I raced the Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon in Duluth, Minnesotta this past Saturday. I have always heard it was great course, and now can officially say, “It is!” It is a unique point to point course that starts either 26.2 mile outside of town or 13.1 depending on your chosen poison and rolls along nicely with Lake Superior on your left. My poison, this saturday morning was thankfully the half marathon, and though it is usually very scenic, it was pretty foggy and cold this Saturday morning. From what I heard from the locals is that the fog works to your advantage, otherwise you see the huge lift bridge from about 8 miles out and get pretty frustrated that you don’t seem to be getting closer. No matter, the crowds were great, and I would definitely add this to your bucket list of great midwestern races.
We started early at 6:15 am( 4:15 my time-ouch), and it was nice to finally start a race with some men around. We had a nice little pack of about 8 and the early miles were in the 5:20’s and seemed to go by quickly. Two Kenyans pulled ahead and I was banging away with some men and American Dot McMahan and Sarah Crouch for much of the race. Halfs are funny. You just can’t let up for a minute or you lose so much time. Dot eventually pulled ahead, and Sarah and I yo yoed back and for the the final 3 miles. It was certainly fun to really race again. Though my plan was to walk away with a big PR, I was close in 1:12.03 at exactly 5:30 pace. I certainly can’t complain at the end of the day. I finished 4th overall and felt really strong at the end. I called my Coach shortly after, and he reminded me that it was a really solid time, and I had gotten well under the Olympic Marathon qualifying standard for the 2016 Trials. So, I got that going for me! Onward and upward. Next stop Peachtree.