Pemberton Half Marathon not my fastest, but still a lot of fun

After the Pemberton Half Marathon, we gathered for a group photo. (Cathy Diekmann photo)

It had been five months since I’d run a half marathon, and that one, I ran as a pacer. But I needed a long run to kick off my marathon training, and of course — I’m a runner — the Pemberton Half Marathon sounded like a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning.

I ran the Pemberton Half Marathon, a race organized by Trent Swanson and attended by members of the Pemberton Running Club, its first two years, but I missed it last year because of another race that weekend. I didn’t want to miss out again.

I headed to Pemberton Historical Park in Salisbury early in the morning on Saturday, Oct. 1, so I could be there by 6:45 a.m. for the 7 a.m. race start. I wore a new pink tech shirt for If Girls Ran the World, since it was also the first day of my monthlong virtual run. (Read more about that here.)

I wore this awesome personalized bib from DiCarlo Digital Copy Center. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I started out knowing my time wouldn’t be anywhere near the 1:50:18 half marathon PR I set at the Pemberton Half Marathon back in 2013. But I was kind of hoping for somewhere around a 2:10 or so. I did the first mile in 9:35, but that didn’t feel easy.

I ran the second mile in 9:58, but I then stopped to fix my hair, because it was falling out and I wasn’t going to deal with that for another 11 miles. At that point, Jose Luis and a runner I just met, Jordan, who were running together, passed me. I caught up to them again, ran with them for a bit and moved in front of them, and then I stopped at a water stop and they passed me.

I had wanted to stay under a 10-minute-mile pace, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen. I didn’t think they would mind me running with them, and I decided to catch up to them and run with them in order to keep myself going. Their splits seemed to be steady, and on such a remote course — when you have less than 20 people running on back roads, you don’t have the camaraderie of the crowds — I figured it would be nice to run with other people, even if we didn’t talk much.

Here I am after finishing the Pemberton Half Marathon with my second-place-female medal. (Cathy Diekmann photo) 

I caught up with them around 5.5 miles in, and ran with them until Mile 10. They definitely helped keep me going, as I know I would have taken a walk break sooner if I hadn’t been running with them.

By Mile 10, my quads were hurting and I knew I had to stop and take a walk break. I told Jose Luis and Jordan to go ahead, and when I hit Miles 10, 11 and 12 on my watch, I walked for a little bit before resuming my run. After my walk break at the Mile 12 marker, I tried to give it what I had, and even with a walk included, that last mile was 10:41 — not too fast, but not as slow as some of the miles had been.

When I came in at the end, Trent and his daughter had a finish line that I got to run through — a rare experience for someone of my pace — and because so many people had already finished, there was a great cheering crowd. I had a good amount of friends take part in this race.

Along with personalized bibs from DiCarlo Digital Copy Center with our names on them, there were trophies for the first place male and female and medals for the second and third place male and female. There were only five female runners, and although I came in 15th of 18 participants, I was the second female and earned a medal that was even personalized to say “Pemberton Half Marathon 2nd Place 2016” on the back.

Oh, and this race was free. Afterward, there were water and different refreshments to enjoy, and there were also three water stops available on the course, which was well-marked.

My final time was 2:19:18. Since my watch logged 13.25 miles, I did look at it at 13.1 and saw 2:17:55.

I want to run the Louisiana Marathon at a faster pace than I did this half marathon — I’m aiming for a PR and less than a 9:50 pace — so I know I’ll have to get to work. This was a great first long run of marathon training, though, and I’m glad I made it out for this fun event with friends.


Mile 1: 9:35

Mile 2: 9:58

Mile 3: 10:37

Mile 4: 10:06

Mile 5: 11:21

Mile 6: 10:05

Mile 7: 10:20

Mile 8: 10:26

Mile 9: 10:35

Mile 10: 10:54

Mile 11: 11:17

Mile 12: 11:01

Mile 13: 10:41

Last part (my watch logged .25): 2:25

Total: 2:19:22/10:31 pace (Official time 2:19:18)

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4 thoughts on “Pemberton Half Marathon not my fastest, but still a lot of fun

  1. Great recap! Getting to break through the finish line tape was a great moment. And I love that everyone hung around to cheer on the runners until the very end.

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