Divas Half Marathon: North Myrtle Beach (http://www.runlikeadiva.com)
Dates participated: May 20,2012
Submitted by: Shannon Smith

Coming off of a very UNPLEASANT experience in April with another all women’s race series, I was going into the DIVA very skeptical! In addition, having just run The Mini Myrtle Beach Marathon in October for the 2nd year, I was concerned about being bored with the course. Although this was a different route there were similar areas and I was
not optimistic for the excitement of the course. However with all this in mind – I promised myself to unbiased and make the most of this women’s race and enjoy my weekend getaway with my MRTT gal pals!

We arrived in North Myrtle Beach on Friday evening and went straight to the expo. Parking and access to the expo  were easy and quick. They had golf cart shuttles taking people back & forth that had to park away from the expo. However, even the ones that had to park away were still relatively close. We chose just to walk and it really was a very short walk! From the second you walked in – You knew it was a DIVA race. Pink, Pink & more Pink!! And very girly!! Loved all the vendors that were there, but, the only complaint I would have was the size of the expo! Women like to SHOP!!!! Vendors like to sell! I would have thought there would have been more vendor participation!! Not sure if it was kept small due to the expo venue size or lack of vendor participation??? BUT I would encourage The Diva organizers to expand it next year and encourage vendors to participate! When you have a race targeted at all women – you need to focus on what women like to do!!! After checking out all the vendors and making our purchases we picked up our packets. Packet pick up was easy and quick!! LOVED the pink swag bag and the race shirt was AWESOME!! It was a hot pink Dri Tech shirt with awesome Diva design! It was a definite hit among the racers!!

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After the expo we went to the hotel. We stayed At Ocean Creek Plantation. It was one of the co-host resorts. We arrived late so did not have a lot of time to investigate the resort on Friday. However, we were extremely pleased with the accommodations and the cost of the room. The DIVA race negotiated excellent room rates! We were excited to be amidst lots of fellow DIVAS! We met lots of ladies at the resort! My only complaint about the resort – They were VERY unaccommodating about allowing DIVAS late check outs. With the race starting at 7am. – We felt rushed to leave the race festivities after the race to get back to our hotel to shower and check out by 11am! We had a 6 hour drive, so, after race showering was a MUST!!! Being a co-host hotel, I would expect the facility to be more
accommodating to this given the “nature” of the event. I realize this is out of the race organizers control; however, it might be a point to “cover” with the facilities when discussing their participation!

The weather Saturday, which was our free day, was not very conducive to being at the beach. It was rainy, windy and cool! Thankfully, being in Myrtle Beach, there were plenty of alternative activities! We hit the local outlet malls and satisfied that shopping urge that might not have been met at the expo!! Also, we did plenty of exploring of the area!
There are tons of night life opportunities in the area to accommodate all interests! Due to the weather, we were in early and got great pre-race nights sleep!

photo (1)We got up early and left our hotel around 5:45. Race start was at 7. BUT we were parking at the expo location and taking a shuttle to the race! Anyone who has ever utilized shuttles at a race knows this can be disastrous! We wanted to have PLENTY of time! Our shuttle location was only 5min form our hotel and traffic was not bad at all. We arrived
at the shuttle location very quickly. Parked with ease, walked right onto a shuttle, the shuttle left within minutes and got us to the race sight within 10 minutes!!! UNHEARD OF!!! A HUGE kudos to whom ever pulled that off!! They need to have a “class” for race directors all over the country!!!! So we were at the start and ready to go by 6:15am!!!
The weather had turned out great – perfect for running. Slightly cool at the start and sun shining!

photo (2)The start line was very organized! They had lots of porta potties! They even had people  announcing where they were! Lots of races have them – but you don’t know where – so people flood the very first ones they find!!!! Only to discover later there were tons around the corner! The start line had pace times posted and you were supposed to congregate in the area of your pace. Somewhat of a “wave” start???? However, they did not have any “wait” time between the paces starting. This caused a lot of bottlenecking for the first mile to 1 ½ miles. With this size crowd starting on that size of a road, I would have liked to see a true wave start. It was chipped timed so we were not worried about starting in front – even took a final potty break at the start of the race. This may or may not have been a great
idea, because we were then amidst the crowd trying to run. Thankfully the crowd thinned after the first couple of miles  and it was smooth running from there on out! Even when the 5Kers intermingling with us at 2 points in the race!

photo (3)I am not sure what some races do differently than others to solicit crowd support – BUT – The DIVA race certainly had  it!! Lots of people cheering along the course, music playing, signs waving and business owners cheering! The course was great: lots of scenery and a great combination of straight a ways and turns. Too much of either can be crazy! I
wouldn’t change a thing about the course!! They had lots of water stations (although I carry my own and don’t utilize it). However, I never saw any GU or gels. I carry my own but some other racers didn’t and were asking.

A few blocks from the finish they had a station for boas and tiaras to pick up and wear across the finish. This was the perfect touch or the girly race!! They even had some awesome looking shirtless gentlemen handing out medals at the finish!

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photo (6)Post race food and drinks were abundant and varied! They had quite the variety to choose from beside the standards and plenty of it!! We had to leave the festivities fairly quickly to get back to our hotel. We went back to the shuttle site and were returned to our car within 10 minutes once again – AMAZING – for race shuttles!!

I can not say enough great things about this race!! Everything from the knowledgeable & nice volunteers, welcoming and uplifting community support & a very well directed race!! Southern hospitality at its best!! GREAT JOB DIVA!!
See ya next year!!

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