Key West Half Marathon


Sam Cassel, Reporter

A foghorn that could be heard for miles in any direction suddenly goes off at 8:01 a.m. in Key West, Florida. That is the official start of the 40th Annual Key West Half Marathon.

 4,300 runners storm down Duval Street and past the southernmost point of the U.S., representing all 50 states and 49 countries. The 13.1 mile course is known as one of the fastest courses in the U.S, as the total change in altitude across the race is 10 feet. 

This was my first ever half marathon. I was joined by two other first timers, sophomores Henry Barrett and Jake Squier. We had a shared feeling of nerves since none of us had ever ran anywhere close to 13.1 miles in a single day. 

The 20 minutes at the startline before the horn went off were spent asking more experienced athletes what their strategy was. We eventually stumbled upon a man named Lou in a bright green shirt with a large sign. He was a professional pacer hired to run at exactly 1 hour and 40 minute pace. He convinced the three of us to run with him, and he gave us valuable advice as the race went on.

 The course was beautiful as it was all on beaches or historic landmarks and very new compared to the city of Greenwood. The race was extremely demanding, and keeping up with our pacer was a task within running distance. In the last 3 miles, he took off from our easy 7:38 pace to a blistering 6:55. 

We eventually finished our first ever half marathon in places 69th, 70th, and 71st out of 4,118 timed finishers. Although we finished within a tenth of a second to each other, I managed to place 3rd in the under 19 age group, meaning I got an award. The rest of the day was spent sleeping and doing anything possible to avoid walking on depleted legs.

 Overall, it was a life changing experience, and I hope to do a similar race very soon.