My friends and I picked the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon as our Mississippi race in part because I was super excited about the fact that the race was on Leap Day! Actually… that may have been like 80% of the reason I wanted to run it. February 29th, y’all! How cool is that?!
Well, it would’ve been super duper cool if the stupid medal actually had the race date on it. And, ya know, if the medal had said “half” marathon instead of “Mississippi Blues Marathon” with “half” stamped into the back…
I am grumpy about this race, y’all. And shall endeavor to write something that isn’t a full on rant about the generally crumby experience we had in Jackson. But my overall point: pick a different Mississippi race if you’re just trying to check it off your list. I hear that Gulfport is actually pretty nice.
Basically, I learned some lessons on this race. First, to do more research. We got a hotel room near the start/in the downtown area and didn’t rent a car. Both of these were big mistakes in Jackson. It is not a pedestrian-friendly city. Nor is there much of anything going on downtown… ever. But especially not after 5:00 pm or on the weekends.
So! Get an Airbnb and a rental car, and you’ll already be having a trip that was 70% better than ours! The highlight of the trip was our first night in town when we caught a Lyft to Fine & Dandy and opted to split three milkshakes between the two of us… the Captain Crunch milkshake is definitely on the top of my all-time-best milkshakes list.
Other than getting an Airbnb and a rental car, my primary tip is do not, I repeat do not run the full marathon. Not only is the full course a second loop of the half course… THEY MAKE YOU CROSS THE FINISH LINE. TWICE. I cannot fathom how demoralizing this would have been. I do have an inkling of how angry it would have made me, though, since I’m still mad about it, and I was only running the half!
I’m grateful that my dear friend who met me in Jackson was equally willing to spend the weekend being snarky about the experience. Because y’all, nobody, I mean nobody could tell us what there was to do in Jackson. Not even the ladies at the tourism booth at the expo! They just pointed us to the magazine. And don’t get me started on the Lyft drivers… two of whom spent most of the ride warning us how dangerous Jackson is. Dear lord.
It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around the fact that this race was just around two months ago (still kind of a long time between racing and writing, but this pandemic has made time feel totally out of whack). I’m trying to take this opportunity to get back into the swing of blogging, and this race is one of the things I got up to before the world went into lockdown. So, I’m writing about it before moving on to some reflections on what it’s been like to have all my spring races canceled on me, and how I’ve resorted to virtual races to keep myself motivated…
Overall Assessment: Don’t Recommend. Not at all.
Time of Year: end of February (2/29/2020)
Start Time: 7:00 am
Temperature: 36° at start, maybe in the mid 40s at finish.
Size of Field: around 800
Elevation Gain: 570 ft (according to Strava)
- um… it’s cheap?
- cool date in 2020?
- people were nice, I guess…
- obnoxious yellow shirt.
- medal didn’t have the date or the correct distance.
- Jackson is kind of dismal.
- tiny expo.
- I dunno, y’all. Just don’t do it.