Little Miami Half-Marathon Review

Ohio Running puts on great events.  They don’t put on many, but the ones they do put on, they give you quite a bit of bang for your buck! The Little Miami Half-Marathon and 10k is their “main event”.  This is the race that they put the most effort into, and it’s the race with the best turnout.  This is my review of the race.

This particular race blew up last year.  It went from about 400 total registrants to over 900!  They had some growing pains last year, that’s for sure.  In an effort to aleviate that this year, they started the Half-Marathon and 10k runners at different times, and it made a world of difference……for the most part.

I’m going to say something here that annoys the heck out of me.  If you plan to run more than 10 minutes a mile, or walk, DON’T LINE UP AT THE FRONT!  I almost shoved someone out of the way because of this.  Somebody was walking out of the gate for the half.

As you can see, the road is narrow to start (images courtesy of

And it gets crowded:

Once I was past the tom-foolery that was the start, I was able to settle in at a steady, comfortable pace.  I didn’t want to even look at my watch, I wanted to go by feel for this until after the first mile.

I had a primary and a secondary goal in mind for this race.  The first goal was to PR a half-marathon.  My previous time was 2:09:06, and I had a good feeling going in.  The second was to come in at under 2 hours.  The under 2 hour goal was something that wasn’t even in my thoughts until about 14 days ago.  After looking at my pace with all the hills, I thought, if I don’t go for this, I’ll regret it.

All split times are estimates, my watch dropped out for a bit after 6.5 miles or so because of the heavy tree cover and overcast skies (image from 2012 when it was much more sunny).  The trees are much thicker than this image lets on.

By the end of the race it said I only ran 12.92 miles.  This course, being USTF certified, AND this year being considered an Ohio Championship course it had to be dead on, so I trust the course mileage over the watch.

The first couple miles were around 9:06 and 9:07 which put me right on time for a sub 2 hour marathon and I was feeling really great.

The next 2 came in at 8:56 and 8:53, and mile 5 came in a 9:00.

I was feeling better than I expected, and was actually quite surprised.

Since I hadn’t stopped at any aid stations I started to stop at them for water and Gatorade, so my pace slowed a bit.  I figured I’d just make it up on the course.  Mile 6 and 7 each were 9:23.

At mile 8 my hip flexors really started bothering me and I ended up running 9:19, not really making any progress back to it.  That kind of worried me, although I was still at around a 9:05 pace which was okay by me.

Mile 9 crushed me.  I stopped probably longer than I should have at a water stop, and walked a bit longer through it than I should before I went on.  9:50, and my heart was broken.

Mile 10 I gained some headway back at 9:38, but not enough to matter, my secondary goal was done for.  My PR though was smashed by then, and I knew it.

Mile 11 I went back to 9:49, and by mile 12 I had to have a serious conversation with myself about how hard to push.  My legs were done, I had left everything I had out there on the course.  The pain was overwhelming and each stride was a challenge.

As I was pulling into the shoot I heard someone right behind me, and it was obvious he was trying to out pace me at the end.  Not sure why, I hadn’t seen that guy all race.  I didn’t let that happen though, I turned it on like none other and just ignored the pain for the last bit.

It’s NEVER a good idea to do this.  You DON’T turn it on at the end.  After this distance, if you’re out of gas, pushing yourself like that leads to injury.  Do as I say, not as I do kids!

I pulled into the finish with a time of 2:01:38, 99 seconds off my secondary goal time, and about 7.5 minutes faster than my PR last year.  If my watch time is correct, then the actual time was 2:01:15 and I set a pace of 9:17, a far cry from the 9:51 I did last year.

I can’t be mad at this race.  I did everything I could to come in at under 2 hours.  I left everything out on the course and had nothing measurable in the tank.

I smashed my half-marathon PR by 7.5 minutes, and as an added bonus, I got this when I logged my run on Nike.


It was a great day today.  I went out for the first time looking to “run” the race, not just run/walk and hope for a goal.  I left it out there, and I’m satisfied.

I would like to thank Ohio Running for putting on one hell of an event.  From top to bottom it was organized, and they created a wonderful atmosphere.  I cannot wait for this next year, where I WILL finally get under 2 friggen hours!

Just for fun here’s the map of the course, as you can see (or not), you’re under a LOT of shade!


8 thoughts on “Little Miami Half-Marathon Review”

  1. Awesome review AND congrats on your PR! Those a VERY impressive splits (and negative splits). Good job, Joe!

    Two quick things I want to say:

    1. If they send out a questionnaire or solicit feedback on the race experience, kindly suggest they incorporate pace corrals. That person that walked off the line had absolutely NO business being at the front (other than a perfect picture opportunity). Even if they don’t ask for feedback, contact the RD and tell him/her you’re willing to post the signs 30 minutes prior to race. They can always use an extra hand! 🙂

    2. I know you’re training for your full and you’re keeping to training schedule BUT you would have had a much better race if you would have tapered for this event. Don’t get me wrong, you did awesome! It’s just I’m fairly certain you would have gotten sub 2 hour if you went into the race well-rested.

    Again, GREAT job man! Next up, the FULL!

  2. Awesome job, Joe. I’ve never run more than 4 miles so I can’t say I know your pain. But I enjoyed your play by play!! Maybe some day, I’ll train for a half. For now, though, I stick to the occasional 5K.

  3. I’m going to get Roland to run the Dismal Swamp Stomp with me next spring (that was my first 1/2 last year). Great job Joe. I had major brain farts today too. I’m well behind you, but I had a goal to PR my 1/2 today -which I did by a lot – and a secondary to hit 2:30 – which I missed by 2 minutes, mostly because I stopped to take alot of pictures along the way (lol).

  4. Awesome job. I agree with corrals, I get aggravated with slower people in the way….lol but no shoving!!! 🙂

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