The WMNRUN Hilton Head Island Half Marathon is on a gorgeous island, the race never leaves the beach and it’s a blast of a run. It’s also a Women Only run. Please note that I ran this race and I’m not a woman. Understandably, I got a bit of friendly grief along the way, all in good fun and all well deserved. All that said, if this race was closer to my home I would ABSOLUTELY run it again. This is a great race with great hosts in a great location and it was a lot of fun.
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. Ran on 2/29/2020. State #30!
- WMNRUN Hilton Head Island Half Marathon – South Carolina, this one! Ran on 3/1/2020. State #31!
It’s Women Only
About 5:00 p.m. the day before the WMNRUN I sat down at my computer to confirm the details of the race. It’s common for me to double check everything from the start time, parking, race route, the basics, etc. This double check experience was DIFFERENT than ALL the rest. When I checked on things I stumbled on this little GEM below. So as NOT to misquote it, here it is direct from the website.
Women Only – the WMNRUN races are designed with the female athlete at heart. Envision bonding experiences with other women athletes while celebrating fitness in a most beautiful environment. Then, partying with drinks, food, music, and yoga.
Okay, hard stop. What? I can only describe my reaction as pure shock mixed with complete hysterics (a bit more shock honestly). I told my wife Amy about this and she laughed continuously for a minute. Then she looked up the website herself and laughed again. Great. My brother in law and sister in law got involved too ….. more laughter, and colorful text messages.
I thought and thought about what to do. I even checked my registration to make sure I didn’t mess that up. However, upon checking, I registered as a MAN (phew!). Next, I considered not going, twice. Finally, cooler heads prevailed and I decided that it would be wildly uncomfortable, which it was, BUT that it would be a funny worthwhile life experience, which it was.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable (pre-race)
At 6:00 a.m. on the day of the race (Sunday) I showed up to the registration area to pick up my packet and explained everything to the nice lady there. Fortunately she was very kind. That’s where things got a bit uncomfortable. The stares and double takes were nonstop. Additionally, there were plenty of whispers about there being only 6 men registered (there were 10 thank you). I corrected 2 or so folks purely from a defensive “I’m not the only one!” position. These were my two favorite two quotes from women at the event.
“Oh look! It’s a man!”
~ WMNRUN Race Goer with her finger pointed directly at me.
“I think you have a good chance at winning your bracket.”
~ WMNRUN Race Goer with a huge “you jackass” smile.
Fortunately, once the race got started I think people (sorry, women) forgot all about the everyone else and began to focus on the task at hand, RUNNING!
This race reminded me a LOT of the Surfing Madonna Run in Encinitas, CA. On the beach, never leaving the sand the WHOLE time. The weather was cool to start but much warmer than the previous day in Ellerbe. As a result, I didn’t wear gloves which I regretted not having for the first few miles, no long pants and no beanie.
The race started on the soft sand right in front of the Beach House Resort, through the starting gates and on to the hard pack sand. They timed a low tide just like the Surfing Madonna. And, from there? It’s all about looping around the the course twice for us half marathon folks. After a day running the hills in Ellerbe, this fully flat, warm course was VERY welcome.
Just like every other race I’ve ever run, the other racers were super supportive of one another, the race crew was awesome and cheers to that one MAN who beat me. He smiled at me every single time we passed each other. I’m not totally sure if he was laughing at the fact we were really the only two men running out there (I only saw 1 other man running) or if he was just happy. Either way, it made me smile back.
Great race, thanks so much for having me and being gracious of the idiot who signed up for the Women Only Race.