“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
In all of the years that I’ve lived in Florida, I have never been to Fort Lauderdale, but I am aware of the A1A highway and all of its appeal. This race drew me in with the promise of an oceanside run, though I was completely nervous about the heat as I was told there was no cover. Thankfully, the weather gods were in my favor because the heat would have surely killed me.
Pre-Race Communication was great, actually superb. I think I received a “final race information” email about 4 times. There was no way that people could say they didn’t know where to pick up their packet or what time the race started, that’s for sure.
Packet Pickup was easy. It was at the Broward County Convention Center, which you had to pay to park at (so annoying) but the hall was large and there were lots of great vendors.
Parking was a breeze for me as I opted for the VIP parking pass which allowed me to park near the finish line. I took the shuttle bus to the start line and after I got off I learned that there was free parking near the start. BUT- I think the $27 was well worth the money so that I didn’t have to worry about fighting with thousands of others to find a spot. The convenience of know that I had a place and could get to the start line on time gave me peace of mind. I do think it was weird that they didn’t drop you off closer to the start line and you had to walk the rest of the way, but whatever.
The start line had SO MANY port-o-potties, which was great. I had the oddest experience, though, where a runner had a standoff with me when I hopped in the potty. She was convinced that it was “not my turn” (even though there were multiple lines for the port-o-potty) and decided that she would hold the door open and tell me to get out. Other runners started shouting at her that, yes, it was my turn and someone had to physically remove her from the potty door. That was so random and taught me that there’s a first time for everything.
The corrals were fenced off really well and there were pacers in place for both the half and the full marathon. There was a great big American flag hanging and they had an awesome saxophone player do a rendition of the national anthem.
Bag check was pretty cool since this is a point to point race, they had UPS trucks at the back of the running corral waiting to collect our bags and then they drove them over to the finish line. I brought along my goodie bag from the Expo because I knew that I’d need my Oofos after running 13.1 miles.
I was able to meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pro Lisa for a quick chat and a Pro Photo before the race. We were both concerned about the heat and agreed that we weren’t necessarily running for time, but just to finish.
The course started closer to downtown, worked its way to the coast, we ran through a park and then made our way back to the coast. What a beautiful coastline to run on! There was water and BodyArmor all along the course, 2 first aid tents, and port-o-potties. There were some great locals that were giving out Twizzlers and around mile 10 a family was passing out beer in front of their house (no thanks).
Upon crossing the finish line, you received your medal (which is awesome!) and water. There were TONS of food options including Michelob Ultra beer, Barefoot Wine, BodyArmor sports drink, Bubba Burgers, and more. I opted out of eating anything that heavy at 9 am or drinking beer. I walked right back to grab my bag from the UPS truck, stretch out, and gulp down tons of water and a bottle of Body Armor. I did go back to grab a banana before heading back to my hotel.
There was this amazing sand sculpture made by the folks at Sandtastic.com, which was their rendition of the jellyfish medal. The line was crazy, stupid long to take a picture in front of it and I’m not one for lines, so I skipped that.
Even though it was ridiculously humid, it was overcast and I didn’t have to worry about the sun burning through my skin!
Overall, it was a nice, quick getaway with my family- my kids got to enjoy the beach and I scored some great swag. Win-win for all parties involved.