It Takes a Village…

As one of the organizers for the Good Life Halfsy, people often ask me what makes the Good Life Halfsy so special? For me, it’s all about the people and the incredible stories of why people run that are unique to each of the thousands of runners that toe the line every year. Personally, these stories inspire me and are what keep me fueled all year long to make Pink Gorilla Events races among the best in the Midwest.

But before celebrating the runners, I want to take a moment to peek behind the curtain and recognize and thank the hundreds of people and dozens of groups that work to make race day possible. As the old proverb goes, “it takes a village to pull off a Halfsy” (or something like that). 

We are truly blessed to have an amazing community that supports running in Nebraska, and this is especially true in Lincoln. With the Halfsy being Nebraska’s largest road race, a full year of planning goes into making every aspect of the race as smooth and fun as possible. Here is just a sample of the dedicated teams that get us to the finish line of this truly community-wide event:

Volunteers: Without dozens of volunteer groups, events like the Halfsy just aren’t possible as they take on many roles including water stations, course monitors, packet stuffers, parking attendants, packet pickup, bag check/claim, medal distribution, athlete recovery, pacers, support cyclists, and setup and tear down. Many groups volunteer in support of our main charity partners, People’s City Mission and Habitat for Humanity, or another local organization. Over the years, Pink Gorilla Events has been able to generate donations totally over $750,000 to these groups – nearly $250,000 of which has been raised via the Good Life Halfsy alone. These groups do so much for the running community, and we are proud to be able to give back so they can continue to do good in our communities all year long.

Vendors: Often very behind the scenes, 3rd-party vendors are an integral piece of the puzzle of a successful event. Many vendors love the races just as much as we do and are incredible partners. These dedicated companies provide the sound systems, trash removal, portable toilets, truck rentals, photography, event fence, videography, social media, timing services, medical staffing, traffic control & so much more. A great example of vendors going above and beyond is PortaJohns, the company that provides our toilets. They deliver nearly 200 toilets to the race and over 100 are at the start line. For the past 2 years, due to state band competition at Seacrest, they have had to deliver toilets to the start line around midnight to make sure we are ready for race morning. So awesome.

Sponsors: Coming alongside Pink Gorilla Events are over 30 Sponsors and Partners who are supporting the Good Life Halfsy.  Our Presenting Sponsor, Certified Piedmontese Beef, After Party Sponsor Fat Brain Toys, and Expo Presenting Sponsor Excel Chiropractic & Wellness are just a few of the partners that are contributing financial, product, service and people resources into this event. You see many of our sponsors and partners at the expo, along the course, and in our runner communications.  If you are needing fuel for your training, a chiropractor, toys to entertain the kids while you are on the treadmill, recovery drinks, training advice, or any other running service, we have partnered with the best sponsors around!  Check them out!

City of Lincoln: The City of Lincoln is an incredible partner in making the Halfsy come to life. Professionals from several departments step outside their primary duties to make Lincoln, Nebraska an event-friendly city and one of the top destinations for running and cycling events in the country. A huge shout out to everyone involved from Fire & Rescue, Parks & Recreation, Police, Park and Go, Transportation & Utilities, and the Mayor’s Office. Thank you for making the race possible and keeping us safe.

Spectators: What can you say, does the Halfsy have some of the best crowd support in the country!?! I think our finish line DJ, Nick the Quick, summed it up pretty well in a facebook post, “Been DJing for the Goodlife Halfsy (half marathon) every year since it started. Pretty sure this is the most people I’ve ever seen here. Gets bigger every year.”

Pink Gorilla Race Crew: I’m so lucky to be surrounded by an immensely talented and hard working group of full-time professionals as well as weekend warriors that are dedicated to creating the best running experience we know how to deliver. Thank you to everyone in a pink shirt for being the heart and soul of race day!


Runners: Back to you, the runner! Thank you so much for running with us and being part of the Pink Gorilla Events family. 

On race day, I am often laser focused on the immediate task at hand: setting up the start arch, putting up feather flags, coordinating volunteers, checking gas in a generator, or managing cleanup. But after all the cones are picked up, trucks are unloaded, results posted, emails sent, and the trombone put back in its case for the next race, one of my favorite post-race activities is checking social media to soak in all the incredible stories from runners, their experience on race day and what motivated them along the way. Some runners are in it for a PR, some runners are completing their first half marathon, some are working towards a lifestyle change or health goal, some want that beautiful medal and swag, and some are running in memory of a loved one.

One story that made me feel like someone was cutting some onions comes from the speedy Craig Halverson:

Never too old to dream & then chase that dream!

In 2017 I ran the @goodlifehalfsy for the first time and loved it. I really enjoy the course and the spectators. I even got a PR there that year. 

Even though I thought I ran it fast, I still wasn’t close to getting any awards because of all the fast runners that do this race. I finished 54th overall and 7th in my age group. 

For those who don’t know this race, it’s a point to point and you bus back to your ride. On the bus ride back that year I was so jealous seeing some runners holding big award posters and I told myself someday I’m going to get that poster and I’ve been dreaming about it for years.   

I had a shot in 2020 but Covid hit and there was no award ceremony. Then in the 2021, the race got canceled because of the weather. So finally 2022 the weather wasn’t the best with winds and heat on the high but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

BOOM!!! 1:14:49 a new half marathon PR, 13th overall 2nd AG and just 5 seconds away from overall masters. I did it, I made my dream come true and got that poster .

Thank you so much#goodlifehalfsy for making mine and other runners dreams come to life. 

THANK YOU runners for inspiring me and all of us at Pink Gorilla Events. We already can’t wait for 2023. We hope to see you again at the Good Life Halfsy on November 5, 2023. Next up, the Born & Raced in Nebraska 10K Series goes on sale Black Friday. Don’t miss it!

Jason Bakewell – Good Life Halfsy Race Director