Christmas Corral Half Marathon
Half marathon #23
December 22, 2018
In addition to the annual Rodeo Run that I direct every year in my hometown of Pretty Prairie, I added this first-time event as a cold weather course preview to the new half marathon I’m going to add to the Rodeo Run in 2019.
I expected a really low turnout, as I didn’t put half the effort into marketing that I do for Rodeo Run. I was hopeful we’d get 20 runners in the half marathon, plus another 30 or so in the 4 Mile, giving us 50 or so total.
My personal race prep the night before.
Boy howdy, was I off.
We wound up with 63 finishers in the half marathon and 44 in the 4 Mile. What a turnout!
I ordered some finisher mugs, made some signs for the turns, set out some water and snacks, offered hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and music at the finish. Not a ton of work, to be honest.
Aid station 2.
I’m thrilled with the turnout we got and that everyone seemed to really enjoy the event.
And of course, I had to run, too. Peep the bib number, Holmes.
As for running, I just missed out on a sub-two, but I had zero expectations and ran more consistently and steadily than I imagined I would. Much of that is thanks to running and chatting the whole way with my friend Sheila Meggers and another runner I just met during the race.
I also listened to Christmas music the entire race, so that was fun. I really love Christmas, you guys.
Some of my friends shortly after the start — and shortly before they zoomed by me.
Early race shot by PPUMC Pastor, Christopher Eshelman.
More consistent splits than I expected:
8:29, 8:50, 9:08, 9:12, 9:12, 9:10, 9:20, 9:15, 9:46, 9:35, 9:38, 9:24, 9:04, 7:43 (0.19)
I expected to do a good amount of walking, but didn’t. I stopped to get a quick drink of water twice and Gatorade with a cookie at the aid station — which just happened to be at the end of my childhood driveway. How awesome is that?
I had a shot to break two hours and contemplated going for it, but after the strong headwinds hit around mile 10, it wasn’t going to happen. I was the first finisher after the two-hour mark, so there’s that.
I finished 18th overall out of 63. Not mad about it in the least.
At the end of the day, it was a good event that left many feeling like they’d earned their holiday treats.
Bryant was tuckered out.
Loved getting to see so many friends, but wish I would’ve gotten pictures with more of them.
I just love hosting events, especially in my hometown. Always grateful to see how many people are willing to support not only a good cause — but me as well. I have great friends, you guys.
I’m not sure I could be any happier with how this event turned out.
My mug and bib, post-race.
Always good to be back here.
See you in July, folks.
Finally: I wrote up a little article for the local Ninnescah Valley News on the race. Read it below, if you like:
White wins inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon
If you were dreaming of a White Christmas, you got your wish at the inaugural Christmas Corral Half Marathon + 4 Mile race in Pretty Prairie on December 22.
No, there was no snow. In fact, the weather conditions were quite favorable for a run save for a bit of wind in the later miles.
But Josh White, 41, of Pretty Prairie, ran a speedy 1:28:14 to win the half marathon race by nearly seven minutes over second place finisher, Elmer Schlaback of Goshen, Indiana.
Sheryl Collins of Wichita was the overall female winner, finishing with a time of 1:42:11.
The course went over well with participants.
“For my first open half marathon, I thought the course was great,” White said after his win. “There was just enough dirt running versus pavement and gradual hills to keep you moving! The course was marked well and there were plenty of hydration stations throughout the race.”
White wasn’t the only Pretty Prairie native to have success in the inaugural event. Tristan England, 16, was the official winner in the four-mile distance with a time of 31:37 after a runner ahead of him all the way from Billings, Montana unfortunately missed a turn and cut the course, resulting in disqualification.
Claire Theis of Hays was just a few seconds behind England, finishing in 31:41 as the overall female winner.
The event was billed a low-key, low-cost holiday affair with a finisher mug, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and music inside the PPHS cafeteria following the race. The participant count ballooned up higher than expected and feedback was positive.
The half marathon saw 63 finishers, while the four-mile distance had 44 participants cross the finish line. All in all, participants from 10 states took part. In addition to Kansas, other states represented included Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, Montana and Alaska.
“It’s awesome to have an event like this in our small hometown to bring people together and to give back,” White added. “Derrick did an excellent job coordinating the event. Many thanks to him and all the volunteers that made it happen!”
In addition to his win, White stuck around until the very last participant crossed the finish line and even used his connections to ensure that Santa Claus made an appearance.
The new winter event was used as a preview to the new distance being offered at the 2019 Rodeo Run, which is now open for online registration. The event will also feature a bike option for the first time ever.
Profits from Christmas Corral will go to improve the quality of the annual Rodeo Run, while any excess from both events will go to the PPHS cross country and track programs.
For any questions about the Christmas Corral or Rodeo Run events, contact Derrick Mead at firstname.lastname@example.org.