The Ellerbe Half Marathon is a beautiful out and back race up and through the rolling hills and forests of North Carolina. There wasn’t a flat spot on the race course. It was absolutely challenging but it was beautiful at the same time. Ellerbe, NC is a great little town and the race was well organized. I’m glad that this race is is part of my charge towards 50 States.
The Carolinas Back 2 Back
Why not do both states back to back on the same weekend. Fortunately it worked out with 500 miles of driving, a whole lot of flying and some race running mixed in for good measure. Here are the two races.
- Ellerbe Half Marathon – North Carolina, this one! Ran on 2/29/2020. State #30!
- WMNRUN Hilton Head Island Half Marathon – South Carolina. Ran on 3/1/2020. State #31!
Pain & Gain
I started these races on the heels of being sick for 2 straight weeks with a hacking, nagging cough. So, there was no training, poor sleep and pretty terrible nutrition leading up to this weekend. Why not hop several cross country flights in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak to run in the freezing cold.
The flight out wasn’t too bad and fortunately I got a good night sleep Friday before this race. But, there were two things that I didn’t plan for. First, the course was one big hill and the temperature at race start was 30 degrees (it was forecast at 24 so I got lucky). Second, I ate a TON of cheap peanut butter on a stale bagel for my pre-race meal. The result? Hacking up a ton of junk and nearly vomiting for the first four miles of the race.
Pain – LOTS, and it was pretty much full body. Gain – One state completed. I’ll take it. 🙂
Eller Bee? Small Town Vibe
Ellerbe is a seriously backcountry cute little town with lots of nice people. The race packet pickup was at the (appropriately named) Ellerbe Springs Inn & Restaurant. The packets were handed out right out of the back of the truck in the parking lot. After grabbing my packet I asked the race director what was good to eat around here and he pointed at the restaurant 20 feet to the right and said, “They’re my sponsors if you want to check them out.” So I did!
A patty melt and a salad with almost no lettuce later and I was off to the hotel. While I was waiting for my food I checked out the little inn and snapped a few pics. A nice hotel guest informed me that if I wanted to check in, the owner was in the restaurant eating (the one I just left).
The race was described to me as an “out and back keyhole”. If you look at it, it does kind of look like an old school keyhole. What the nice gentleman failed to mention is that its hilly from start to finish. Lots of walking on this one but fortunately there was a LOT of eye candy. Forests and farms as far as the eye could see. And, there was endless logging going on. And replanting. By the end of the trip I could tell where they had logged and replanted.
Ellerbe is a killer little town an hour southeast of Charlotte. I don’t foresee going back but if I happen to pass through, I’m certain I’ll enjoy it.