Race Recap: Hershey Half Marathon

If Willy Wonka had a Half Marathon for his Chocolate Factory, this would be it!!

...with all condescending remarks aside, of course.

On Saturday afternoon, Peter and I drove an hour and a half to Hershey, PA. The Hershey Half Marathon was having an early bird packet pick up and I knew the goodies included were going to be awesome.

I absolutely LOVE the personalized bibs!

All great things for my marathon this Saturday!
Not only did they include free snacks, a free cookie coupon at the Hershey Chocolate Factory, and running supplements, but they also included two free tickets to Hershey Park in the Dark. During the month of October, Hershey Park re-opens their gates for a Halloween themed night, where children and adults can come decked out in their Halloween costumes and enjoy the many rides they have available.

Peter and I did not dress up, but we did take advantage of the free park passes. We rode a few roller coasters, the Farris Wheel, and also made a trip to ZooAmerica to see the animals.

However, the weather was a slight letdown. Because it rained for most of our day, we left after riding just a few rides. But Red Robin and drinks at the hotel totally made up for it. :)

The next morning, we had to leave pretty early to make it to Hershey Park before 7am. It was a freezing 41 degrees and I was dressed in only my Under Armour shorts & tee and my pair of orange Pro Compression socks (which I was complimented on during the race :o] ). I figured I would get pretty heated through out the 13.1 journey and wanted to be well prepared, even if it meant freezing my butt off just before the 7:30 start time.

I was right. As we circled around the parking lot and Giant Center for the first few miles, my frozen hands and feet finally began to warm up. Thankfully, it was right before entering the park because I wanted nothing more but to fully enjoy that experience.

Credit: Hershey Park's Facebook, I am the one in black giving the peace sign
I cannot describe the feeling I get when I come running through this section of the race. I felt the same way earlier this year when I participated in the Hershey 10k. It is an absolute rush! Some of the rides are running while you journey through. Last time, the Farris Wheel was going, as well as some of the coasters. This time, they had more of the carnival rides on display. I would have spent the entire 13.1 in there and ran laps if I could have.

The first half of the race flew by. Before you knew it, you were approaching the point where relay runners were switching off and you had the opportunity to smile for the camera.

Freckles for President!
I was right on pace for a PR too.

The course was hilly, but I think Freedom's Run's alternate route had more intensity. It made this course a piece of cake. It also helped having spectators at every turn, cheering you on. Some held their hands out to give high-fives and I took advantage of it every time. Their presence helped me speed up with every mile.

I managed to maintain a pace in the 8 minute range, but with much less ease once I reached mile 10. Lucky for me, Peter made a surprise appearance at mile 12. You can see the genuine excitement/surprise when I saw my fiance below.

It really helped me pick up speed and keep going strong.

During the last half mile, spectators were lined up on either side of you, roaring. There was so much energy, it was contagious. You could not help but pick up the pace. I took that energy and sprinted to the finish line within Hershey Park's stadium.

Gotta love the look of exhaustion!
My finish time was 1:53:16, more than a minute better than what I got in the Mad Anthony Half! A PR!

I was tickled and the medal I received only added to the happiness! How many people get Twizzlers on their finisher's medal?

Overall, I finished in 837th place out of 4755 participants. I was 124th out of 925 runners aged 25-34. Out of the 2483 females, I placed 294.

I give this race an 11! I was so satisfied with how they treat you here! Free park admission for 2, free snacks, awesome race swag, and a course that leaves you begging for more! I only wish that I could do it next year (wedding kinda takes importance over this in 2014). I recommend all runners to participate in either the 10k or the Half next year. It will be well-worth it!

What is your favorite race to run in?

Did any of you participate in the Hershey Half, or have you done so in the past?

What is the best medal you have ever received?


  1. I want to run this half one day so I'm glad you rated it so high! Who wouldn't love a run that is centered around chocolate?? :) Congrats on the PR

    1. Thanks! They really make it worth it to participate in this run! And I recommend the half over the 10k just for the free park tickets (but they give you discounts when you do the 10k). They have plenty of hotels nearby that are decently priced, as well. Like I said, I would do it next year if I wasn't getting married that October. Though, I will be back in 2015, I'm sure!


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