I ran the Hotter Than July trail half recently for the second year, and as always it did not disappoint. While last year I ran the 1/4 marathon distance, this year I decided to go all out with the half marathon distance, you know in the oppressive heat!
The Hotter Than July lives up to it’s name as it is plenty hot on race day, and hot in the fun, awesome race sense. While this year’s race was run on a different course due to COVID restrictions in our state, DC Race Timing was able to keep the route fun and interesting as usual.
After many race cancellations, and virtual runs aplenty, this was my first in-person race. While this pandemic seriously diminished the race day energy and affected the pre & post race fun, it did not touch the race itself. While the venue changed, there was still a start line, clock to run against, and the nearly famous finish chute!
DC Race Timing did a really fantastic job of keeping all runners safe, and distant for this event. Runners were set up in time heats which we were able to select via our race registrations page. Bibs were picked up on your way to the start line to avoid the crowds of packet pick up, and everyone had masks or buffs covering their face until the gun went off. On a scale of 1 to quarantine, I felt pretty safe.
DCRT is great about having on course photogs which is one of my favorite things about their races. I can’t take selfies and run trails, and I always like a good race photo momento! This race had their staple photographer, and since the race was spread out in heats, it was almost like getting your own personal race portraits.
As for the course, this is a great beginners course. Not very technical with small elevations, and you are running single track most of the time. Luckily the week’s rain didn’t linger in the dirt and there was rarely any sloppy spots. Finishing this race was so amazing since it was my first trail half!
The fact that DCRT was able to host this race during this pandemic makes me want to skip this part, but full disclosure and honest reviews are my goal here. That being said, the only thing I can really critique was the course distance. This race is a lopped course which was to be measured at the 1/4 marathon distance, when it actually measured over 7 miles bringing my total distance closer to a 25k. Trail distances are always “ish” but this went past that to a point where the RD wasn’t liking it. But hey, it was what it was.
Outside of this my only let down was the race fuel, again this is really no reflection on DCRT and more of the pandemic times. While we were notified this would be a self-supported race, I missed my handful of peanut M&Ms which is always a staple at their aid stations. However the aid station did have a giant cooler of sealed, ice cold water bottles which I was grateful for on loop 2 after my pack was bone dry.
Now for my favorite part of races ~ the swag~. DCRT has this part of their races down, their medals are always amazing. Some of my favorites are from their events, I even have a glow in the dark one. This year’s Hotter Than July Medal had translucent peices, and a great summer theme.
Their tee shirts also get my enthusiastic thumbs up because nearly all of them have been soft vintage style shirts. For the record, I am team wear my race shirts as part of my wardrobe. I like to wear them like a badge of honor for my accomplishments because let’s be honest, walking around in your finisher’s medal is just weird.
All in all it was a great race, while it felt different (everything is different these days) it was still the fun time and great race experience I have grown to know from DC Race Timing events. One additional bonus of a pandemic run is having your own personal finish line photog!!
Currently I am resting my foot from an acute case of plantar fasciitis that flared up after this race, however the Run for the L of it from DCRT is next on my calendar. It is a local 5k benefiting the University of Louisville, and I plan on attending even if I am walking it in.
So until then, love life, and be good to others!
Just a few photos from the day!