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Waldoboro is a town built on hills. The Waldoboro Day 5K is generally considered one of the hardest 5Ks in the state of Maine. But that doesn't have any of the hard hills. To truly run Waldoboro, you have to run the big hills. Thus begat the Waldoboro Half Marathon: the hardest road half marathon in New England (and, we would argue, the Eastern United States). We think it's one of the hardest in the country and probably has the hardest finish.
We fit as many hills as we could in 13.1 miles without having to cross Route 1.
We've crammed roughly 1,400 feet of elevation into 13.1 miles (and ~550 in the final 3.5 miles) to take you to your limit. There are 7(!) hills with a gradient of at least 10%, including 2 in the final mile. 45% of the course is uphill. It's the perfect tune-up for your fall goal race. We always say that if you can do well in Waldoboro, everywhere else is easy.
If you finish, you get a beer from Odd Alewives Farm Brewery. If you win the whole thing, you get a gift card from Moody's Diner.
Following the lead of our friends at the Millinocket Marathon, we're embracing a DIY ethos for this half. Hence our motto: "No Frills. Just Hills." There's no bands on the course. There's no expo. There may or may not be volunteers along the course. There aren't even any water stations. Let's repeat that:
If you need fluids (you'll need fluids), you need to either carry them yourself, stash them along the course, or station people along the course to hand them to you. If you need Maurten every 2 miles, then you should find someone to do that. We STRONGLY encourage you to game-plan the course and figure out what hydration you'll need and then make that work. Collaborate with your fellow runners. Work together! Having said that, you CAN have people hand you stuff mid-race. If you want to hire a food truck to serve you a burrito at mile 10, you can absolutely do that. Just don't disrupt your fellow runners or park it on someone's lawn. And bring enough for the volunteers.
You don't have people at a folding table handing you paper cups during your weekly long run. We're confident you can adapt.
This is partly to protect you from yourself and to give us peace of mind, but this race has a qualifying standard (like Boston, but easier!). In order to run this, you need to have run a half marathon in 2:15 or less in the last 2 years. This is not so much to keep people out as it is to make sure everyone who starts the race can finish it. This should absolutely not be your first half marathon. We just want to be confident that you'll be ok. We won't have people on the course ready to call a medic.
The complete qualification standards for 2021 are:
If you finished the race in 2019 or 2020, you've automatically qualified. If your race result is for a different distance, don't hesitate to ask!
We do reserve the right to cancel your registration (with a refund, of course) if we can't find evidence you've met the qualification standard.
We're going to ask you to familiarize yourself with the course. Don't burn yourself out by mile 6 (that's probably the easiest one). Pacing will be tricky. We very much recommend you drive the last 4 miles at least once. The last mile will not be fun.
You can find the course here. The course records are, as follows:
M: Robert Gomez - 1:19:17.9
F: Laurie Nicholas - 1:50:20.8
M: Judson Cake - 1:22:16.4
F: Laurie Nicholas - 1:50:20.8
If this is your first year, you get a white bib, pure as new snow.
Once you finish, you graduate to a black bib and lock in your bib number for the following year and beyond. We'll print your black bib for you every year, whether you register or not.
If there's no limit on how many people we can run in 2021, we'll have limited Race Day registration.
In order to register on Race Day, you need to have earned your black bib in a previous year. No black bib? No Race Day registration for you.
We don't do virtual races in Waldoboro.
But, we do have an option where you can run the course in the days before the race. It's perfect if you have other commitments on Race Day or you just don't like being around other people.
No, really. That's what you get. You finish at Odd Alewives Farm Brewery, where they'll be open early to serve you one of their amazing beers. They also have pizza now and trust me, it is awesome.
You also get a finisher's medal and a finisher shirt from Moody's Diner. We give you the shirt at the end. Unlike other races, ff you see someone in one of our shirts, you know they earned it.
Last year, we were one of the very few races in the state that managed to safely happen in-person. Hopefully the pandemic will be over by 2021, but just in case, we're leaving all this here. If there's still a pandemic, we'll bring it back. Until then, we'll leave it down here as a record of what we did.
If you're coming from out of state, be advised that per the Governor's orders, travelers coming into Maine and Maine residents returning to Maine must either receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival or complete a 14-day quarantine.
UPDATE: We are at capacity for our Race Day field that's capped at 30 to stay well under the Governor's orders on outdoor gatherings. If you'd like to race, you can join the waitlist and hope that a spot opens or you can sign up for our Social Distancing Option. We want to be very clear that the Social Distancing Option is NOT a virtual race. There is no virtual race option. You still run the same course, only on your own earlier in the week. The same qualification standards apply. But it will allow you to earn a medal and your black bib for 2021.
As you already know, fall races around the country are struggling with how to adapt to a COVID-19 world. Many of them are canceling their races outright or going to a virtual model.
We are doing neither of those things.
The Waldoboro Half Marathon is a small race that’s both a test of your running ability, but also your ability to keep going. So canceling wasn’t really an option.
We’re also uniquely positioned to handle this, as we were already doing many of the changes larger races are now struggling with.
Anyway, here’s our plan.
Last year, over 10% of our field ran the course on their own schedule, largely because of work commitments. They got all the same swag as the runners who ran it en masse.
It’s simple. If you want to ensure social distancing or you just have to work that day, you can run the race in the days leading up to the event. We’ll give you your medal and bib and all that fun stuff and your results will be in the official results. It’s better than a virtual race, because it’s on the actual course.
There is no virtual option. We’re not giving you a finisher’s medal for the hardest half marathon in New England just for running laps around your driveway.
Water stations are an obvious area of concern for races. The Waldoboro Half Marathon already has a “carry your own water” policy. Last year, we had some water put out by local residents so people could refill their personal water. This year, we’ll be coordinating that and having a couple of stations of single use water bottles that have been disinfected. You can refill your Camelback with that and deposit the empty bottle in a garbage can we’ll provide for recycling.
As always, you’re welcome to stash your own fluids anywhere along the course.
There will be NO race day registration this year. In fact, registration will shut off at least a week prior to race day (or if we hit a certain threshold and it looks like COVID cases are getting worse). At that point, we’ll assemble your packet, put it in a sealed envelope with your name on it, and let it hang out for a week. We’ll do the same for your finisher medal, beer ticket, and anything you’d receive at the finish line. By the time you handle it, anything bad on it will be gone.
In order to qualify for the Waldoboro Half Marathon, you need a qualifying time at a previous race. Since there aren’t any previous races this year, we’re going to let you use a training run from the past year. The qualification standards remain the same. Although, we are going to need to see a GPS recording of it (i.e. Strava). Simply saying you ran a certain distance in a certain time is not sufficient.
If you’re unsure about what you’ve run, don’t hesitate to ask!
Masks are REQUIRED at the start and finish areas. NO EXCEPTIONS. We don’t care what you saw on Facebook. We don’t care what they’re saying on Fox News. We don't care if it's infringing on "your rights". If you’re walking around the start area without a mask on, you will be disqualified and asked to leave. If you make a scene, you will be banned from any of our future races.
We’re also going to ask that you run with a mask, in case you find yourself in a pack or have trouble maintaining social distancing on the course. You’ve got a while to practicing running with one and our friends at BOCO Gear have good ones for sale. You don’t have to run the entire race with it on. Just keep it handy for when you need it.
We’ll be using wave starts, based on what the CDC is telling people on Race Day. That might mean we send 20 people at a time. It might mean we send a person every 30 seconds. We’ll see!
If you’re running with someone from your household, let us know and we’ll make sure you’re in the same wave.
We hope to put all the “contenders” in the same wave so they can run a traditional race, but keep in mind that the winner will be determined by chip time. You'll get your wave start time in advance so you can plan your hydration and any other pre-race needs.
What if you registered for the race and you’ve got some symptoms on Race Day? OMG STAY HOME. Email us and we will gladly either refund your race fee or defer it to 2021.
Trust us, you don’t want to run this course with COVID. It’s hard enough with 100% of your lung function.
Ok, that’s our plan as of now. We’re pretty confident we can put on a fun, safe race for 2020, even in the COVID world. If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, let us know. We reserve the right to amend this prior to race day, as circumstances change. Of course, if that means you're no longer comfortable running the race, we'll gladly either refund your race fee or defer you to 2021.
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