Marathon Bahamas Half-Marathon Race Recap

Usually bloggers italicize disclosures to kind of hide them, but I’m going to straight up bold this: Thank you to the Bahamas Tourist Office for hosting me for an amazing winter weekend in the islands! 

In December, I got an email asking if I was running a half-marathon in The Bahamas.

UM YES!? IS THIS REAL? 

It turns out the Bahamas Tourist Office hosts lots of press trips every year to expose writers (and in turns, their audiences) to all the cool initiatives they’re doing on the 16 main islands. For example, on the 16th, 16 brides got married on the 16 islands, all at 16:00, and the Bahamas covered a portion of their wedding costs. (But I’ll write more about other cool Bahamian things in another post this week — I’m going to focus on the race for this one.) 

I’m currently training for the D.C. RNR Half, but I haven’t run more than 7 miles yet. The last time I ran more than 7 was probably when I ran the Heartbreak Hill Half in June. So I had zero goals for this, other than to finish and have fun and enjoy a scenic race in another country! 

Per some really weird pre-race tradition, I woke up with my period on Saturday morning. I knew this would make for an awesome combination with the hot weather. 

Saturday’s bib pickup went smoothly: we headed to the Melia Hotel and were in and out in maybe 15 minutes. The expo was a lot smaller than typical ones in the U.S. — so if you’re a person who tends to forget socks/Gu (uh, not me!), don’t plan on picking up any last-minute essentials there.

Race Day

The race started at 6am to beat the heat, and our driver picked us up at 5:15am, so I woke up at 4:45 to get dressed, eat and chug a little Pre. We were at the start by about 5:30ish, with plenty of time to get situated and find Port-a-Potties. 

Bahamas Half Marathon

Obligatory pre-race photo.

NYC TNT fielded a huge team (46 people), so I saw lots of my people all over the race course, which was lovely.

Ericka and I had planned on running together, since we’re roughly the same speed and neither of us were trying to PR anyway.

It was dark when we started, but I knew it’d warm up and the sun would come out and I’d soon be missing the dark.

The course was mostly flat, except for two huge bridges at mile 2ish. Most of the course runs through Nassau, except for the bridges, which take you to Paradise Island and back. The bridges were really freaking hard, and I was so happy to be done with them.

Though the scenery was gorgeous, miles 4-7 felt absolutely interminable, and my mind got into a bad place. Would I finish? Was it dumb for me to run a half in the heat having not really trained for it, or was I unnecessarily freaking out over what was just a run? You will finish, Theodora, I told myself. How many times have you done this before? It might not be pretty, but you’ll finish. We both ended up needing a bathroom break and stopped around here. We were doing 9:30ish miles before this, but definitely slowed down after the stop…

I took a Honey Stinger just before mile 7, and that and the ocean views put a little pep in my step. THANK GOD.

Marathon Bahamas

I mean, how can you really be unhappy with views like this? Miles 7ish-13 were an out-and-back, and that last mile or so before the turnaround…sucked. We started seeing people coming back in our direction, and we just wanted to be them. We hit the turnaround around mile 10, and I’m pretty sure I woot-ed, happy to only have a 5K left AND be turning around.

The last 3 miles really sucked though. Neither of us were feeling great, and we both had to stop to walk several times but were really good at waiting for each other.

 Marathon Bahamas

More gratuitous palm trees. 

FINALLY we crossed the finish line with a time of 2:13, a solid 23 minutes slower than my PR, but honestly right around where I expected for my lack of training, heat, lady issues. 

FullSizeRender 2

Post-race, we posed with these fine folks in Junkanoo costumes and then I made a beeline for the Kalik tent, because free beer before 9am on the beach.

We had some time to kill waiting for Anita, our PR contact/favorite person, to finish, so we hung out at the beach for a bit and then got massages. There are far worse ways to spend post-race. We watched a little bit as the full marathoners came in and considered ourselves lucky to be done and not out there running in that heat. 

Fun facts: There was a man called the Barefoot Bandit running, who’d run more than 160 marathons barefoot. Also, one of the women who’d won the 16 Islands, 16 Weddings contests was running the half. HERO. 

Preppy Runner Marathon Bahamas

And I got to get this post-race ocean photo I’ve been dying for since I started running. 

Have you ever run any beach races? Any international races? What destination races are you dying to run? 

33 comments on “Marathon Bahamas Half-Marathon Race Recap

  1. Jenn

    That is so cool! I would absolutely love to run a race in the Bahamas!

    Since I live on the coast, I get to run and race a lot on and near the water or beach. It never gets old.

    I haven’t run an international race, but I would love to. I will pretty much run anywhere for the experience.

    Reply
  2. Sabrina

    That is pretty awesome! I am dying to run a race in Italy. My cousin does a lot of races in Europe with the organization Find A Cure. One day I hope to hook up with his group and do one of those awesome runs!

    Reply
  3. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    My sister who lives in Miami and I always go back and forth with hopping over to the Bahamas for this race. I run like crap in warm weather though so am trying to stop signing up for warm weather races! I am always miserable! But beaches. Sunshine. Ocean. all so tempting in winter!

    Reply
  4. Meghan

    I ran the Bermuda Marathon and it was gorgeous but HARD! I had only run Boston before so was not used to the miles and miles of no fans!
    I trained for the Napa Marathon but got pneumonia so went to Napa and drank wine instead. Would love to give that another try!

    Reply
  5. Valerie

    Sounds fun! And you’ve just done your job as a Bahamas ambassador and taught me something new—I didn’t realize the Bahamas were comprised of 16 islands! Most of the races I’ve done are Disney ones but if I ever got my life together to do a full I think I’d like to run Chicago. There’s a half at the OBX in November that’s supposed to be good, too. *wink wink*

    Reply
  6. elizabeth e

    as I sit in frigid DC, I hate you a little bit right now for being in the sun and the sand (with a post-race drink in your hand?). my friends and i had talked about doing a 2016 destination half-marathon, and this may have just shot to the top of the list!

    Reply
  7. Susan - Nurse on the Run

    Um, HELLO JEALOUSY. The Bahamas sound marvelous right about now. Growing up outside Chicago without an ocean in sight (the lake doesn’t count…), running by the ocean makes me giddy. The Berlin Marathon is my only international race – and highly recommend it to anyone! As for beach running, some day I’d like to run the San Diego marathon…

    Reply
  8. Daniel

    I was there too!!
    Your pre-race photo is probably about 25 yards behind me, I was at the 9min pace sign… Crazy in the downtown, it was so dark I couldn’t read my GPS, and then the bridges!! Whoa!! Got my pictures wit the Junkanoos too :). One of the best parts of the trip were the conch fritters at Manny’s pub in Cable Beach… Well It’s of to the A1A in Ft. Lauderdale next… Are you going?

    Reply
    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Oh funny! Hi 🙂 And yum conch fritters. Yes those bridges, good god! Woke us right up. No on the A1A, although looks gorgeous! (I can’t think of the phrase A1A without thinking Ice Ice Baby, also.)

      Reply
  9. Tony G

    I was there too – I did the full marathon, my wife did the half (thanks for posting a nice photo of her back in your first picture!) . . . you didn’t mention that when the Barefoot Bandit crossed the finish line with his girlfriend, he knelt down and proposed to her, amidst great shrieking and cheers all round (you can see the pictures on the link from the marathonbahamas.com website) . . . after she had stopped crying, she gave her response “About damned time!”. More cheers! Would recommend the race to anyone – great organization, nice place, nice weather, great course

    Reply
  10. Kim

    the barefoot bandit runner proposed at the finish line to his girlfriend! tough race for me, one of my worsts; that heat killed me, also i wound up running through a hamstring tear. but the rest of the week on the island was incredible! congrats on the race!

    Reply
      1. Daniel

        If you’re on Long Island like me you’ll have plenty of time to rest… For the hamstring once the inflammation goes down light cross training will help it heal faster as long as it is pain free

        Reply

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