The Blarney Stone Half Marathon – Potterville, MI

Estimated read time 4 min read

I was excited to do the Blarney Stone Half Marathon in Potterville last weekend. Since I’ve been kind of out of the swing of running longer distances consistently, I thought it would be a great proving ground for running Gazelle Girl a month later. There were some *small* surprises, however.

The race is in Potterville. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Potterville is a tiny town about an hour east of Grand Rapids. It’s not far from Lansing. Their motto is “The City of Helping Hands,” and though they are not quite what I think of as a “city,” everyone was super nice! The volunteers were all out in the pouring rain, pointing us in the right direction. They were as soaked as we were, only they were there out of the kindness of their hearts. We were there because we’re crazy people.

Potterville Blarney Stone
How excited do I look?

Initially, the weather report was saying near 60 degrees. Then it said in the 50s with some rain. Then, right before race day, the weather reports said, “JK it’s going to be in the 40s and raining all day.” Well, maybe because it’s already spring in my head or maybe because I forgot how cold 40s is, I dressed a little light. I mean, I do usually run hot anyway, but yikes. I wore capris, a tshirt, longsleeve, and a rain jacket with a headband for my ears and a buff for my neck. I almost put on a rain poncho at the last minute, but decided I didn’t want to feel like a big sweaty bag.

Once we got moving, I wasn’t cold from a lack of additional layers, but after a few miles I *was* cold from being completely drenched. Luckily I thought to Body Glide my toes because they’ve been a little delicate this year, and I duct taped my shoes (which lasted for almost 10 miles, and really helped keep them dry for a bit).

Sadly, my water resistant shell didn’t do a good job of keeping out the rain, and eventually was totally doused. The warm longsleeve I had under that became completely drenched as well. It has a really nice hood with a small opening for your face which helps with the wind and snow, but once it got wet, it was basically an awkward and loud sail. It kept catching the wind and flopping to one side. Ugh! Lesson: invest in a better rain jacket for spring running, and make sure it has a good hood!

blarney stone half marathon potterville miBut, all of that said, we still had a fun time. The route included some trails and dirt roads, which I wasn’t expecting. It got totally sloppy and muddy for the first few miles, a bit in the middle, and then on the way back. I never run on surfaces like that, so it really pooped me out. I wish I could have had a better run, but it just wasn’t happening. We finished in 2:35, which is alright considering the circumstances. I’m looking forward to doing some more Grand Rapids Running Club training runs and Moms Run This Town stroller runs over the next few weeks, however, because I need to hit 2:24 to be confident about pacing Gazelle Girl.


  • Medal!
  • Nice Shirt
  • Good price
  • Cool rural scenery
  • New (to me) location/course
  • Benefits kitty cats!
  • Chili and beer mmm


  • Terrain—ick!
  • Weather—meh, not the race’s fault
  • My chili wasn’t hot? Haha I don’t really have any negatives. The race organizers did a great job and the only things I didn’t like were pretty much out of everyone’s control.

I’d definitely do the race again. The dirt trails/roads wouldn’t be so bad if they were dry, so that’s not a huge deal. The organizers said over 500 people turned out, which was way more than expected, and they did a good job of keeping everything on course (puns!). They did mention that next year the race will be in April, so we’ll have to see if it changes themes or if the course changes or anything. It was a great run, so hopefully I can make it again in 2017.

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