Review: USA Beach Running Championships – Cocoa Beach, FL (May 1, 2016)

Ran and Written by John Bacon

If a 10k or half marathon run completely on flat, packed sand with a fantastic ocean view isn’t enough to make your day, an after party featuring mimosas and pizza certainly will. On May 1st, Floridians dominated the US Beach Running Championships at Cocoa Beach, but there were some out-of-state champs and everyone had fun in the sun. I’ll drink to that!

The half drew about 220 brave souls, almost 1,000 turned out for the 10k.

Hats off – there were free ones!  – to organizer Mitch Varner. The race was well run, and although the website warned of tight parking, it seemed to work out even for late arrivals.

It was warm, 76 degrees at the start to about 80 by the time I finished 152 minutes later. That was slow for me but good enough to claim victory for Virginia in the men’s 55-59 age group. I’m not sure what I won, but the hats, shirts and medals were quality as well.

USA Beach Running Championships
USA Beach Running Championships

“I had never run in sand before and it was hotter than I expected,” women’s half winner Constance Perry of Baltimore told ‘Florida Today.’ “You got hit by the wind early in the race, so it was harder going out than coming back.”

It was easier coming back, but also hotter. The last of the clouds were gone when I made the turn, so it was blazing sun all the way back. Wisely, there were plenty of water stops to keep everyone hydrated.

The half started a few minutes late, which made me nervous because I wanted to get as much of the run in before the clouds departed. But organizers I am sure wanted to ensure that everyone was on the beach.

One minor complaint – the long line for much-needed food the half runners faced because the 10k people had obviously finished already. But that can happen at any race.

The bottom line was that Mitch organized a blast of a race. A special tip of my new hat to him for including me after I botched my entry.

Sun, sand mimosas, hundred of great folks. What’s not to like?!

You can read more about the winners and check out a photodeck at Florida Today.

Course Location
Pretty Sweet Course Location

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