Race Review: Highlands Ranch Half marathon

Highlands Ranch Half Marathon/September 2, 2013

This race has a 5k attached to it also and runs for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

The cost:

Before April 16: $75

April 16 – May 30: $85

June 1 – July 15: $95

July 16 – August 29: $105

I got a Rush49 deal so I only paid $65 I think.

It’s run at Daniel’s Park in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.  There were about 650 runners.

Even though it’s September, you have to remember the weather. It was blessed hot, 85*.


Pretty smallest expo.  My husband has a great memory, “there were t’shirts, energy bars and power drinks, couple info tables”.  Other than that, pick up your packet.

When I registered, I registered through Rush49.  Apparently there was something in their communication that said I was supposed to click on something else.  I didn’t.  So they didn’t have my packet.  No worries.  They put it together on the spot and were super nice about it.

The Course:

Starting at Daniel’s Park at 7am (glorious!) it was really a blessing of a start.  But already…warming up.  The course drops 1000ft over the course of the 13 miles except for the last two where it is seriously uphill.

The beginning few miles were on dirt/rock road.  I personally struggle a little with this as I’m always on pavement.  My ankle turns a lot and it’s more “work” to stay on track.  As soon as you get off the dirt/rock…the pavement feels like you’re running on clouds.

I had no issues with the course, ran through Highlands Ranch and it was overall good except the police had a tough time holding traffic back at several spots.  They would gauge how slow you were approaching and let people go and start again.  It had to be a stressful few hours.

The last few miles that were uphill, wow.  They weren’t kidding.  I didn’t really see anyone running at that point.  Kind of disappointing since I was running a fast fun race before that.

The race offered no Gu or energy gels of any sort.  They did have trays of cut up bananas, oranges and bagels.  For the record, bananas in a bin at 85*…not pretty.

They had warm water in tiny dixie cups.  No Gatorade or Powerade at all.  They couldn’t fill the cups of water  fast enough and apparently one aid station ran out of cups and they had to bring them more.  By mile…9?  it was super hot…super uncomfortable.

The Finish:

Up that dreadful hill and around, through crazy traffic and into the Town Center.  Hm.  I found it a little stressful with the traffic but the police did a great job.

At the finish line they hand you your medal.  Then direct you to the after party area quite a distance away where you will find more water in larger dixie cups and more bananas and oranges and bagels.

Also, ice cream sandwiches and chocolate milk.  That was a nice touch for sure.

To sum it up:

I didn’t want to be “that person” that complains about every single thing with a race.  Mostly if I pay, I get a t shirt and a medal I’m good.  Occasionally I’ll mention the t shirt is an awful color but I don’t wear them anyway so it doesn’t affect me.  In this case, I found the lack of water to be disturbing.  I know I’ve mentioned it to several people and I tend to get “the look” but I’ll say it again right here.  For a race that starts at $75 and goes up to $105, I expect decent water stations and at the very least…some sort of Gatorade or Powerade.  The Gu would be a generous perk.  In that heat, people need fluid and electrolytes.

They have billed themselves as a “premier race”.  Show up next year.  I won’t be running this race again until I hear they’ve improved that aspect.  That and the course being a little traffic heavy…they get a 5  or a 6.


4 Responses to Race Review: Highlands Ranch Half marathon

  1. Jessi Hansen

    I ran the race this year (2014) and it is horrendous. No packet pick up or sign up on day of race. The concrete road which is most of the race is horrible on legs, especially on older runners (over 50) who run mostly on trails. No medal after the race, they have to mail them out due to some problem, no goody bags (they claim to be giving us virtual goody bags), no post race food when I got to the end other than ice cream sandwiches (really?), only post race drink was water (only on race drink as well, no Gatorade or anything). This is definitely not a race for beginners, hills very challenging. At least the weather was cool today though! If you are an experienced runner and don’t mind small race with not many perks, go for it.

    • tess conley

      Wow. Sounds like they haven’t improved it!
      I didn’t mention how unfriendly the ice cream sandwiches were or the chocolate milk because I figure most people loved it. But being allergic to chocolate, I found it frustrating. I tried to write a review that wasn’t too “personal”. It would have been great though, if they had provided a few more options.
      I agree, the hills. Wow. With no water and the heat, they kicked my ass.
      I’m so glad the weather cooperated for you!
      BTW…cannot stand the virtual goody bag. Great idea, poor follow through.
      I hope you had a good race anyway! Even if it was a little rough.

  2. Amy

    My 76 year old father just completed this race a few weeks ago, Labor day 2014. You are correct, last year… they had NO water by the time he reached an aid station. This year, they took down the directional safety cones at 10 a.m. and he had no idea where the finish line was, was caught in heavy traffic, and almost got hit by a car! All races should have someone on a bike or sag wagon following the last racer in. My dad finished last. I’m just glad my sister, who was also running, came back onto the course and found him to guide him in.
    They, and I, will never ever give our money to this event again. Ridiculously over-priced and poorly managed/directed. I’m spreading the word!!

    • tess conley

      Oh man Amy. That sounds awful. I’d be so angry. I was really hoping this race would be changed a little this year. That they would figure out what they did wrong and fix it. I think the race has great potential but I am partial to the Daniel’s Park at 7am thing. Man that was pretty. But I wouldn’t want to run in that heat or up those last two miles again for anything. I was kind in that review. That race was miserable.

      I’m so sorry your dad has such a horrible experience. Hopefully enough people make a point of reviewing for them that they learn. And I’m glad your dad is ok! A little kickass if you ask me. Running a half marathon at 76 years old. That’s my dream.

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