me. I’ve done a few olympic distance triathlons, last year’s Nation’s Tri and a couple in Montana before that. Inspired by my wife’s joining and training with the NTP, I’ve decided to step up to the half ironman this year. I’m a stronger swimmer than cyclist, and a slowish runner (~9min/mi). My current goal is simply to finish the race.
Thanks in advance
if you want to try out an up and coming race in the 3rd year
its a 1/2 IM distance that is in westchester, ny, i know the race director personally and may be helping with the race planning this year and such. if you have any questions just ask.
The Patriot race seemed well organized and I enjoyed it. The bike was flat, non-technical, and had significant shade. I had a helluva time on the swim because I am not a strong swimmer and was so slow that the outgoing tide was carrying me out about as fast as I swam! So, if you're a strong swimmer, you'll be fine!
If you're used to biking in the hills out west, then go for Savageman. It may be the opposite course profile of Patriot (lake swim, steep climbs and descents on the bike through forests, and a rolling run with about a mile of dirt fire road), but that means that it's a race to have fun and finish, and not worry about finishing in X:XX. It's also a great excuse to get to a scenic corner of Maryland. If you're looking to improve your bike and run, that course will either motivate you to get stronger or scare you off. Hopefully the former!
As far as the Half-Full goes, it's not the exact same course as Columbia, but it covers much of the same ground. Rolling hills that you can preview during the Brick-nic, or just take an afternoon and drive the course. (Use visiting the LL Bean store at the mall as an excuse.)
I raced Diamondman up in Bear, DE, last year. It is put on my Piranha Sports and scheduled for 9/12 this year. I may race it again. The course is flat (excpet the for the bridge that is) and race management is first rate. I am also signed up for the Half Full. The Columbia course is rolling hills both on the bike and run.
I'm signed up for Half Full too. I don't know much about the course or the Columbia area though. I do know that the nearby location is a big plus. And it was easier to get a hotel for that weekend than for Eagleman in Cambridge, Md.
I was also hoping that Lance Armstrong would show up since his foundation is one of the main beneficiaries of the race and Lance has said that he is returning to the world of triathlon this year (in addition to the Tour de France). (He's going to race in Kona in 2011, not this year, so I don't think he would have another big race that month.) But from what I've read, I don't think that's happening.
Maybe if enough people post a request on his Twitter account, he might consider it. I posted such a suggestion a couple months ago but I don't think it had much effect.
If you want a HIM thats reallly late season, myself and my training partner will be headed down to the beach of NC to do the half Beach to Battleship (Wilmington, NC). Its a setupevents race and no, I haven't done it before but I hear good things. Its slated for November 13th I think.
Thanks for all the information!
I'm leaning more toward an easier first race than the Savageman (maybe that will be my goal next year after I've got one under my belt). Unfortunately my job starts picking up in mid to late September, so races that require an extra day or two off to travel to don't work as well (though the pictures of the Westchester Toughman do look beautiful). I'll be looking more into the Diamondman; I'm visiting the in-laws this weekend and time is limited. I'm glad to hear the Patriots Half is also well run. I was a little worried when they used the word "brackish" to describe the James River, but I swam in the Potomac so how much worse could it be?
Lots to think about. Thanks again!
You can also head down with club to the National Championships on 2 Oct to Myrtle Beach. One of the races will be a half ironman. That way your first HIM effort goes towards our bid for a National Championship. We have folks doing our Half Ironman Program who will be competing there. You will have some company.
Also no offense to the Half-Full guys, who we are supporting fully as a club, but it's not a true HIM distance. Therefore, no insult to anyone intended, but I would not note someone as having done a half ironman if they have only done the Half-Full triathlon. It is short of half ironman distance - 70 miles, where a HIM is 70.3 miles. And those .3 miles are from the swim (.9 miles instead of the HIM 1.2 miles), which makes it an important part. Minor, I know, but it's like running 26 miles and saying you did a marathon (instead of marathon distance 26.2 miles). You just...didn't do it.
tough crowd simon with the distance thing.
we could easily get into a thread about the inaccuracies of courses being too long or too short and what constitutes "official" distances. LOL.
as a counter point i would say that the .3 from the swim isn't the thing that would make the half full a non total distance. tri swims are rarely if ever accurate with the moving of bouyes and such, etc. i would be more concerned if the bike course and run course were missing miles, etc. but hey that is because i'm more concerned iwth the biek and run than the swim.
It's still looks like a great race and most folks who know me know I'm a big fan of ColumbiaTri, Vigo, and crew (I'm already doing 2 of their races this year). They are pioneers in our sport.
We all have our opinions and I'm sure there are many in this club that would be willing to round up from 70 to 70.3. I'm just not one of them. This is an opinion, and it's rooted in simple fact - whether it's swim, bike, or run, half-ironman has a specific distance meaning. I am not saying that 70 is not difficult. It is. If you complete it, you have done something awesome. If you do it, you will likely be transformed. You will be a model for others to follow. You will be an inspiration to your friends and family. Yet, if you do a race that is self-proclaimed not half-ironman distance, then very simply, by definition, a person who completes the course has not done a half-ironman distance race. If they have not done any other half-ironman races, then they haven't done a half-ironman. It's simple fact. You may or may not care about that - that's each individual's preference. Just a head's up for consideration.
I've been describing it as a near-HIM. Internally, I'm thinking of it as a HIM (or 99.9% of one) because I'm going to have to train the same for it as I am for Eagleman. (That race will allow me to say that I finished a HIM this year.)
I think it might be better for the race organizers to extend the distance to a regular 70.3 HIM next year. Some people might not sign up for the race if they wouldn't be comfortable in saying that they completed a HIM. The special pricing they had this year may have helped to overcome that issue but if they go to a more standard pricing scheme next year, the 70.0 distance might be a problem.
I don't think the 70.0 distance really helps to sell the message of the charities so I'd like them to go ahead and make it a full 70.3 next year.
I see what you guys are saying, and i agree if they advertise it as a .9 mile swim then obviously its not the full distance of 1.2 miles. so you can't say then "i did a 1.2 miles swim" unless they mismeasured the course and it was really 1.2 miles but advertised as .9 mile then you can say you did the full distance, right?
but what happens when a race advertises 1.2 mile swim but really the swim is measured to be 1.1 or 1.0 miles, in other words its not the distance you signed up for, isn't that just as much of a "not a full Half IM distance" as the .9 mile advertised race? just because a race calls itself "1/2 IM distance" in advertisements doesn't make it so. but this is an entirely differnet debate.
afterall you have people that don't consider "a real" IM disance race unless it has the "m dot logo" associated with it. Then its considered "just" another IM distance race but you aren't a "real" IM athlete at that point. wtf? again this is for a different thread and rant. (joking)
anyway good debate as usual with you guys. looks liek a good day tomorrow for cycling at hains point with the better weather, get that training in.
Definitely one thing we agree on - these are good discussions between people who care about our club and our sport. 10 minute breaks from the real world are the stuff of life, after all.
As to the course measurement issue, it's a good one to bring up. I'm not much of an expert in that area and therefore don't really know what to think of it.
As to the MDot Ironman, etc. discussion (ie you have to do Kona to be a real Ironman), agree that's a related, yet separate discussion. In that matter some of you know I'm more progressive than others - if you want to do 2.4 m swimming at Hains Point pool, do 112 m around Hains Point biking, then run up Rock Creek for 26.2 m, I'll call you an Ironman and ask when you're gonna get your MDot tattoo.
Here's hoping the trails and HP clear up soon.
I wanted to thank everybody again for helping me in making my decision. Since time (and therefore proximity) were important, I narrowed it down to the Williamsburg, VA and Bear, DE races. Both seemed to fit what I wanted, but only one advertised a beer tent! So, I just signed up for the Patriots Half in Williamsburg.
Does that mean that (given my unparalleled [not in a good way] swim and sighting skills) I can revise my resume to read IM++, HIM+, etc? If I did a Half-Full, I can guarantee that I would more than cover the missing .3 mile.....
What would this mean for the IM tattoo? Add shadows for a raised embossed look for IM++?
I post my opinions in a plain manner for all to see. I have an opinion, I'll let you know, and I'll put it out there for people to accept, disagree with, crap on, etc. I know what I know, and I know what I don't know. I don't pretend to know what I don't know. And what I don't know is what you are talking about. Seriously, I have no clue what you are saying. Not one iota. Sorry
Just a failed attempt at humor. Not criticism or a flame -- nor even very meaningful. I regret the confusion.