Monday, June 9, 2014

Carnivore Classic Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, June 8
Keenesburg, CO
Half Marathon #108
Colorado Half - #44
Weather - Overcast and chilly at the start, warm and sunny at the finish

I can't even recall where or how we heard of this race since it wasn't really advertised. The price tag seemed a bit steep, but who can resist a race called the "Carnivore Classic." Our entry fee also included entry into the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The race was about 40 minutes east of Denver and my dad agreed to bring the kids out for the finish so we could check out the Sanctuary.

We left the house just after 5:30, arriving with no problem around 6:15 and there were already a lot of people there. The event was inaugural, with the exception of the 5k, which was running for the second year. I am always leery about new events. There wasn't too much information regarding the course or aid stations, so I planned on wearing my belt and had brought enough gels for the day.

I will say that I was impressed with the grandiose of the start/finish area. The race was not going to be huge by any means, but they really went all out.

We checked in and got our bibs and shirts, and noticed our medal was already in the bag. We also got our wristbands to gain access into the park after the race. With nothing to do we cycled through the bathroom lines a few times. We were surprised when we headed to the start line for our 7 am start to find out the half actually was starting 10 minutes later, after the 10k. So, of course, we went to the bathroom. Again.

We had lucked out with some cooler weather and overcast skies. I just hoped it would last as we were seriously in the middle of nowhere and there was NO shade.

The gun went off at 7:10 and we headed out, immediately with a gradual uphill. I kept thinking to myself, if it is uphill NOW, that means that it will be downhill later. My legs were tight and I wanted to walk but I pushed through that until I warmed up and things got better. The first aid station was at mile 1.5. We headed up a hill for the half course and the 10k turned left. We ran the entire course on dirt country roads and I think I only saw one car the entire time. It was never crowded, and since we were in the middle of nowhere, I could always see people in front of me.

This is what the course looked like. For 13.1 miles.
I was really happy to find out that there were aid stations every mile. They had small cups of water and Gatorade at every stop, and at least 3-4 of the aid stations also had gels, both Powerade and GU, depending on the stop. The course was very clearly marked, although again, we were in the middle of nowhere, so it would have been tough to get lost.

After my legs loosened up, I was feeling pretty good. By the time I hit mile 3, I actually was pacing a bit faster and I started passing people. The weather was still holding up, and now it was just a matter of time before I crashed.

The miles ticked by and I was still feel really good when we hit mile 8. Then... the clouds broke and the sun came out. I got real hot, real quick. And even though we were on our way back, IT WAS NOT DOWNHILL. There was a shocking number of hills in between miles 9 and 10. I ran up most of them, but by the time I got to about mile 9.7, I CRASHED. I was sad to have made it that far without my brain breaking, but I was struggling with the heat and the hills. I took quite a few walk breaks over the next mile or so. Once I saw the mile 11 marker, I reset my brain. I had a goal to beat this woman that had been run/walking for most of the race. I did really well until I hit this hill at mile 12:

No, really, the mile marker was in the middle of the hill, by the time I took this, I was probably 2/3 of the way up. Gross. I finally saw the fenced area and knew I was close and gave it everything I got. I had less than a tenth of a mile to go, and I saw a woman coming up on the side of me. I gave it everything I had and sprinted in to the finish. According to the results, we have the same gun time, but she beat me by a few second on chip time. Oh wells.

Is that a photo finish or what??
Bib #163
Official Time - 2:17:42
6.55 mile Split - 1:07:37
Official Pace - 10:30
Overall Place - 40/72
Gender Place - 24/48
Division Place - 1/5 (WHAT)
Garmin Time - 2:17:48
Garmin Distance - 13.13 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:30
Mile 1 - 10:24
Mile 2 - 10:39
Mile 3 - 10:32
Mile 4 - 9:59
Mile 5 - 10:20
Mile 6 - 10:26
Mile 7 - 10:10
Mile 8 - 10:03
Mile 9 - 10:15
Mile 10 - 11:55 (yep, died here)
Mile 11 - 11:18
Mile 12 - 10:09
Mile 13 - 10:32
Mile 13.13 - 8:27

I saw A and my dad right away, and we got our picture taken by another one of the inflatable animals before heading over to the food spread.

The kids wanted their picture there too, of course:

The finish line spread was impressive. They had beer:

They had Dickey's BBQ (chicken, pork, sausage) with cole slaw, potato salad and corn bread. A giant spread of fruit (pineapple, grapes, melons, etc) and TONS to drink. Sodas, milk, juice. They also had a band playing. So while we were eating and hanging out with my dad, they were doing the awards for the 10k. They said they weren't doing the awards for the half marathon until 1:30. Not that we cared, no way we were getting anything. My dad headed out and we went to the results tent for our official finishing times. I glanced at mine, then headed to the car to put on sunscreen, grab jackets and head to the "tram" to take us to the Wild Animal Sanctuary.

We are almost to the tram at the very far end of the parking lot, and we hear that they are doing awards for the half marathon earlier than planned. Then we hear L's name for 2nd place in her AG. So we run back to the podium area and then I hear MY name called for 1st place in the old lady AG. WHAT WHAT WHAT. Turns out, that it WAS printed on my results sheet and I glazed over it.

In absolute shock!
With all the running stuff out of the way, we headed over to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The entry for the kids was only $7.50 and we headed in for the one mile walk on a bridge over the Sanctuary. A enjoyed being our tour guide and telling us all about the animals.

It's really too much to type here, but what a cool place this was. We ended up spending about two hours there, and left only when the weather turned poor (high winds and rain) and, by now, we were REALLY hungry after our race.

  • WOW. I've run well over 100 distance races, and I rarely am left with a race where I have nothing bad to say.
  • TONS of volunteers - both from the Sanctuary and from local race organization 3W that assisted with the timing, set up and tear down, and aid stations. They were friendly and helpful.
  • Well stocked and frequent aid stations. Even though the weather was unseasonably cool in the early portion of the race, it heated up quickly and it was great to have so many stops.
  • Chip timing and official timing on the course for additional splits.
  • Markers at every mile, and they were dead on.
  • Awesome finisher spread of food and drinks. There were also local vendors and a live band.
  • Results and photographs up same day. I had something like 25-30 pictures on my "page" - which is weird since I don't recall seeing photographers. The price tag is reasonable, only $5.95 a picture.
  • The $79 price tag was a bit steep, but after visiting the Sanctuary and knowing our entry would have been $15, the race is very reasonable and again, the Sanctuary is amazing and worth a trip/donation. If interested in making a donation, you can do so here.
  • If you have a chance to run this one, do. Take a few hours after the race to visit the animals afterwards. 
  • I have NOTHING bad to say about this event. If TWAS can put on this fantastic of an inaugural event, I can't wait to see how they can grow this event in the future. Awesome.


  1. That really looks like a super fun event, and for ME, $79 is super reasonable (SoCal is so $$$$).

    Congratulations on your AG WIN!

  2. Okay, this is one of my favorite race reports you've ever done. That sounds like a blast! I love the pictures. And HUGE congrats on winning your division!

  3. Jeeez, I wish I lived in CO so I could do races every weekend. Nice review and it looks like a lot of fun!

  4. Sounds like fun - and they really did go all-out for the finish line! Love the inflatable animals! Congrats on the win!

  5. I need to get running some more 13.1's. It's been too long. I'm not a fan of running on gravel though, ran one half on gravel and wanted to slit my wrists.

  6. Agree with Cory, this was one of my fav's, but then again I love all of your reports! Great job ... yet again, and on the 1st place!

  7. Congrats on 1st place in your AG!!! That is awesome!!

  8. Looks like a beautiful place to run. Congrats on winning your age group and getting a great photo finish! Sounds like they did a great job with the race. It is always nice when you know your entry money is going towards a good cause.

  9. That is a lot of dirt, lol. Great swag. I love when races have actual food and beer at the end. So much better than a banana.

  10. sounds like a perfect race! good food,organized, pictures,placing,stuff for kids. love it! congrats!


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