Well the name of this race says it all. It's hot. And with virtually no shade on the course you pretty much run to beat the sun. This race was in Leland, MS, about two hours from me, so I decided to just drive up that morning. This made for a very early start to the day after not a whole lot of sleep. I arrived at the Mitchell Distributing Center at 5:00 AM to catch the bus to start. The whole ride I had some lady's butt on my shoulder. I just hoped she wasn't gassy. Yikes! For those that don't know, Leland is the Mississippi Delta. This means it is FLAT and full of farmland. The bus dropped us off on a dirt road at a farm. I promptly had to pee but the line for the port-o-potty was LONG so I dropped trow and peed behind the giant wheel of one of the tractors. Many others were going into the rows of corn for privacy, but I thought this was a better spot. I waved to the passersby. I have no shame. I covered up my pee with dirt like a cat and proceeded to make my way to the start.
|Start was between a field of corn and a field of soybeans.|
As we walked to the start I noticed that the sky was just absolutely gorgeous. The early morning sun behind the clouds was just breathtaking. Pictures couldn't possibly do it justice, but I tried.
|It really was spectacular.|
We lined up in front of a large combine and I immediately regretted my decision to not douse myself in bug spray. These mosquitoes were BIG and voracious. I'm sure I have West Nile Virus now.
As the 6:00 AM start approached, HWW4 and I still couldn't find the other members of our group (JB, MS, and SS). They didn't ride the bus and were supposed to be dropped off at the start by PB but they were cuttin' it pretty close. This is a very small race so it was kind of hard to miss anybody. The start came and went and still no peeps. Our strategy for this race was to run as fast as possible for as long as possible to get in as many miles as we could before the sun came up and made over lives a living hell. Once off the dirt road, we made a right onto the main road and were greeted with the most gorgeous sunrise over the farms.
|Again, pictures just don't do this justice.|
|Pretty much what 100% of the course looked like.|
Our plan was going along well with the first few miles in the 9's. It was still hot and humid, but we are used to that. The aid stations were all "themed". You had the angels aid station, the 80's aid station, the devil aid station, the Christmas aid station, and the water sprinkler aid station, just to name a few. Aid stations were every mile and contained ice cold water. I think there was Gatorade every three miles. Several of the aid stations had cold paper towels and delicious Sonic-style ice. Others had an assortment of other goodies.
|Devil aid station|
|Aid station at mile 8, called "Leaving 7th Heaven". This one was my favorite because they had a sprayer and lots of delicious ice.|
The sun actually cooperated with us until about mile 9, at which point it came out and shined down on us like a hot laser. I fizzle in the direct sun, so the next few miles were rough and very slow. One good thing is that we did start to get a little bit of a breeze, but that definitely did not compensate for the angry ball of fire directly above us. By the time we got to mile 12, the sun got covered by some clouds and I was able to push it to the finish. I think this ended up being my second slowest time ever.
I got my "medal", which isn't really a medal at all. It's a piece of play-doh type material molded into the shape of Mississippi. If you touched it while you were still sweaty and wet, it disintegrated in your hand. Since getting it home, it's hardened up a bit. Probably not the best thing to given out at a very hot and humid race. We also got a necklace with devils on it so we had something to wear around our necks. We found PB and asked him what had happened that morning because we never saw JB, MS, and SS. He said that he had dropped them off literally right as the race started. They made their way to the finish not too far after HWW4 and me. The post race party was in the Mitchell Distributing Center so that meant AC!!! They had an assortment of chips, pizza, bananas, and ice cold beverages (soda, water, and beer).
|The crew at Hotter Than Hades Half Marathon|
If you want a true Mississippi experience, this would be a great half marathon. Mississippi is known for heat, humidity, and farms. This race has all of that. I highly recommend bug spray and sun block. This is a very small race and is also pretty cheap (I paid $49 after fees). Besides the race registration and gas to get there, there were really no other costs associated with this race for me.