Here’s my race recap for the 2022 Kiawah Island Marathon.
This was the second time I’ve done this race, though the first was over 10 years ago!
Why I ran Kiawah again
This July, I was supposed to run a marathon in Washington state.
However, my Husband got a bad case of COVID- one of those yikes I can’t leave you like this kind of scenarios.
I completed a virtual ultra instead to take advantage of the training but tabled a marathon for a few months.
When my pal Sarah, who I ran with at Nutcracker a couple years ago, asked about December plans it didn’t take long to declare ourselves running partners.
Sarah was after a PR- 3:45. Coincidentally, this was exactly the shape I knew I’d be in so it was perfect!
Packet pick up
Last time I did this race, we stayed in a condo on island because we had a big group of runners.
This time, we stayed in North Charleston for no reason other than the Marriott had a good rate and we knew we could cancel if needed.
Either way is doable and depends on circumstances, but on island is waaaay easier, from packet pick up to race morning to post race shuttles.
There was an option to pick up our packets (shirts, bib number) on race day, but there were other logistical hoops to jump through (shuttle from parking to race site) so we opted for peace of mind.
Cost? Two hours total. It’s a 45 minute one-way drive to the expo (extended by traffic).
After parking and shuttling to the race site, we had about 90 minutes to spare.
Blessedly, the resort was open to runners to wait and we enjoyed indoor bathroom facilities and a warm building to hang out in as we waited.
If you’re considering this race, don’t be spooked by the morning logistics.
Everything was well organized and pleasantly comfortable. Even the bus from parking was a charter!
This race starts kind of late- 8 am.
There was a slight drizzle, which was actually kind of nice when we began.
The weather was perfect for running- low 50s.
We settled in quickly, keeping the 8:45 pacer (who we later befriended!) in sight.
At the 10 mile mark, we were right on target at about 1 hour, 24 minutes.
This is a very flat course, but it does have a lot of turns.
Runners go on golf cart paths in certain areas, but it’s not so crowded it bottlenecks.
With about 4000 runners (mostly half marathoners), there is always a group around.
Best case scenario!
Sarah and I had a talk and tech understanding; when either of us wanted to dissociate with music (Peloton runs for me!), we’d tell the other and establish a check in time.
“I’m going to put headphones in. Check in around mile 16?”
It was perfect!
By mile 20, we clocked 2 hours 47 minutes and had a small group of about 7, including Tim the pacer.
Here’s where the I typically have a pain cave moment.
I’ve done 26.2 miles enough to know I just have to get there and run through.
With a few exceptions, it’s usually mental and never lasts more than two or three miles.
Didn’t happen here!
I felt great in those final miles. It was so nice to enjoy a finish line with Sarah, too.
We finished in 3:43:56, which was a PR for her and just below our goal of 3:45.
The food post race was amazing.
The resort catered it: white bean soup, sweet cornbread, tabbouleh, bean salad, pasta salad with chicken and veggies, and brownies.
Who should do this race?
It’s off season at the beach with a fast, mostly flat course open to all ability levels, including run-walkers and walkers.
There is a half marathon option and provided pacing groups for both distances, too.
As for staying on island or off?
A thousand times easier with the former, but if you’re on a budget or want to make a game time decision with loose plans, the latter is great.
You can find my running adventures and general ramblings on Instagram. Let’s connect!