Race #485 -- Run Sunset Beach Half Marathon -- Sunset Beach, NC -- 03/27/2021

All righty then! My first half marathon in a year and a half turned out to be a personal success for me. I entered 2021 determined to do my best to return back to running and racing, and for much of January I was bogged down at around 11- to 12-minute miles. When I signed up for this race I thought a realistic goal would be around 2:10. Of course that would be the end of my streak of 113 half marathons in a row under 2 hours, but that's a streak that will almost surely end this year anyway, regardless of how this race turned out. For the past few weeks my running has been improving, thanks in part to more consistent running and also due to the fact that I've lost 17 pounds since January 1st. I was actually around 30 pounds over my ideal racing weight at the beginning of the year so I've still got work to do on the weight, but I'm definitely feeling better.

My Garmin measured the distance at 13.23 miles at a time of 1:56:17 for a pace of 8:47, and I started my watch as I crossed the starting line. Unfortunately, the "official" race results gave only the gun time and not the chip time, and since it took a couple minutes to cross the starting line my time is listed as 1:58:08 at a pace of 9:01. I also had Strava active on my phone during the race and it was a few seconds different since they weren't synchronized perfectly but in line with my Garmin. I'm hoping that the results will eventually be changed to include chip time but I'm not holding my breath.

We stayed in our Roadtrek camper van at Myrtle Beach State Park on the night before the race so we had about a 50-mile drive on race morning. Linda complained about leaving so early (around 4:00) but it's a good thing we did. We were one of the first to park at one of the nearby lots but within about 15 minutes it was completely full. 

I went to the starting line to meet my friend Kenny, whose wife was running the 5k that started 30 minutes before the half marathon. There was a huge crowd and I never did find Kenny but instead saw and talked to a couple of other running friends. It probably took 15 minutes or so for all of the 5k runners to pass through the narrow chute that was meant to keep people socially distanced (it didn't work) and after the 5k folks left the half marathoners started lining up. There's no way you could have socially distanced all those runners but everyone I could see was wearing a mask right up until they crossed the starting line. The wait for the start would have been pleasant if not for millions of no-see-ums, little blood-sucking critters that had the smorgasbord of their lifetime. I don't think anybody escaped being bitten dozens of times and the wait for the start of the race was a complete swatfest.

I took this photo while standing in the starting line. You can see several people swatting the no-see-ums.

Mercifully, once the race was underway the no-see-ums were quickly forgotten as we trekked up the bridge that crosses the Intercoastal Waterway. I tried my best to hang with my plan of running 70 seconds then doing a 20-second slow jog, but going up the bridge I ended up walking for a couple of those 20-second intervals. No problem though, and coming down the bridge I was able to get into more of a rhythm for the 70:20 as I had planned. Throughout the race I tried to stick with the slow jog interval, but if I was really tired I just walked instead, not worrying too much about how it would affect my time. If you look at my splits you'll see that for the first half of the race my miles were in the 8:xx range, then in the second half I slowed down into the 9:xx range. I fully expected that since I hadn't run more than 10 miles for a year and a half. I knew ahead of time that my overall pace needed to be faster than about 9:05 and as I ran the first half of the race I felt I would have enough gas in the tank to finish in under 2 hours. So I did meet my goal and finish in under 2 hours, and I'm happy about that, but in some ways I think I'll be relieved when the streak is over and I can just relax and run at whatever speed I'm running at the time and be happy that I'm still active. According to olyrun.com the average half marathon time for my age group is 2:43:01, so maybe that'll be my eventual time to beat and still feel good about myself.

Race Name: Run Sunset Beach Half Marathon

Location:  Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Date:  March 27, 2021

Race Rating:  108

Top 10 Overall:

Course and My Mile Splits:


Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

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My Stats:
(Note: I'm posting the "official" results, which are wrong. I'm hoping they'll be adjusted but I'm not sure how likely that will be.)

  • Time: 1:58:08 
  • Pace:  9:01
  • Age Group: 1 of 8  
  • Overall:  157 of 617
  • Average Heart Rate:  154
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  161
  • Age Grade Percentage:  67.65%





3 - Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)

2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]

1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good

5 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic

1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out

2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good

8 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!

2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes

2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes

1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no


2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!

0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes


2 - Posted online within 24 hours:  (0)no  (2)yes

1 - Easy to find results:  (0)no  (1)yes


2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)

5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)

0 - 14 and under group (1)

1 - 65+ group (1)

1 - 70+ group (1)

2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none; (1) first only; (2)top 3 or better

2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes

0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes

0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes


5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)

5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals


5 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)

5 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes

2 - Finisher times posted after race (online):  (0)no  (2)yes


2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

1 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful


2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes

3 - Design: (1-5)

2 - Material Quality: (1-3)

x - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

Note: T-shirts were $20 extra! That's a bit much so no extra points for that.


0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes

5 - Prices: (1)expensive  (3)reasonable  (5)cheap or free

10 - Free Photographs (Facebook, newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (1-10)yes 


2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no


0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes

2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent

2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

2 - Kids Fun Run (1-mile Run): (0)no   (2)yes

x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  108


  1. congrats and thank you! love to read these and brings some sense of normalcy to read race recaps.


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