From Starkville to Gulf Shores: Part 1

img_0722So, as soon as you see a Part 1, if you guess that Jennifer is doing another Back 2 Back weekend, then you have guessed correctly. January  25 and 26 saw us traveling to Starkville MS for the Chick-Fil-A Starkville Frostbite Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday followed by a trip to Gulf Shores for Big Beach Marathon and Half Marathon.  Road trip!!

 

First stop is Frostbite. Normally, I would say this race lives up to its name, being in the middle of January and all. But, this year the weather cooperated somewhat!  Not nearly as cold but nippy just the same. Starkville is the Home of Mississippi State University and the birthplace home of Bullie the Cowbell.

So, Bullie was really excited about visiting! He even got a chance to see a bunch of his brethren, young Cowbells being given a forever home as awards for finishers who placed in age groups and overall categories.  And I was in Cowbell Heaven!

If you are in Starkville you better like the colors of Maroon and White as well.  State fans are everywhere! A quick stop by Bully Cafe and we were good to go!

Jennifer was bundled up and ready to go. The course started in Downtown Starkville and made its way through a neighborhood and onto the campus of MSU. After winding through the campus there was an out and back into the country then back to downtown and the finish. 

Overall the course had good aid support and some decent crowd support. On campus, there were a group of young people from PineLake Baptist Church cheering like there was no tomorrow. It was actually a Discipleship Now weekend for these high school teenagers! The cheering was part of their service commitment for the weekend. They learned the joy of sharing and encouraging other, something every runner needs!

img_0787At the finish, each Half Marathoner was treated to some hot soup at the Souper Bowl, a event in conjunction with Frost Bite. Served hot,  you could chase away the winter chills with a taste-off of delicious soups from local restaurants! Local eateries presented their best and most innovative soup recipes as ticket-holders voted on which concoctions deserved to be among the hottest in Starkville! Paige Watson, organizer of the Souper Bowl, told me it was a fundraiser for the Starkville Main Street Association. The association assist in beautification efforts and the promotion of downtown events and more. 

Besides soup, they had beer! And, while strolling around the finish line, you see a few cute dogs… and then… a bulldog! While not the real Bully, a bulldog is a bulldog and we had to have a picture of course!! Had a great time meeting Karen Mullis and Clarence Cooper, both on the course and at the finish. These are the kind of people that you find at half marathon events.  Just having fun… and lots of it. The kind of people you want to hang with! And then there is MS Bonniee! She is a 73 year old runner who we have seen at a number of races across Mississippi and beyond. She is an inspiration!

Having a daughter who graduated State, Bullie, Jennifer and I decided a few pictures on the way out of town was just what we needed before heading south to Gulf Shores, AL for tomorrow’s Big Beach Half Marathon!

 

 

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