Beach 2 Battleship Race Review

If you're considering Beach2Battleship full or half - don't wait another minute. Sign up and start training.  I've done them both and I have to say that for a non-branded race, this one is well-run, fun and fast.

The swim course is fun and fast. Even this year - when the event started before the tide change, the swim was flat and fun. This year, the swim start will be two hours before high tide and is likely to be speedy. [OMG I can't believe I just looked up the tide chart already.]

The bike course is fast and flat. It's not pancake flat like they brag, but with one major bridge and some rises that look no more like an interstate exit ramp, it's a flat course.

The run course is scenic and challenging. I put this in the great category for the first time. The course directors have shed the two bridges and the Bermuda triangle in the park to make it a fairly direct out and back. There are challenges to keep you on your toes (a run on the riverwalk, cobblestones and some baby hills) but all in all it's a beautiful course with a water view on the river and the lake.
The people, volunteers and race directors.  I cannot say enough about the hosts - Wilmington residents, volunteers at aid stations and the race directors. All are armed with southern hospitality and wit (Jeremy Davis, you are funny).

The woman in charge of race timing. I don't know who she was but she turned what could have been a disappointing mess into a miracle. And, she stayed up until 7:00am the next morning to manually correct 800+ athlete times. 


The warm showers at the end of the swim. After you've climbed out of the water, stripped your wetsuit and run down the dock a little ways, you can run through a shower tent. The water doesn't gush, but it's enough to warm your tootsies and remove all or part of the Banks Channel beard from your chinny chin chin.

Pajama Bottoms: this may not have been a popular finisher gift for the halfers, but for a full distance athlete finishing after dark in the chill of the October night, this was a little slice of heaven.  
I'm Too Sexy for My Pants

Swag: In general, B2B apparel is amazing. In the past two years, they've used WITHOUT LIMITS as their vendor and I have a hard time NOT buying the whole store. I have an entire collection of B2B apparel now including the FINISHER jacket, a long sleeved tee, two technical hoodies and a finisher beanie. The swag in the bag this year was a cotton tee shirt that I gave to hubby (as usual). I kept the aforementioned pajama bottoms.  

There was an alligator on the run course. I'm putting this in the good column because I think it's awesome that an alligator was sunning itself in the street near the run path. It was out in time for the first half ironman runners and I'm sorry I missed it!  It would have made me run FASTER!

Race Timing Glitch. For the first time in the four years that I've done it, there was an evident computer glitch. Three servers went down and times were off. My first finishing time showed 13:02:25 and my splits didn't add up. Then it was 13:00:00 and the final official time was 13:00:02. This could have been ugly, but did I mention the race official who stayed up until 7:00am the next morning to manually correct 800+ athlete times?  Also, the Live Timing is not reliable.


I can't think of the ugly! 

If I could think of perks for athletes, I have three wishes when it comes to next year's race: 

GOOD:  I wish for an athlete dinner on Thursday. Obviously, this is a personal preference, but I wish they would offer the dinner two nights before race day. I'm not about to eat something new the night before the race. Plus, when they did this a few years back, I was able to meet other athletes - especially the PPD heroes - and spur them on for race day. 

BETTER:  In two races in 2013r - the PATRIOTS HALF IRON near Williamsburg, Va and Ironman Raleigh 70.3 - I experienced a catcher at the finish line. According to TriathlonMami a catcher is this: 

As soon as I crossed the finish line, a “catcher” grabbed me.  This volunteer put her hand on my back, congratulated me and walked me through an assembly line of other volunteers: one who took the timing chip from my ankle, another gave me a hat, a third a tshirt, a fourth a water bottle, another a medal, and finally a space blanket.  My catcher then escorted me to the photographer who would take a picture I ended up not purchasing.  That’s when I saw Joe and the boys and my smile was finally complete.   

I want one! The best part of the finish line was having Shelley put the medal around my neck. It would have been even better to have her all to myself: to give me my medal and escort-me-slash-hold-me-up until I'd made it safely into the arms of the rest of my friends and family.   

BEST:   I wish for video of me at the finish line. I wish I could have footage - audio and video - of running through the finishing chute with Erica; of having Tim announce our names, to pronounce my Ironmanness and tell my story. I would pay big money for that! 

I do have this from Anna and it makes me cry every time:


If you're a first-time full athlete, do it all! Whether you plan to come in first or last, go to the athlete dinner, do the race like a pro, go to the brunch on Sunday. Enjoy it all!