Arriving at the expo for the last half marathon of my summer road trip, my daughter and I were hit with a wave of nostalgia. We had been here when she was young, and the event, staged at the visitors center for Colonial Williamsburg, is centered in a city frozen in time.
The staff was exceedingly friendly and welcoming – giving runners their shirts and bibs – along with complementary attraction tickets included with the registration, and a pair of running socks from Soft Wick, which are wonderful and a personal favorite of mine. The value here was quite stunning, as the combined value of tickets for Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg is over $100, which is more the price paid for race registration.
We stayed at the Historic Powhatan Resort in Williamsburg, less than 15 minutes from the start and finish line. The accomodations and grounds were beautuful, and provided us with two bedrooms, a full kitchen and even a private hot tub.
Parking on race morning was at the same location as the expo, and a short walk to the start line. The Colonial Williamsburg fife and drum corps played as runners gathered around the start line, many wearing their shirts from the 8K the day before – which was part of the Patriots Challenge.
The National Anthem, sung with flawless precision by September Foster, cut through the cool morning air as Flag Bearers prepared to lead the runners.
The course itself was nice, winding through the colonial streets and then down toward Busch Gardens and ending at the College of William and Mary. Runners received there medals and made their way a short distance to the Sunken Gardens, where they were greeted with cold beer and warm BBQ sandwiches. After relaxing and socializing, shuttles took us back to the parking area.
Like many runners, we spent the afternoon at Busch Gardens, riding rollercoasters and enjoying the Food and Wine Festival. This was one time I wished we had a few more days there, and if I go again I will come early, participate in the challenge, and stay an extra day.