1. Weather. I've been doing 5 am long runs all summer to beat the heat, so this was very welcome on race day:
2. Same day packet pick up. It's not easy to get to Bismarck, North Dakota. My flight arrived at 10pm the night prior, so I appreciated this option. They didn't charge for it, either (looking at you with angry eyes, Myrtle Beach).
4. Race includes a relay. This is great for a few reasons: 1. creates the feeling of a larger field, so you're never lonely on the course 2. relay runners with fresh legs are good pacers 3. more participants mean more spectators, like this handsome 4 legged fella:
6. Flat, fast course. I was hoping for sub 4, stretch goal 3:40 (Boston qualifying time for women my age). I earned a 3:30 and 2nd female overall!