Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Half Fanatics Unite!

I belong to this crazy organization and its name says it all.   Half Fanatics.  It's for runners who can't let it rest at just one or two half marathons.  No....it's for folks who are, well, fanatics about running this distance.  There's an even crazier organization of crazy folks who like running full marathons...Marathon Maniacs. 

I learned about the Half Fanatics from a friend who is a Maniac.  She knew I'd already run in a few full and half marathons and suggested I look into joining these two groups.  Well, I no longer run full marathons, so there's no chance I'd qualify as a Maniac, but looking at the requirements to join the Half Fanatics, I easily qualified.  In fact, I joined the group and my completed races at that point immediately put me into "Saturn" moon level.  Now, a year later, I've earned a few more "moons" and am now at "Earth" moon level, qualifying for that level by having done at least 16 half marathons in 16 different states within 365 days. 

So anyway, as I travel about, running these half marathons in different cities, I meet other Fanatics who are readily identifiable if they're wearing their Half Fanatic running shirts or visors.

Well, here's the story.  On Sunday I ran the Turning Stone Half Marathon in Verona NY.  It started and ended at the Turning Stone Resort, taking us out into the countryside on a big loop that brought us through the tiny little town of Sherrill.  Actually, Sherrill bills itself as the smallest city in New York. 

The weather was spectacular for a race!  Low 50s at the start, low humidity, clear blue skies.  It was a small and relatively youthful race field and when the pack took off at the gun, I was quickly left behind at the back of the pack.  As we left the resort grounds and headed out into the countryside, I spotted a woman ahead of me wearing one of those Half Fanatics shirts.  She looked to be walking with a limp but still moving along smartly. 

I pulled up along side her and asked if she wanted company.  I was willing to slow to a fast walk, having no need to kill myself doing this race.  She most gratefully accepted the company.  She said that she had started out too fast and quickly was pulled up short by a pulled muscle or a cramp in her calf.  So we walked together for a couple of miles and I think that our lively chatting took her mind off the pain. 
Las tres amigues - we three Half Fanatics ran much of the race together -
Marissa from CA, Andrea from RI, me from TX

After a couple of miles, she said that the pain had eased off and we broke into a run and stayed together for the entire rest of the race.  She's from Rhode Island so along the way we compared notes on what races she's run in the New England area and I got lots of advice and tips for what races to choose as I continue my 50 States quest.  As it turns out, she ran the Maple Leaf Half the same year I did.  So our paths crossed once before, we just didn't realize it.

Turning Stone Half Marathon Route - tracks from my Garmin GPS watch

We "brought it home" together, crossing the finish line just seconds apart and we thanked each other for being each other's "rabbit" and keeping each other going. 

The race was small but it was definitely not small on detail, being put on by a very rich resort casino, so we were treated to an incredible pancake buffet breakfast afterward.  We sat with a couple of other Fanatics that she had met earlier. 

It was a very enjoyable race!!  And despite the couple of miles' walking early in the race and some walking near the end, I still had a decent finish time, under 3 hours.

My finisher's medal:
Very nice finisher's medal
The design is very clever.  Three tablet-like stones, made to look
like fanned out cards, each representing one of the different race distances
offered during the weekend. Runners doing each distance received
a medal with the card representing that distance on top and with
a different colored ribbon.  Finisher's shirt artwork was the same.
What my 50 States-50 Half Marathons map looks like now:

Next up:  Omaha NE Half Marathon in September.


  1. Barb, you are an inspiration and a fanatic !!
    I look forward to reading your posts...Good Luck on the remaining states..

  2. Great job on another finish. So cool that the fanatics have the race gear so you can identify other fanatics.

    Soon your races will get further and further from home to fill up that map.