Race Preview: 2015 Heart Breaker Half

Depending on your relationship status, Valentine's Day can be a time of torment or happiness. Most of the standard fare associated with that Hallmark holiday are trivial and disposable. A true gift to an athletic minded couple might be best presented as the chance to run together, or at least enter the same event. Occurring the day after, on Sunday the 15th, the Heart Breaker Half, (also including a 10K, 5K, and kids dash), is potentially a great, romantic way to show true love while contributing to a great cause. AA Sports is both the timing company and direct this February race, and they do a great job contributing to high school sports programs. Just another good reason to head out to Liberty High School in Hillsboro for this event.

The fun gets started at the typical hour of 8 am with the half marathon. Run on a figure eight course, the event is open to runners and walkers. A unique feature is the Heart Breaker hill, a 1  mile section of the course that is timed independently with a special prize for the fastest person. The elevation map shows that it is a bit….challenging (Editor’s Note: it is NOT unmanageable. The hill does loom large and steeply climb, but shouldn’t be a dealbreaker by any means). It begins at Liberty High School, as stated above, and traverses rural roads, which means great views. It also boasts a finish on the track which may result in some faster than normal finishing kicks. Support will be plentiful, with five aid stations. Fifteen minutes later, the 10K begins, and its course is over a section of the halfs. Consisting of only one loop, it is described as mostly flat with moderate hills. The 5K is billed as flat and fast, touring a business park. It starts at 8:20.

Both Matt and Anne participated in the 2014 event and had no heartbreaks. Here are some snippets from their experience:

Anne:

THE GOOD

  • Having access to a large, heated gym with expo-style gear and food options was fabulous

  • The medals were large and lovely on a screenprinted satin ribbon

  • Post-race food was AMAZING. In addition to the usual bread, government ration peanut butter, and orange wedges, there was strawberry shortcake and an oatmeal station with maple syrup, chocolate chips, and milk.

  • Near the end, one of the high school volunteers on the course (who apparently has a very bright future in entertainment) was making cracks that were actually funny and doing dramatic, karaoke-style reinterpretations of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” (“Whoa! You’re halfway there. Whooaa!! Livin’ on a pra-yer!”)

  • Gorgeous course on a nationally designated scenic route

  • Extremely cooperative weather, especially considered the foul forecast

Matt:

I took to the streets and entered some rolling hills through the Hillsboro countryside. I have never really been over in this area before, and considering that we started a stone’s throw from Highway 26, quiet and green farmland was a surprisingly welcome sight. The course itself had a decent amount of elevation fluidity to it – without really going over the line. It was not exactly a “flat” race, but was not exactly challenging.

The only real major challenge was “Heartbreaker Hill”, a 1-mile climb of 193 feet only accessible for half marathoners. Beginning between miles 3-4, a decent hike took place. There were even timing mats for this section, as a  challenge was made and the top 5 fastest male and female runners over this mile section would receive a seperate prize. I had an urge to take off sprinting- but obviously thought better of it. The timing section was a full mile, but the climb was not a straight climb this entire time. There were some stretches of relatively level running, so it was not as scary as I anticipated.

At the bottom of the decline was an open valley with a giant raised railroad section high in the air. I found this area truly mesmerizing, made even more beautiful by the sun peeking through the clouds and bouncing off the water on the sides of the road. It was awesome.

We are less than two months away, so of course registration is open. Online, or through the mail, early registration must be received by February 7th. If registered before January 26th, a long sleeve cotton shirt is included. Currently the pricing is as follows:

Half-Marathon Run/Walk  $55

10K Run/Walk  $40

5K Run/Walk  $30

Kids’ 1-mile Dash $12

2014 medal

Late registration at packet pick up or event day is $10 extra. To reduce waste, they are are also offering finishers medals as an add on, you can order one for $6, but there is a limited quantity. In a nod to comfort, the post race fun will be held inside the school, and will include an expo, music, awards, food, and more! Awards will be in the normal format, for overall and age group winners, and these events will be chip timed.

I don’t know how I have missed this event in the past, as I know several running buddies that have attended. It comes off as very well organized, and the biggest incentives to me personally are the Sunday the 15th event date (because Sundays are usually boring), focus on a big hill (I love hills), indoor festivities at Liberty High School (no rain!), and a good cause. Prices are normal for a race of this size, especially if you beat the late registration deadline. The tough part may be choosing which distance to toe the line for!

 

Heart Breaker Half (Hillsboro)

When: Sunday, February 15

Where: Liberty High School

Register: Online here or mail-in;

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