Monday, January 3, 2011

DeLeon Springs Half Marathon Review

DeLeon Springs Half Marathon Review


On Sunday I participated in the Deleon Springs Half Marathon.  There were approximately 400 runners in the 5K and 13.1 races.  I have to say this was the worse race I have run.  It’s only saving grace was it was cheap $25-30.  Beyond that there is no reason to ever sign up for this race. 

Bonnie and I

The bathroom situation was a total mess.  There was not one portable toilet along the entire race route.  In fact, there was not one portable toilet at the beginning of the race.  The only facilities were what were permanently at the park.  That means there were only 3 toilets and one urinal for ALL the men and 4 toilets for ALL the women.  The lines were a mess.  Many barely made the race start.  If you had to go to the bathroom along the route you were screwed.

The water situation was also a mess.  Only one stop had Gatoraid and you had to ask for it.  How hard and expensive would it have been to buy a tub of powdered Gatoraid at Sams or Costco.?

Most water stations only filled their water cups a quarter to half way.  That would be OK if there were many water stops (which there was not).  It was a hot day and everyone was complaining there was not enough water.  Many stations ran out of water before the end of the race.  When Bonnie asked for more water they said they could not give her more because they were running out. 

Sorry ladies Mr Half TRIing is spoken for!!

To make matters worse some of the water stops were giving out dirty water.  Several runners were complaining (including Bonnie and my friend) that their water cup had dirt in their water.  That is not acceptable.

The aid stations had no food, supplements, bananas, GUs, etc.  Only dirty water and sometimes not even that.

The route was boring as heck.  It was an out and back course on a country road.  There was nothing at all of interesting to look at.  It was not even a very pretty country road.  I started to amuse myself by counting the number of discarded beer and alcohol containers thrown on the side of the road.  There were quite a number of these which may explain the two road memorials for road fatalities.

Imagine this for 13.1 miles. Major snooze fest!

To make matters worse it rained a few hours before the race and the glare on the street was like staring into the sun.  It was ridiculously bright.

When I finished the race there were no water bottles handed out.  Only an orange container of water with Dixie cups.  The post race party and door prizes were started before many of the runners even finished the race.  This was not only rude but you had to be present to win a door prize so many of the winners were still running.  The door prizes consisted of last year’s race t-shirts.  That seems a little cheap to me.  Who the heck wants a 1 year old shirt for a race they did not run.

The race was not chip timed.  It was only gun timed.  There were also no timer clocks during the race (  only at the finish and 1 mile before the finish).  Why would anyone place its only in-race timer at mile 12?  Wouldn’t the halfway point make more sense?

The post race food consisted of water, Gatoraid, Fig Newtons, bananas and pears.  Not impressive at all and there were no volunteers handing them out so supplies were very limited and went fast.

Tiny Medal
The race medal was one of the smallest I have seen.  It was also the generic type that did not have the date on the medal.  You flipped it over and there was a sticker with the year on it.  That way they could order several hundred to save cost and just add a new sticker each year.
The Bling

The grade for this race is an F.  I love small races and understand how they need to save money but this was beyond imagination.  I have attended many other smaller races and they were never this cheap.  Bonnie and  I will never do this race again.

My Results
I finished at 2:25:56.  My results were really poor.  To be honest with you I was tired as heck from lack of sleep, had a pain in my left glute and just did not care because the race sucked.  I also did not have clearance from my doctor to do the bike ride or the race so I was not going to push it.  Shhhh… don’t tell them I was a bad boy.

Half Fanatics
For a small race there was a good number of Half Fanatics.  I ran several miles with Jenna of See Jenna Run (#272).  She was a wonderful person and I hope I did not talk her ear off.  She reviewed the race here

My friend Kitzzy of See Kitzzy Run (#687) was also there.  Chester( #46) and Gerfa Kalb (#45) were there.  Each as over 150 halfs under their belts.  They also have as many full marathons under their belts also.  That is amazing and they are very nice and humble runners.  I love seeing them at races.  Elizabeth #(382) was also there.  She has over 55 halfs under her belt.

Me (394), Elizabeth (382), Chester (46) and Gerfa (45)

Bonnie and My After Party
After the race Bonnie and I went to the Old Sugar Mill Pancake House.  This is great places were you sit in front of a griddle and make your own pancakes, eggs, etc.  It is fun and the food is great and reasonably priced.  It is a treat we only get about once a year.  The restaurant is located in DeLeon Springs Park.

One word.. YUMMY!!
The Old Sugar Mill wheel

A happy pancake and bacon filled Bonnie

Don't even think about touching MY pancakes lady.
There was a long wait for the restaurant so we visited the parks museum and went and saw a 500 year old cypress tree called “Old Methuselah”.  This tree was massive.  The trunk was probably 7-9 feet thick and it was well over 100 ft tall
Old Methuselah
We also went swimming in the springs.  The water was a nice temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit.   It was a refreshing swim and was a nice ice down of our injuries.
The springs

SIDE NOTE: Here is an interesting note about this area.  It used to be one of the nation’s first amusement parks.  They use to have the world’s only water skiing elephant.  Here is a good post about the elephant.


  1. Okay, let me be the first to say, I would pay BIG money to see a water-skiing elephant. ESPECIALLY if said elephant was in a pink tutu. Secondly, the race sounds really bad, a long run by yourself would be more enjoyable. Did the proceeds all go towards designing the logo and the medal? I'd rather forego the medal and have good, clean water! That being said, the area looks quite beautiful and it seems you at least got a great post race meal!

    Congratulations on your race finish, especially with your recent health scare!

  2. @Dash. I would have loved to see the elephant. I updated the post with a link about the elephant. It is on the bottom of the page.


  3. Kevin: It was nice running with you for a bit. I agree about the course. It was boring. I was trying to be positive about it while running. Like it was so boring, it put me into a zen running place. :D Looks like you and Bonnie had a good time after the race. The pancakes were probably worth the trip out of town. :)
    p.s. I'm going to copy that photo from above (with me in it). Hope that's ok!

  4. @Jenna - feel free to use te photo. Hope to see you again in another race. I will be at Gasperilla in Feburary. It's always nice to run with fellow fanatics.


  5. Wow...that sounds bad! But it seems the day got much better!

  6. I would run poorly executed half-marathons for the rest of my life if the day also included a water skiing elephant!
    Your race report made me laugh out loud -- sorry if it wasn't supposed to but man, dirty dixie cups of water? I did a half last year that cost $45, had chip timing, 5 or 6 well-stocked water/Gatorade stops (a few had bananas, I think), actual food at the finish and instead of a t-shirt we got duffel bags with the race logo and year embroidered on it. Inexpensive races don't have to amount to poor quality!

  7. Luckily you had the pancakes to top of the day. Races organized that badly are right up there on my 'things I don't get' list. Running out of water en handing out dirty water...that's just beyond me. Honestly.

  8. I'm with you... cheap local races can be a lot of fun and I don't mind that they have to cut costs. Heck, I know the feeling. But dirty water & no potties?!? Unacceptable!

  9. I'd run a crappy race just for some of those pancakes!! And that swim doesn't look too shabby wither. I have to wonder though, elephants on water skis seems like a bad idea...I mean, how do you even come up with that? ha!

  10. The pancakes made the run seem awesome.


  11. My favorite part of any run, back when that's all I did (no tri stuff) was the breakfast afterwards. Somehow I have gotten away from that.... I need to get that back

  12. You sound like a typical hobby jogger whiner.