The Omaha (Half) Marathon
With Covid-19 still looming in the air most races across the country have either been cancelled, postponed or gone virtual. However, The Omaha (Half) Marathon was one of the exceptions. Runners could choose between a Full or Half Marathon, 10k, 5k and a Friends and Family Mile. Their race motto is "a distance for everyone! (TM)" and this year 650 participants crossed the finish line between all of the races. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant about attending this event but the race organizers were able to make some modifications and things worked out.
We registered for the race back in February before we realized how serious this pandemic was going to become. The cost of the Half Marathon was $70. They also offer a military discount at $10 off. A portion of the registration fee goes to a local Omaha charity called Partnership 4 Kids which is a non-profit youth development group. We stayed at one of the host hotels, Cambria Hotel, and were able to take advantage of the race group discount. The hotel was in a perfect location only 2 blocks from the TD Ameritrade Park which was the start and finish of the race as well as the location for the packet pickup/expo. We had a nice view from our hotel room of the Park which also plays host to the College World Series. The race this year was on Sunday September 20th with the packet pickup the day before. One of the obvious Covid-19 precautions was that all participants had to wear a mask to enter the packet pickup area which was outdoors. Inside our swag bag was our long sleeve gender specific tech race shirt, a PowerBar gaiter for those who needed a facemask/neck warmer for the race, a packet of PowerBar energy chews, our race number of course and our finisher's medal. This is the first time I have received a finisher's medal before the race but again, that was another Covid-19 precaution which limited personal contact among runners and volunteers. There were only a handful of venders at the expo but we were able to find the perfect purchase of some running socks while we were there.
Following race tradition we went out for Italian food the night before. We choose Lo Sole Mio which was already on my list of restaurants to visit but when one of the race volunteers recommended it that sealed the deal. They do not take reservations but we only ended up waiting for about 10 minutes mostly because the restaurant was seating every other table to keep the physical distancing. We started off with a Calamari Calabrese for appetizer and Dave had the Lasagna as usual, and I ordered the Pasta Michelangelo. We then took a tiramisu back to the hotel room along with another order of Spaghetti and Meatballs for the next day, also tradition.
Now for Race Day:
The Half Marathon had a start time of 7:45am but due to more precautions it was a little delayed. There were six corrals and depending on your projected race time you get to pick which one to start from. We choose corral 3. Prior to entering the corral our temperature was taken and we had to have a facemask on. A friend of mine gave me an UnderArmour SportsMask for the race and it worked out great, plus it kept my nose warm in the 58 degree weather. Not very cold, but for us coming from South Florida cold enough. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher would be denied access. The corrals were also large enough so that everyone was able to keep a 6 foot separation.
When it came time for our corral to enter the starting line everyone calmly walked over to the street where X's were drawn in chalk at 6 foot intervals. Six participants left the starting line every 15 seconds and we were encouraged keep our distance at all times throughout the race.
The 13.1 course was an out and back route and most of it was through residential areas. As far as scenery during the run goes, there wasn't much. We did however run along the Steve Hogan Golf Course which was beautiful. Aid Stations with porta potties were located approximately every 2 miles. Mini water bottles were provided to runners rather then cups of water or energy drink. The race photographers, Captivating Sports Photos were scattered at 3 different locations. We almost always purchase our race photos and this event was no exception. As we entered the finish line we were handed a bag of recovery goodies and a water bottle. Runners were encouraged to exit the finish area as quickly as possible in order to make room for the upcoming runners.
The Omaha Marathon was nicely put together and safely accomplished during these tough Covid-19 times. I'm sure on a normal year the attendance would have been larger but this worked for us, bigger is not always better. Mark your calendars, next year's 46th annual Omaha Marathon is scheduled for Sunday September 19th, 2021!