New Bedford Half Marathon Race Recap – A PR and Skechers GoRide3 Debut!

In 2009, the New Bedford Half Marathon was my first attempt at the 13.1 distance.  In the weeks leading up to it I was coming off an extremely painful bout of peroneal tendinitis.  Even though I’d run longer than 13 miles in my training up to that point, it was still daunting to think about “racing” it, especially since I had barely done any running in the two weeks leading up to the race.  Knowing nothing about the course and nothing about how to pace myself, I ended up with a 1:43:51, a 7:56 pace.  2014 would be the first time that I’d taken to racing the streets of New Bedford since 2009 and my primary goal for it was to beat that time from 2009, mostly because it would mean that the training I’ve done up until this point has made me stronger than I was in 2009.  Despite not feeling like I was entering the race with a ton of mojo as my training in the last week hasn’t been great, coupled with a sore calf, I did have an outside hope of a PR.

I was very lucky that Rebecca came to the race with me, not just for the moral support, but because it made logistics a heckuva lot easier.  The race wasn’t letting people into the gym where packet pick-up was with backpacks and there was no gear check, which would have meant parking then having to go back to the car and then back to the start to hang out.  These aren’t the biggest problems in the world, but everything that makes life easier before a race makes it that much easier to focus on the race itself.  While picking up my packet, I was fortunate to run into fellow Hub Running Club member, Ginnie, who was also running New Bedford as part of her Boston training program.  Someone nice took a picture of us pre-race.

New Bedford with Ginne Pre-Race

As you can see, the expected weather for the race was pretty darn great.  I hemmed and hawed a lot over how to dress for mid-30s, sunny, with wind, but eventually went with my favorite Brooks racing shorts (green plaid for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, of course), brand-new Greater Boston Running Club singlet, thin Brooks arm-warmers and gloves (not pictured).  I ended up being pretty perfectly dressed, even if I was warm at points where they was no wind and a little cold when it really got blustery.  But what I’m most excited about are the shoes upon my feet, the Skeckers GORun Ride 3, which came to me courtesy of Skechers Performance and will likely be my race day shoe for the Boston Marathon.  I’ll have a lot more to say about the shoes in an upcoming review, but for now, let me say that they are are lightweight, but cushioned and have a really smooth, fast, responsive ride to them.  They are Instamojo are your feet.  And they look fly.

Skechers New Bedford

Oh, I forgot I was wearing 2xu compression sleeves and RunCo socks too!


So, enough talk about clothes, let’s get on to the race!  The course is a loop through the streets of New Bedford.  I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a crowd-heavy race, but there are definitely pockets of support throughout.  What is somewhat amusing is that there are definitely residents who come out more to marvel at the spectacle of people running through the streets than to cheer them on.  It’s a unique race for that reason.  As far as scenery goes, the race varies between running past gas stations, vacant warehouses that speak to the downtrodden modern nature of New Bedford, neighborhood streets, and beautiful coastline.

Course Map


Despite a habit of immediately abandoning my race plans, I still laughed in the face of destiny and came up with one anyway.  I figured a good plan would be to take out the pace at 8:00 miles through the first hills at the beginning of the course then open it up after until the last significant mile at Mile 12.  If you’ve been keeping up on race recaps, you know the likelihood that that actually happened is pretty much nill.  Instead, I went out in 7:38, 7:45, 8:39 and 7:18.  I have a feeling that the mile markers for 3 and 4 weren’t in the right spots, because neither time feels accurate.

While the first couple of miles are flat and good to get your footing in the race, there are some fairly challenging hills that present themselves in quick succession.  Below is an elevation chart I found online for the race.

Elevation Profile


Although I didn’t want to expend all my energy on the hills, I tried to keep my pace up and attack them like I’ve been attacking them in training.  Because I’ve been doing my best to work each hill during training runs, I actually felt fairly comfortable and confident on them in the race setting, especially knowing that I could look forward to some good downhills and flats after them.  It even helped mentally that I was passing people on the hill, not being passed, which kept me from feeling discouraged and slowing down.

Basically, the end of the hills marked the end of the section of the race where you’re running through the more commercial stretch of road and turn into neighborhood streets.  I wish there was a lot to say about this stretch…but there isn’t.  I felt good as the miles ticked off and mostly tried to focus on maintaining my form and forward momentum.  I was actually surprised with each split and they kept pushing me to pursue another quick mile after the previous one.

Where the race really started to get tough was around Mile 10 when the wind started to pick up its intensity and a strong headwind counteracted the otherwise flat terrain.  I actually was counting down the miles not until the finish, but until mile 12, where I knew the last, long hill was waiting for me.  Surprisingly, while the hill was indeed hard, it wasn’t the torture that I expected.  The course finishes with some solid downhill and I even managed a pretty good kick come the final straightaway, knowing a PR was in hand and wanting to get it as low as possible.

Final time: 1:40:54, a 2:29 PR over my Hartford Half Marathon time.  Here’s how it broke down:

Mile Splits


While it might not be the most consistent pace ever recorded, I am happy that there the lows never got too low and the highs never got too high.  I do wonder if I left too much in the tank because I over-built up the final hill, but I don’t think I could have broken 1:40 if I had run a slightly smarter race.  All in all I was really happy with the effort and what it means for my chances at achieving my goal come Patriot’s Day.

Ready for a new tagline?  Here it comes….

Go like never before! #golikeneverbefore (Keep your eyes peeled for my Skechers GoRide 3 review!)



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