March 30, 2016

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

In March each year, the Asheville Marathon & Half Marathon is held on the historic Biltmore Estate grounds. Biltmore is America's largest home and is a private estate owned by the Vanderbilt family. It's over a 7 hour drive from the Baltimore area down to Asheville, NC so we decided to fly and make it into a little trip for my spring break.  This was definitely the prettiest race I've ever run!    

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

The race is at capped at 1,400 runners in the half on Saturday and another 1,400 runners in the marathon on Sunday, as well as the option to run a back-to-back race challenge over the weekend.  The Expo was pretty small and a little unorganized but convenient to get to. I picked up my bib on Friday and then spent the rest of the day relaxing in Asheville.  

Pre-Race: My boyfriend's sister was running this race as her first half marathon so we got to the race extra early. We bought tickets to take the shuttle from a local hotel onto the race grounds to be safe and avoid any traffic or parking issues getting on the estate grounds.  

It was actually pretty nice because we hung out in the Biltmore Village on the grounds so I got to use a real bathroom and had a place to sit before heading to the start line. It was a little chillier than I expected before the sun came up, but I knew that temperatures would be close to 70 degrees as the high for the day. 

 I was rocking a Lululemon Run Swiftly tank, Lululemon speed shorts, Pro Compression shamrock socks, Bondiband headband, November Project buff, and the Mizuno Wave Catalyst running shoes.    

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-race outfit

As the sun came up over the grounds, it was already scenic and beautiful! 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-sunrise

I was really excited to #sharethespark with my boyfriend's sister and give her a little Momentum Jewelry motivation for her first half marathon! 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-momentum-jewelry-sharethespark

I got to meet some fellow Team Nuun ladies and snap a quick photo with them before the race, which was so much fun! I had a banana and peanut butter along with some Nuun as I was getting dressed and then ate a Munk Pack squeeze before heading to the start line. Since the race was limited to only 1400 participants, there were no corrals and lining up was very quick & stress-free.  

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

Race: Overall the race was beautiful and hilly. The first 6 miles included a gradual incline up to the Biltmore House with lots of steep hills and downhills on winding roads. I was definitely feeling like I need to run more hills in my workouts! I tried to keep a steady pace and stay strong while going a little slower uphill and making up for my pace on the downhills.  It was my first race of the spring race season and of 2016 so I tried to really enjoy the run.   

Check out that fun elevation! 

Asheville Half Marathon Elevation Chart
At around mile 7 we got to run right in front of the Biltmore house and then there is a little downhill relief that felt wonderful, despite being really fast.  The remainder of the race is running around the wooded areas on the grounds on a dirt trail.  It was a little more rocky of a trail than I had been prepared for but luckily was fairly flat. At this point, the sun was definitely shining and the temperature was warming up. I was really glad I had gone for a tank top!  

There was plenty of fluids and gels on the half marathon course. I was really excited because at several water stops they had water, gatorade AND Nuun Hydration! I didn't carry any water with me so it was fantastic I could drink some Nuun.  There were various volunteer groups who were really enthusiastic and great volunteers. Spectators were only allowed at certain points on the course because of the estate restrictions so it was really nice to get some cheers along the way.  

 I was definitely struggling a little around mile 8, which is always a hard mile for me in half marathons. I found a group of a few people who were encouraging and decided to stick with them until halfway through mile 11.  They were asking every runner passing them if they were Green Bay Packers football fans, which was fun. It made me feel a little bit better that the whole group of them decided with the hilly course it definitely wasn't a PR day for any of them!  I slowed down my pace along with this group around mile 10 and decided to just stick with it. 

At mile 11 and a 1/2 when I broke away from the group, I was feeling like I could run faster and decided to finish the race really strong.  I pushed it at the end and apparently looked really strong at the end of the race.  It was really beautiful to turn around the last corner and run my way to the finish line. 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-finishline

I finished the race in 1:42:30, which was good enough for 15th female overall and 5th in my age group. It's actually a better time than I thought and certainly pretty solid for a hillier race! After the race I received my medal and fleece finisher's blanket.  I put on my Miles and Pace shamrock green trucker hat and grabbed some water and a banana.  Now I was covered in sweat and definitely feeling the heat.  I totally forgot to put sunscreen on and ended up getting a nice burn on my shoulders and back (note to self-never forget sunscreen!). 

We waited for my boyfriend's sister to finish-who rocked the race and beat her goal time! 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-finish

The finish was in the same place at the start by the Biltmore Village. It looked absolutely picturesque on this sunny day with clear skies. They had a little finisher's area with food, drinks, and massages up the hill. It was nice because everything was easy to get to and accessible due to the small field of runners. 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-biltmorevillage

My boyfriend and I had lots of fun looking at the goats and baby goats but then I started to get real hungry, and you don't want to mess with a hungry runner!

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

Eventually we headed back to Asheville to spend some time hanging out on the patio at Mellow Mushroom where I ate an entire little pizza aka my idea of a great time. 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-mellow-mushroom

Swag: At packet pickup with the race I received my bib which was personalized with my name, a race shirt, pair of gloves, and a cute buff.  Like I mentioned, the finishers received a fleece blanket when they finished the race. I also purchased a pair of Balega socks that went to charity that are neon yellow and say "Asheville Marathon & Half "on them for $6 at the expo to support those good causes. The medal made of a little piece of wood which was unique and a nice touch. 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-swag

Overall: The Asheville Marathon & Half Marathon at The Biltmore is a fantastic event! The half marathon will sell out so if you think you want to run it, don't hesitate to register.  I think it is a really unique event and probably the only time you can actual run in front of the Biltmore House.  The on-course organization, nice swag, and beautiful scenery make it a slightly challenging, but overall awesome event.  

Have you ever run a race in a unique location? 

This post was linked up with Run Megan Run's Weekly Workout Recap


  1. Awesome job on the race! Beautiful scenery!

  2. Great recap! This sounds like a really awesome event. I went to the Biltmore on vacation as a kid and would love to go back. I love that they had Balega socks with the charities on them, that is a really great touch! This race is going on my to-do list!

  3. Sounds like a great race! 7 hours is a long drive...not sure I could handle that long in the car! But it looks like it would be worth it, as long as you could stay for a few days.

  4. I'm so jealous. It looked beautiful and like a wonderful time. Great job on a great finish. I heard the course was kind of brutal. You continue to amaze me. Great job, friend!

  5. I ran the other Asheville Half marathon (in June) a couple years ago for the inaugural year. I never looked at the course elevation ahead of time and it was brutal. However, it certainly made me train really hard for Boston the following April since I do not have hills where I live.