By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

Last year I ran the Modesto Midnight Half Marathon, and blogged about it here.  I swore that I would never run it again, and I didn’t.  However, last night was Year 2, and I wanted to go and support Row in her quest for domination on the course.  Plus, I really wanted to see how things improved…Yes, wanted to see if the Fleet Feet people listened to last year’s cacophony of voices crying for a more decent race.

Good and Bad.  Highlights and Lowlights, just like last year.

Remember when your mother said to not run in traffic?  in the dark?  with no light?  Well, apparently the Race Directors of this race did not listen to this advice. 

Highlight #1 :  It was a bright, big moon.  That’s it.

Lowlight #1 :  The race director kept saying on the microphone at the beginning of the race:  This is a night time race.  It’s very dark.  Be safe!  Be safe!  Be safe!  …as if that was his disclaimer to the dangers of a race like this. 

Highlight #2:  Nicurnmama and I eat at the fabulous Fuzio, and please do have the Firecracker Pork Fusilli dish…to DIE for!! Plus, the Giants were losing on the telly, so I was very pleased.

Lowlight #2:  Darkness.  Not only darkness, but in my mind, danger.  Here is Laura in front of the Copper Creek Housing Development sign.  Literally that was the only light on the long stretch of road in Modesto.  There were 4 people sitting in chairs in front, but not an aid or water station to be seen.

Highlight #3:  It was so inspirational to get out there with jingle bells, and high fiving runners as they came by.  We had our sign, and were waiting for Row.  The runners, as usual, are always happy and grateful to see you.  They say thank you, and you feel like you have a purpose, a reason for being out there.  And I see these people, and I’m so grateful to be there, just like all the times YOU have been there for me.


  • The rest of this will not be pretty.  There is a girl who runs by with a bloody nose, like all over her hands and arms and needs something, anything.  Thank God a man standing there had a Kleenex.  But, being overly helpless, I just ran up to catch up with her to give her the Kleenex.  Her complaint:  Where is everyone?  I need help! 
  • The runners are running with traffic.  A few cones here and there.  WITH TRAFFIC.  No lanes are blocked off.  They are running next to cars.  So freaking dangerous, I was in a panic.  A report was that a runner was down up ahead, but that’s not because he got hit probably.  My chief complaint:  Where was the race volunteer group? 
  • As we head back to the finish, cars and traffic are stopped everywhere and runners are being directed diagonally across the street to run on the sidewalks on the opposite side.  We just hung our jingle bells outside the car and yelled, and supported.  But, it was a cluster.

It’s always good to support a friend.  I had a blast.  But for Race #3, get off the roads.  Add more, not less aid/water stations.  It’s dark.  It’s midnight.  You’re in the club scene, Modesto.  You’re having runners run through the party animals and smokers and club goers…with virtually no support on the side of the roads.

Last year’s grade: F

This year: D- 

Congrats to Row for a PR!!!

7 thoughts on “Midnight Half Marathon #2 Cheer Report

  1. definitely won’t see me running this thing. not with the hot mess that is was. still it was so awesome to have dinner with you and cheer. we had a purpose with our jingle bells and smiles and cheers. i predict that the running gods will be smiling upon us for sharing so much love…especially you for getting that one runner to FINISH the race.
    my report will come tomorrow or the next day because, well, i’m kind of busy today being the mother of all brides…but then again here i am on the computer!

  2. All the things you said are right girlfriend! I just wonder if I’m the complainer or what lol but you said it best!! thanks for being there

  3. I came down from the bay area to run this event and I would not say it is a complete disaster but the Modesto Midnight half marathon was organized chaos. That said the event could have been worse.

    First, where is the bag check?? In an event and distance this long you would expect a bag check. With the temperature dropping and added wind, I would have liked to keep my warm ups on as long as possible.

    Second, no chip timing? No D-Tag timing? So if you are about 200 meters from start line, with the supporters on the side. Your start time would be at least 30 seconds to a minute off.

    Third, “Who turned off the lights?” I understand you run the race in the dark. However, did not the course description say “well light areas?” I guess that was Johansen HS I ran the loop around, I could not tell, “IT WAS COMPLETLY DARK.”

    Fourth, if running in the dark was not dangerous enough, let’s go ahead and crossing three major intersections not really blocked off for traffic. I am not sure what street it was but an officer stopped the group I was running with to allow car traffic by. That was 1 minute off my time and 5 minutes to get back into stride.

    Finally, WHERE ARE THE RACE RESULTS??? If this event was registered on the “Active,” website the results should have been posted already. I want to know my official time. I want to know where I placed. I have been searching for two days. Going back to last year’s results, they were posted on another web site.

    I would give some benefit of the doubt in some respect. There was a lack of water aid stations on the course. However, from what I heard 10 minutes before the race, someone stole two water stations and some of the mile markers. Now why would someone take aid stations? That is pretty messed up Modesto.. At least I would give them a break on that.

    Second the Fan support. It was few and far between, but they were more energetic than the SF Marathon. The kids giving out high fives and cheering you on, only make you want to run faster.

    Finally, this story:
    That explained all the fire trucks near mile 5. At first I thought someone go hit by a car. I am happy to hear everyone is OK and the person who helped out even finished the race.. That was an awesome story.

  4. Going to be a spectator is awesome, and I’m sure Row was glad to have you there. And, btw, the race does seem like a disaster of sorts.

  5. Wow. They’re lucky nobody was seriously hurt or worse. That’s an easy way to lose your business to a liability lawsuit.

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