Two weekends ago my mom and I headed to Hampton, VA for the Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon. Hampton, VA is about 3 hours south of Washington, D.C and 40 minutes northwest of Virginia Beach, VA.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was right next to the expo and the start/finish lines (free breakfast included). Saturday packet pickup was open 10am-6pm at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.
Packet pickup was very quick-all you needed was your bib number (emailed ahead of time) and your ID. How cute are the race shirts? (they also had a table for shirt exchanges).
In addition to the race tee, we also received a reusable bag, magnet and had our names printed on the bib (even my corral number):
Adjacent to packet pickup was the expo-it was fairly small, but not surprising given the size of this race (~6,500 half marathon and 5K runners). They had the typical vendors (local running shops, shoes, headbands etc) and also booths to sign up for future J&A races. My mom purchased an additional race long-sleeved tee:
I signed up for the Virginia is for Lovers 14K to take advantage of a processing discount. Look at all the crab-themed decorations at the expo:
Holy humidity! October 5th and temperatures were 80+ degrees.When I stepped outside that morning, I had flashbacks of ING Miami and Ragnar Key West….as Nelly would say, “it was hot in herrreee”.
There were five corrals for the half marathoners, and the 5k runners lined up behind us. I think they spaced each of the corrals 2-3 minutes apart-it was well done, I did not experience any congestion or weaving in/out of runners.
Go! You can see the Hampton Coliseum to your left.
The first 10K felt pretty quick, but there was not much shade and the sun was beating down on us at the onset. I overheat easily (and prone to fainting or light headedness), so I knew this would not be fun. See route below (mostly flat):
My favorite portion of the course was miles 7-9, right along the water.
Hampton is not the “prettiest” town, but there was plenty of neighborhood support. I was particularly impressed by the number of people who were outside their homes cheering on the runners, and thankful for the residents who turned on their sprinklers. The course was well marked and the volunteers did an excellent job with the aid stations and road marshaling.
By the time I completed the half, the heat was unbearable. I saw a few people running towards the trash cans (cue turn away) and others on stretchers. Post race support-wise, there were bananas, water, Gatorade and power bars. The BEST part? Cool wet towels-it was a pleasant surprise. The second best part? Crab corn chowder. They served this inside the convention center, and despite the hot weather the soup was really good (perhaps the sodium replacement?).
In addition to the sweet medal, we received a dry-wick hat as a finishers premium.
Around Hampton and Final Thoughts
There is not much to do in Hampton, VA. My mom and I arrived on Saturday and went downtown for lunch (by the marina), but many of the restaurants were not open. Luckily, Williamsburg is close by and we went to the Premium Outlets to exercise our wallets 🙂
Overall I thought J&A did an excellent job running this event (they cannot control the weather):
- It was well organized and staff/volunteers were friendly
- Pretty inexpensive race fees if you register early $60
- Nice race premiums
- Flat course-although not very scenic
- Family friendly-there is a kids fun run (I think 1 mile)
- Close to MD/DC/VA/NC – good race for a weekend trip
- Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, VA are nearby
I am not sure if I will return to Hampton, VA in the near future but I will definitely sign up for one of J&A’s other races (Shamrock, Virginia is for Lovers, etc.)