Hokie Half Marathon – Race Recap

Yesterday was the big day! My little sister ran her first half marathon and I was alongside her for every step of the way.


Our day started early, as we left the house at 5:30 AM to get up to Blacksburg for the 7:30 AM start. We arrived about an hour prior to the start of the race, and got a great parking spot really close to the start/finish area. My dad and my little sister’s boyfriend were along to cheer us on, and Barry was also running the race. Barry and I are on our way to becoming legacy runners, as we have run the race every year since it started (this was year three).

Good swag - long sleeve race shirt, finisher's shirt, medal, and race car magnet.
Good swag – long sleeve race shirt, finisher’s shirt, medal, and race car magnet.

The first year was a bit too warm, the second year was freezing cold and raining, but this year the weather was perfect – partly cloudy and in the low 60’s. Third times the charm! We did the porta potty thing (short lines due to our early arrival!) and before I knew it, it was time for the start of the race.

Hokie Half Marathon


The first four miles or so we made our way down some local roads towards the mall. It was a gorgeous morning to be out running. I love the feeling of starting a race and all of the energy from the surrounding runners. It was even more fun with my sister by my side.

Hokie Half Marathon

I knew from years past that there are always some folks holding funny signs as we enter the mall area, so I made sure to get a picture this year. They’re probably really hard to see, but they say “Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon,” “Stop Reading this sign and keep running,” and “Seems like a lot of work for a banana.” That last one is my favorite.

Hokie Half Marathon

After a loop around the mall, we entered the Huckleberry Trail right around mile 4. We were on the trail from miles 4 – 9.5 and miles 10.5 – 11.5ish. Up to this point there were a few rolling hills, but once you get on the trail you have a slight downhill and some flat sections for a few miles. (I posted a course elevation profile in last year’s race recap)


I was having a great time and feeling good, and enjoying sharing something I’ve loved since 2007 with my little sister. She was still having a good time, too, and we rolled along on the trail as I told her old stories here and there as they came to mind. The trail is my favorite part of the course, because it’s my old stomping grounds from college.

Hokie Half Marathon

You hit the main hills on the race course around mile 7, and that’s where things started to get a bit tough for us. My little sister has been having some issues with her hip. She was very strong running the uphills, but the downhills were painful for her. Unfortunately, her hip continued to hurt for the rest of the race.

Hokie Half Marathon

Hokie Half Marathon

But she hung tough and pushed through the hills, and we continued moving forward. A little after mile 8, and after a long gradual hill that R kicked butt on, we got to see our dad and R’s boyfriend cheering us on. It was great to see them and I think it gave her a boost! We continued on down the trail towards mile 9, on a section we would be coming back on around mile 11.

Hokie Half Marathon

With less than 4 miles to go, I decided it was time to snap a selfie (‘ussie?’) to document the occasion. R was a good sport and smiled for the camera!


A little before mile 10, we exited the Huckleberry Trail to do a small loop through a neighborhood. At each road crossing and turn in the race course, there were great volunteers, police officers, and VT Corps of Cadets cheering us on and keeping us safe. As we exited the trail I told a group of them that it was R’s first half and they gave her an extra loud cheer which put a big smile on her face.

Hokie Half Marathon

Just before mile 11, we reentered the Huckleberry Trail at a different trailhead, and started to make our way back toward the start/finish line area. We were getting close! Running 13 miles is tough on any day, but especially on the day you’re running it for the first time. I know R was hurting and really having to dig deep at this point to keep going. I’m so proud of how she fought through the pain and fatigue to get through those final miles.

Hokie Half Marathon

As we approached mile 12, Barry came walking towards us. He had come back to collect me after finishing his race, as he often does, and yesterday he ran both of us in to the finish. He had a good day and finished in 1:45 and change. Only a minute off of his best time for this race! Fun fact: he had bib number 666 for the race. The high schoolers working the expo were so excited to give it to me when I picked up his packet the day before the race.

Hokie Half Marathon

We ran up one final hill in the last mile before making two left turns and running downhill to the finish. My little sister found another gear in the home stretch and ran it in strong to the finish line.

Hokie Half Marathon

After we crossed the finish line, we were immediately handed bottles of water, a finisher’s t-shirt, finisher’s medals, and a car race magnet. Hokie Half knows how to do swag!

Hokie Half Marathon

We easily met up with our dad, my little sister’s boyfriend, and Barry. The race is small, so it’s easy to find your group, but it’s also really well organized and everything just runs smoothly. We meandered over to the food tent where they had fruit, chocolate, turkey and vegetarian chili, and bagels available. After grabbing some post race food, we found a spot in the grass to sit down and chill.

Hokie Half Marathon
Nice scenery in the background, too.

We hung out for a little bit before making the short walk back over to our cars. From there it was time for the special post-race treat my sister requested: Carol Lee Donuts. Carol Lee’s is an awesome donut shop in Blacksburg. They actually did our wedding cake, too (although they no longer do them). What better way to celebrate the Hokie Half than with a Hokie sprinkle donut?

Hokie Half Marathon

Shortly thereafter (and after my sister grabbed a shower) they had to make the four hour drive back home. All in all, it was a fun day and a fun weekend. I think my little sister had a pretty good time. Now we will see if she’s caught the running bug!

**Edited to add: At HoHo Run‘s suggestion, I’m linking up with her and MissSippiPiddlin’ today for their weekly wrap link up. I didn’t realize it was okay to link up with just a race recap! 🙂 Click the button below to see who else is linking up today and to join in.

Who raced this past weekend?
What types of themed races have you run?
How was your weekend?

31 thoughts on “Hokie Half Marathon – Race Recap”

  1. What a blast it was watching my babies run a race together. The weather was beautiful, the race was fun and Interstate 81 drivers behaved themselves.

    Next family event on Thanksgiving morning. Let the training begin!


  2. I’ve had hip issues too. The only thing I can say is strength with any idea out there. Weights, Pilates, yoga, Barre, plyometrics. It’s taken a lot of work for me to tackle my hip issues.

    1. Thank you so much for the advice! I am planning on getting back in the pool (swimming), getting back on the bike, and strengthening everything while getting back into training for my next race!

  3. Yeah, do you call it an “ussie” instead of a selfie? Pondering minds…

    It’s great you got to do this with your sister! I hope I can one day do a half with my sister. I have done a 10k, though. I like the finisher’s medal too. (I’d love for you to link this post on the Weekly Wrap.)

    1. We’ll let the teenagers figure it out. I’m sure they’ll let us know.

      Doing a race with family is a lot of fun! I’ll head over now to join the link up and edit my post accordingly. I didn’t realize it was alright to link up with only a race recap, instead of a full recap of my week’s workouts.

  4. What a great race this year! The weather looked amazing. Congrats to your sister for finishing her first half as well!

    I didn’t race this weekend, and won’t until my full in October, but I did get 12 miles in on Sunday with some gorgeous weather!

  5. One of these days I would love to run the Hokie Half with you! I really do miss races but I’ll be doing the VA 10 miler this Saturday. I hope to see you there!

    1. You would love it! Come do it next year 🙂 So glad to hear you’ll be at the 10 miler this weekend! I was going to get in touch with you to see if you were… we’ll have to meet up!

  6. I loved running with you this weekend and I had a blast! The course was a bit of a challenge but all the support and safety provided made it so much better! Everyone was so friendly and supportive, cheering every runner on! Absolutely love the Hokie Half! I’d love to keep running! Just gotta strengthen my hips and body and slowly get back into training for my next race. 🙂 Thanks for always inspiring me to do my best and motivating me to challenge myself!

    1. I loved getting to run with you, and really enjoyed getting to be with you the whole way during your first half. So glad you had a great time! Get that hip feeling better so you can get back out there… you’ll have to tell me what your next race is. I hadn’t heard you had a ‘next’ one already 😉

  7. You got some great photos! I tried to snap a few but they didn’t come out nearly as well as yours. I love the shirts too. I opted for the no frills option this year and am kind of regretting it haha. Congratulations to your sister on her first half and kudos for tackling such a tough course! I seriously can’t imagine that being my first half, those hills are no joke!

    1. I almost opted for no frills, too, as the shirts haven’t been my favorite the past two years. But I’m glad I didn’t. If you do want a race shirt, I’m sure RunAbout is selling extras!

      She sure picked a tough one for her first race, huh? 🙂 I hope you had a great race! The weather was the best it’s been out of the three years they’ve had this race.

      1. That’s a good point! I’ll have to check with them and see if they have any left.

        The weather was SO nice! My husband and I ran it last year, that was his first half and he was so miserable in the rain that there was no way he wanted to do it this year. I think I remember him showing up in your pics last year, he was the tall bright yellow poncho guy 😉

      2. I remembered your husband being in a few of my pictures as soon as you mentioned that y’all both ran the race last year. Too funny!

  8. What a great action selfie 🙂 You both look great! Congrats to your sister on her first half! It was a really nice day and it looks like a great course. I am sure she appreciated having you pace her. Congrats to Barry on a great finish time 😉

  9. How neat to be able to run with your sister and for her very first one too! Memories right there!I so wish my sister would want to run, she is walking everyday so hey that’s a plus! This race route looks just beautiful and you’re right the swag was pretty great too! So very glad you linked this post up this week, Girly you wrap up any post and link it, I always enjoy reading what you write! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  10. Congrats to your sister for pushing through the hip pain and finishing her first half! She is lucky to have you to encourage and support her along the way! Great job you two!

  11. What a great recap of one of my favorite races! I’m bummed that it didn’t fit into my fall racing plans, especially since Roger was there. It would have been fun to have a cheering section! Congrats to R. Hope her hip heals quickly and she has the running bug now.

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