Race Report: Team RWB Freedom 4 Mile Beach Run 2017

This beach race sponsored by Halifax Health benefits Team RWB, a military veteran support group. The run was full of folks dressed in patriotic gear and included a few in over-the-top costumes as well. The Team RWB Freedom 4 Mile Beach Run is a four mile out-and-back on the beach in New Smyrna Beach.

Goals
I don't particularly like running off-road so my main goal was to finish uninjured.

Race Day: July 1, 2017
I didn't have a chance to get my packet before the race. Pre-race info indicated parking might be tricky so I left home very early to snag a parking place in the lot close to the starting line. I got a great spot in the main lot and picked up my shirt and bib with plenty of time to spare for the restroom and oogling at the pretty sunrise over the ocean.

In line for the restroom I recognized a birding acquaintance I hadn't seen for a long time. We chatted before the race and ended up running a bit together before my run-walk-run intervals split us up.

After the playing of the national anthem, a squadron of three small planes passed over the beach in formation to kick off the run.

It was 77F° at the start with partly cloudy skies and 94% humidity. The ocean gave us no breeze to speak of.

Mile 1: 10:26
The start/finish mat was in soft sand far up the beach. After crossing the mat runners headed for the hard packed sand closer to the shoreline. It was a long straight out-and-back run.

Mile 2: 10:40
My run club, West Volusia Runners, manned the water station after Mile 1 so I got a nice ego boost from the shout-outs. It was hot so the water was pretty good too.

Mile 3: 10:28
Another water stop at the turn around. I was sweating buckets.

Mile 4: 10:48
I tried to save some gas for a "sprint" at the finish but it was a slow slog back through the soft sand to the finish mat. My pace actually slowed at the end as I wobbled along trying not to twist an ankle or fall on my face.

After Party
Finishers were offered a nice spread of bagels and cream cheese provided by Panera. Slices of orange and half bananas were also offered. I picked up my medal and an ice cold towel and headed right to my car to change into sandals and grab a dry towel to sop up some of my sweat. I headed back to the finish line to watch other runners complete the run. There was a nice atmosphere at the finish area and I stuck around to watch most of the awards and see the last runners cross the line.

Recommendation
This race had good course support and benefits a great cause. It was a fun race, welcoming of all paces, with some participants in costume and many in patriotic kits. It's fun to run a holiday race but I'm not sure I'll do this one again, only because I've got no love for running on sand.

Chip time: 43:00:07
Placement details: 5th of 15 in age group, 117th overall out of 280 finishers
Race Amenities: We got a nice tech t-shirt but the sizing was a bit large and I was disappointed I could not trade my medium for a small. We also got a nice finisher medal. Age Group winners received a stainless steel RWB travel mug.
Cost:
$28.50 (used International Run Day discount code & includes $3.50 processing fee)

Report written July 5, 2017
Labelled pro photo (c) Almost There Photography

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