This was the 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Marathon and Half Marathon. This is a new race I had seen last year and this years medal as well as hand bottle giveaway with registration intrigued me enough to try this new destination race.
Treasure Coast technically takes place in the small town of Stuart near Jensen Beach, just north of Palm Beach. Last minute, I receive a comp stay at the Eau Palm Beach, so decided to stay there and drive the 50 minutes back and forth. The nicest property closest to Stuart will probably be the Marriott in Hutchinson Island, otherwise you are looking at 2star properties. Local rentals might be a consideration when looking at this destination as well.
The Eau Palm Beach is technically south of Palm Beach in Manalapan. It is set among all the fancy beach mansions with gorgeous aqua blue seaviews. This small intimate property has stellar service and the adult only pool, tiki bar, and sprawling lawn with chair service right above the sand make up for the hours the beach is taken away by high tide.
I was lucky to be put into one of their oceanfront one bedroom suites with separate living area, pull out sofa, 2 doors to the patio, 2 baths, dining table, ginormous soaking tub, amazing rainfall shower, and 2 big screen TVs. The gym and salon have the amazing ocean views as well. If sitting around looking at the water isn't active enough for you, there are several yoga and workout classes throughout the day you can sign up for. Surfing lessons are also available if you want to tackle the waves. The intimate bonfire pit with lush settings calls your name once the sun goes down, or you can even sneak away to swim under the stars in the adult pool which is also illuminated by shimmery stars on the bottom.
Back to the Race...
The Treasure Coast website is informative, but most notably, lacking on specific parking information, which leaves out of towers a bit hesitant. Perhaps a map of the town pointing out suggested spots to park would help ease this.
There is an active Facebook page that seems to mainly be slammed with sponsor advertisements the few days leading into the race, instead of race details and expectations. I did not find this site very helpful for race information, although there were some very friendly runners that gave their opinions to questions posted.
No emails were sent out leading to race day except one just hours before race morning.
The 'expo' was held at a small center called Flagler Place which is waterside located in downtown Stuart. Make sure to make plans to have lunch after picking up your packet as there seemed to be some really neat places to check out.
Unfortunately because there was not an email with reconfirmation/bib numbers, nor a posting of bib numbers to look up, the packet pick up took much longer than it should. Only one person had access to the name list which had the bib numbers, will all the other volunteers just standing there waiting.
There were a handful of vendors who were eagerly awaiting to talk to you, one being a sports store, Fleet Feet, where you could pick up your last minute race supplies if needed.
I tried to find someone in charge, or an 'info booth' to ask questions regarding parking as it was still unclear of where I was going, but unfortunately the volunteers were not much help and no one knew who was in charge. I walked away with the answer 'its a small town, just park anywhere.'
Our Swag bag was slammed pack with goodies from different sponsors.
I do like the design of the shirt which matches the medal, but wish it wasn't white.
Because of my uncertainty of parking, and with the marathon being sold out, I made sure to arrive early. I got a lucky spot of only .2m away from Start. Because it was a cool morning, I waited in the car for the majority of the time.
There were definitely lines for the porta patties at start, but I have seen worse, and I was still able to use them twice and be lined up in plenty of time.
The race utilized a pulse start and corralled you, not by finish time, but just randomly. They assigned your bib number to a letter. Their theory was to have all different paces within one corral to spread everyone out. I was in the Corral C, which also had the Marathon Pacers 430. This threw me way off for at least 3 miles. I have no idea how fast I was running, as I forgot my Garmin, but it had to have been entirely too fast, despite the effort to try to slow down. Fast runners from later corrals would come breeze by for miles which made you feel like you were not putting in enough effort.
This is a circle course with the Start and Finish at the Memorial Park with the majority ran through neighborhoods, over a bridge twice, and a straightaway down a busy street for a couple of miles. The first mile we ran along a cute boardwalk on the river, however, with it being a cool early morning, it was very slippery. They tried to put mats down at the turns, but it definitely slowed you down as you are watching your footing. The neighborhoods have some pretty awesome beach chic houses with some water views in between. The course is oh so close to the beach, but the half course never makes it that far. The first half is packed with magical banyan trees that line the road and sometimes even overhang the entire street! On the 2nd half I was passed by a strong woman who looked to be in her 70s. I smiled as she made me think how I want to be like her one day. Strong, consistent, motivated, and still passing runners half her age! Then shortly after, I looked down and a boy about the age of 7 came trotting along. His dad was just a bit ahead, but man, this little guy was relentless! Never once did I see him stop and walk, or even complain as I asked him a few questions as he passed by. Both people just put me in awe struck on how amazing and vast the community of runners is.
After realizing I forgot my Garmin in the hotel room, I decided to go san technology, no IPod and no Pacers either. I don't know if this was good or bad, but after the first 2 miles, my stomach cramped up for the rest of the course. At a few points, I literally wanted to crawl into a ball on the ground. I'm still not sure what that was all about, as I was fine after I finished. I started off as, its okay to walk as much as I want, this is after all my third race in 4 weeks. Then, it ended up being, I don't care if I walk the rest of the course because its such a lovely Spring day to just take a stroll! I tried to enjoy every moment that I could and take in the moment in the beautiful beach town.
The weather was perfect for a southern Florida destination! 60-70 degrees, clear blue skies and a constant nice breeze that wasn't too strong.
One thing this race is not short on is water, Gatorade, GU chews/gels, wet towels/sponges and eagerly awaiting volunteers!
On the other hand, one thing this new race is short on, is spectators. I literally had to tell a couple of people why we were even running! I think future advertising would make this event better since it is their neighborhoods we run through.
After collecting your medal you are quickly offered everything under the rainbow of what a runner could ask for! Large Gatorade bottles and juice are the first options. Then you find the food tent of Olive Garden, Moes (although I'm quite disappointed on the effort they put into these bitesize burritos), pizza, and a slew of bread and desserts!
You received one ticket for beer, which ended up being a small bottle of Heineken or a small pour of PBR. You also received a ticket for a massage, which the line was too long for me (just a preference, not really that long). There was also a ticket for Terra Ferrara for 2for1 drinks for the After Party concert that evening.
A PR bell was strategically placed right after the Finish to ring with pride (apparently it was broke a few times from overzealous runners!)
A band was playing for entertainment as you waited for the awards ceremony.
I absolutely love the medal! Not only is it the shape of Florida, but has a Sun for the Sunshine State that actually spins and the bridge we just ran. To top it off its a bottle opener as well, but not in an obnoxious kind of way! Great job Treasure Coast!
For this being a new race in a small town, I have to say, they really have their buts in gear! Yes, I was a little freaked out about the noncommunication emails and parking situation, but everything worked out in the long run. The course was good, the support was amazing, the spectators will come as the race ages, and the finish line was awesome. Mark this one on your calendar folks! Add any of the surrounding area of the 'Treasure Coast' and you will be happy for an extended weekend in this beautiful stretch of the Florida coast!