We did it! I had no idea what to expect, but hooping a half marathon is unlike any other experience! Even just to watch all of the pink hoops move along the course is quite a site. We had so many runners and walkers who passed us going the other direction where the course looped around, who would literally stop with open mouths and stare in amazement, or who would take our pictures and cheer for us!
When we arrived at the start line, we found out they started the race 15 minutes early! We had to quickly get our groups together (herding 70+ people and support crew!) and get to the last corral. Mother Nature was threatening us with severe weather, so the race organizers got things off to an early start. It was warm, but breezy and sunny as we started our journey. We crossed the start line with everyone, hoops in the air.
The we continued along the course, bringing smiles and cheers along the way. There were several bands along the course and each one remembered the group from last year and usually changed up the songs to include “hoopers.” (a la “Hey Hoopers, you’re so fine! You’re so fine, you blow my mind! Hey Hoopers!” – Mickey was jealous!)
But after we rounded mile 7, it was clear that Mother Nature was ready to make her debut. It began to rain. Then pour. Then somewhere around mile 9, we found out that they were shutting down the course and picking people up off of the course. We picked up the pace and hauled it, hoops and all, towards the finish line with the paddy wagon and ambulance following us for the next 3 miles. Police urged us to seek shelter, but by mile 12 they realized we’d made it that far, we just had to keep going!
We crossed in the torrential rain, massive wind gusts, and soaking wet clothes and hoops, but we did it! I’m so incredibly proud of each of my team members! If anyone ever mentions I’m a hard core athlete for running long distances, I will correct them that hula hooping a half marathon in severe weather (enough to cause tornadoes nearby) is what makes me hard core.
(Photos courtesy of my amazing hooping teammates. Video to follow!)