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Maine Coast Half Marathon, Andy at the finish

Maine Coast Half Marathon 2024

On May 4th, I ran the Maine Coast Half Marathon in Wells, Maine.

We had perfect weather and the coarse was a beautiful tour through the seaside towns of Wells and Ogunquit.

Off to Maine

The race started at 7AM and it’s about a two-hour drive from Boston. Getting up at 4AM for a two-hour drive did not seem like a good idea, so I drove up Friday night after work.

This time of year Friday night traffic headed to Maine isn’t bad. I left just after 4PM and was able to make it to bib pickup around 6PM.

The crowd wasn’t too bad and the volunteers had me set up in no time. When I asked about getting to the race start from my motel, they all said they were not from around here.

The bib pickup was also the finish area for the race so I looked around to get the lay of the land. A lot of the food and water were set up already under tents and there were benches to sit on after the race.

I also saw that we would be running around this area on a sand/gravel road to finish the race. So when I entered the area from the road, I knew the finish was still a few hundred feet away. Good to know when you are totally exhausted and wondering where the finish line is.

Then I headed back to my motel which was about three miles away. On a map it looks walkable, but I knew it would not be a good idea on race day.

I was at the Ner Beach Motel which is right on the main drag in Wells. The room was a classic Maine motel experience: basic but comfortable. Coffee maker, microwave and a large fridge for a motel. I imagined it being full of beer and snacks when a family stayed there for summer vacation.

Ner Beach Motel, Wells, Maine

I opened my laptop to get oriented. And while I did figure out the closest shuttle bus pick up, I also started doing email! I soon realized it was almost 7PM and if I wanted food I better get going.

Getting Ready for the Maine Half Marathon

I started collecting my running gear and checking the weather on Wednesday. Weather on the Maine Coast is unknowable so I had to prepare for likely conditions.

The forecast had a slight chance of rain with temps in the mid 50’s. It also looked like overcast or scattered clouds. While I forgot to bring sunscreen, I did think about it.

When I left for Maine I was well prepared for the likely conditions.

While I had my running supplies, I still needed dinner and breakfast as I sat in my room going through email.

Around 7PM I headed east on Post Road to find a grocery store and a restaurant. I recalled passing at least two grocery stores and many restaurants.

As I wandered around Hannaford’s it occurred to me how foolish it is to walk around a grocery store without a plan. What did I need? What did I want?

The sandwiches didn’t look fresh enough to take a chance and I couldn’t cook anything in my room.

I got a few snacks, blueberry muffins and some beer! Not my best shopping trip, but at least I didn’t buy anything too foolish!

Las Olas, tacos, burritos, Wells, Maine

I drove by seafood and fast food restaurants and spotted a burrito shop called Las Olas.

As I walked up to the door I could see a long line. I thought about trying somewhere else, but a long line usually means good food. And it was true!

I got two soft corn tacos and ate them in my room with one beer. Vary tasty!

Somehow saying “soft corn” out loud in public seems wrong.

Off to the Maine Half Marathon

I’m not a great sleeper and the bed in my room was just okay. I slept some but finished breakfast well before my 5AM alarm.

My clothes were ready to go and I just had to make sure all my stuff made it back into the car.

The shuttle buses didn’t start until 5AM, so I waited.

The night before I drove past the Wells Middle School and so knew it was about two miles from the motel. I also knew there was a Dunkins on the way.

Getting the lay of the land the night before helped reduce my stress. I knew where I was going and about how long it would take. Two miles at 5AM is minutes.

Dunkin Donuts, Dunkins, Wells, Maine

When I pulled in I wasn’t sure they were open, but it is Dunks and it was 5AM. After I took this picture another car pulled in and someone went inside. I grabbed a large coffee and used the facilities.

I was at the middle school in about two minutes and was directed to the large lot outback. There were about 10 cars and the shuttle buses had not started yet.

I didn’t want to leave my warm car until at least 5:30 since I didn’t know the conditions at the start area. Standing around in a cool breeze for an hour didn’t seem like the best way to start my race.

I could see buses starting to leave from the lot in front of the school. We all seemed to have the same idea and around 5:30 most of us headed to the loading area.

The ride was less than five miles from the lot to the end of the peninsula where the race began.

Maine Half Marathon -Pre Race

None of us seemed to know the area. When we got to the end of the road we saw a large start sign and thought this was our stop, but it was for the 5K.

We took a left and went out the peninsula another mile to a large parking lot for a marina.

The first indication I had of the size of this race was the port-potties. There must have been 25, plus the public rest rooms. Even then I thought maybe 500 people were running the half and maybe the same running the Maine Coast Marathon on Sunday.

Maine Coast Half, Maine Coast Marathon

So that was great to see, and they had some water for us.

Of course the first person I talked to was from Winchester, MA. We ran some of the same roads and hills. This was his fourth half and he had never run a marathon.

The guy was running 40 miles per week and was probably in his thirties. I told him he was most of the way there and to go for it.

Around 6:30 I said, have a good run, and headed for the bag drop. It was time to get my head in the game.

I checked my gear, dropped my bag and went to the start area to stretch a bit.

At 6:45 the MC started calling people to the start. The porta-potty lines were still long and school buses kept coming down the road.

Maine Coast Half Marathon 2024
Great looking shirt, or what?

I was 50 yards from the start and turned around to see how many people were behind me. It looked like several thousand easily and the buses were still coming!

I was way too forward in the shoot for a race this big. I walked into the crowd a bit and decided to let people walk around me when they called us to the start. These people were going to run me over!

Around 7AM when we expected the start, the MC said they were delaying the start a bit as many buses were still on the way.

Me and another runner traded war stories about being late for races, or being in a port-potty when a race started. You learn to avoid those situations!

We also realized that the race couldn’t start until all of the buses arrived as we were running down the same narrow road. There wasn’t room for us and them.

Around 7:10 they sang the National Anthem and started the race around 7:15. I crossed the start at 7:19.

Running The Maine Half Marathon

The start was very congested and stayed congested for the first mile. We all seemed to be running the same pace and there was very little passing or jostling.

Some people were in front of their homes waving and they all seemed happy to see us.

The slow pace was a good way to warm up and kept me from going out too fast.

After the first mile the crowd thinned enough to start hitting my stride.

The first four and a half miles were right on the shore with plenty of great views of the Atlantic ocean and marsh on either side of the road.

The road was mostly level and well paved with no pot holes to look out for.


  • Mile 1 9:47
  • Mile 2 9:07
  • Mile 3 9:12
  • Mile 4 9:09

At about mile four the paved road ended and we were on a gravel road going past the waste water plant and then took a right onto a wooden bridge over the marsh. Really beautiful!

At the end of the bridge a small crowd was there to cheer us on!

The Middle Miles

Miles four through six had some rolling hills and I picked up some speed around the mile 6 marker. Around 6.25 miles we took a left back onto the shore road and took a left just before mile seven.

At mile 7.7 we were running up a slight incline towards Rt. 1 and I felt the first drops of sweat roll down my cheek. I knew I wasn’t dehydrated because I’d been paying attention and doing the right things.

Between the air temperature and the breeze, I just wasn’t sweating that much. as we got onto Rt. 1 and hit the mile 8 marker, sweat began to drip from the brim of my hat.

Maine Coast Half 2024, Maine Half Marathon

At this point in the race I had finished one water bottle and had most of the second one left. I also had about half of my Snickers bar left.

I had been hitting the water stops and didn’t feel much need for my sports drink or food. But I knew I needed more than water to finish strong.

I was beginning to feel tired but nothing hurt. It was down to how much I wanted it.

My rough calculations indicated the possibility of a two-hour finish! 2:05 was definitely in the cards, under two-hours was not.

So I ate some chocolate and washed it down with orange sports drink. Yum!

At about 8.3 miles we turned off of Rt. 1 onto Eldridge Road.

There had been spectators along most of the way but around Eldridge Road there seemed like a few hundred people. Way cool!

Eldridge Road was mostly down hill and my average pace was still around 9:19.

Finishing The Maine Half Marathon

Eldridge Road put us back onto the shore road we started on. Then around mile 10 we split off onto the road next to the marsh and then took a left onto Mile Road back across the marsh and up to Rt. 1 again.

We hit mile 11 just before turning right onto Rt. 1.

Just 2.1 miles to go! Now it really was down to how much I wanted it.

This mile up Rt. 1 was actually up in that we gained 71 feet. Some people started walking and some looked to be in distress. I didn’t see any one getting medical attention and didn’t hear any sirens, so I think everyone was okay.

Mile twelve was my slowest mile at 9:40, but I do love my hills!

As we passed the Wells Junior High School I could almost see my car in the back lot.

With that thought still in my mind, we took a right onto South Street. I took this road to pick up my bib. Now it really did seem like we were close!

We were now running the 13th and final full mile of the race.

I still had sports drink and took some. I wanted to have some kick for the finish!

At about 12.5 miles we turned onto Morrison Ave and then Harbor Road back through the marsh.

As the road turned through the marsh we could hear the finish area. But with high bushes on the sides of the road we couldn’t see much.

I got into a bit of a foot race with a young lady the last mile or so and ran mile 13 at 8:54! I was running at 100% but it was comfortable.

When we hit mile 13 I remembered the run on the sandy road we had to do once we entered the finish area. We were going to be over 13.1 miles.

My watch hit two-hours just before mile 13. I wasn’t going to hit two-hours today and if the course was long I might not even hit 2:05.

All I could do is run faster.

The entrance into Wells Harbor Park was a single lane which crowded us. We were also running on gravel and sand with dips and ruts.

I had hopes of coming in under 2:05 and my friend was still with me and pushing hard. So I ran the last 0.37 miles at 8:42 pace. Most of that acceleration was from the kick in the last 200 yards.

As I approached the finish line the clock was 2:03 or so. While this was mildly disappointing, I also knew the course was long.

  • Mile 5 9:20
  • Mile 6 9:02
  • Mile 7 9:15
  • Mile 8 9:33
  • Mile 9 9:04
  • Mile 10 9:18
  • Mile 11 9:20
  • Mile 12 9:40
  • Mile 13 8:54

Apre Maine Half Marathon 2024

It felt great to finish and I felt good about the run.

The entire race I was ahead of my pace and often tried to hold back. I did everything I could think such as watching my pace and slowing down and getting behind people.

My first mile was 9:47 but with each mile my average time dropped way below what I expected.

At the 7.4K mark my official pace was 9:15. That is my 10K goal pace at this point in my training. And I felt pretty good.

My official finish time was 2:03:49 at a 9:28 pace. With the added distance, Garmin shows a pace of 9:16.

When I checked my watch the distance was 13.37 miles, a full quarter mile too long!

I found this surprising since the mile markers were extremely accurate. My watch hit mile 1 right at the sign and the rest were off by 100’s of a mile. It doesn’t get much better than that.

After the race I didn’t really talk to anyone and didn’t want to start a conversation bitching about the course. Overall, it was a great course and a great race.

There were 2,035 runners and I finished 712 overall, and 33rd out of 84 men in my age bracket.

A great day to be in Maine!

Run well my Friends,

Andy, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0


6 responses to “Maine Coast Half Marathon 2024”

  1. Jane Fritz Avatar

    Great race report, Andy. Iโ€™m beyond impressed with your distance and your phenomenal time. Not quite as impressed by your pre-race food choices! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ I had a hip replacement in Sept after a few years of not even being able to walk far, and now trying to get back into running with a 5K next weekend. I think my half marathon days are over, but maybe I can work up to a 10K. Congratulations on a great race!

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      Hi Jane,
      Food was my mistake on this run, but everything worked out.
      Time got away from me and I just had to go get some food.
      I’m running another half in this area in June. Hoping things work out as well at that race.

  2. Harold Avatar

    You done great and sounds like you had a fun day ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      Hi Harold,
      Everything worked out and it was a great day and a great race.
      Hope all is well with you.

  3. Donna Avatar

    Great job! For my half marathon in Maine, I ran in Portland during the summer (July, I think) and as expected, it was hot, on top of all of the hills. Maine is a beautiful state, though!

    1. OmniRunner Avatar

      It’s hot just about everywhere in July, even Maine!
      I grew up in Maine, so I’m partial. But it is a beautiful state and running along the shore was great.
      Appreciate your comment.