|Me with Elaine, Deb, Laura and Cheryl before the race.|
If the weather cooperates, it can be a lot of fun -- if it doesn't, it can be miserable. Today's weather is best described as bipolar -- it was horrible and great at different times.
Nine Buckeye Striders entered the race and we gathered in a doorway before the race to get out of the wind. It sprinkled a little bit, but had stopped right before the race started.
The race is on a bike path that starts at the North Bank Park Pavilion in downtown Columbus and goes south along the Scioto River. Much of the race course is pretty narrow -- it is the width of a typical bike path. I thought the crowd thinned out quickly, but then again, I am a walker. I imagine runners felt bunched up for awhile.
The only point of the race that was way too narrow was in that first mile on the sidewalk of a bridge. There was enough room for only one person going each direction. Luckily the crowds had thinned quite a bit, and the runners heading back were the leaders, so they just trickled by us. If there were a lot of people hitting this point at the same time, it would feel VERY narrow.
The first mile was chilly, but as we walked, I warmed up pretty well. In the second mile, the sun came out. We had been walking hard and the sun made me so hot, I had to take off my gloves and unzip my jacket! Regardless, it was beautiful, so we were not complaining. As we passed the only water stop, they were folding up and had run out of water.
Unfortunately, the sun didn't last. It went behind some dark clouds, the wind picked up, and with about 1/4 mile to go, it started raining hard. The rain encouraged me to pick up my pace. I crossed the finish line with the clock reading 43:39.
At the end of the race, I was handed a card to fill out for entry in the drawing to get free entry in the Columbus Marathon, we received a plastic cup from New Balance and there was pizza and bread sticks. As I got to the pizza the rain started coming down harder, everyone was huddled under a small tent and the food was getting soaked.
While we waited for Jack to finish, the race staff encouraged the finishers to take the last few pieces of pizza (even though there were people on the course) and tried to close up as much as possible. A couple of us grabbed pizza for Jack and tried to fill out our entry cards while we tried to keep from getting more wet. (It is hard to write on wet cardboard.)
We all waited for Jack, made sure he had pizza (he asked if there were any cookies left, but we never saw cookies) and because we were cold and wet, we left right away. (Sorry, Jack!)
Here is what I think about this race:
1) The entry fee was very low at only $25.
2) This year we got a technical shirt, but the fabric is very thin -- not sure I will wear it.
3) The course was not bad. There were only two small hills.
4) The water stop ran out of water. More than 23 walkers finished after me.
5) They ran out of food for the last finishers. (It was raining, so they were trying to close up early.)
6) The posted results for the walkers are wrong. I definitely did not walk a 9:55 mile.
7) There was a walking division, and if the order of finishers is correct, I won my age group. (There were only 30+ walkers. It would be hard not to win your age group.) I sent an email asking if there are awards for walkers.
8) There were only 400 people entered in this race, but it could not handle many more.
I was irritated that there was no water on the course, and that they did not save food for the last finishers, but then again, we paid only $25 to register. Did my friends who entered a different 5K for $20 more enjoy the race more? Though the shirt is not better, the food was and I'm confident there was plenty of it at the end of the race.
On the other hand, this race does have a walker division and it looks as if there are age awards.
So, trying to balance the cost to the benefit, there were glitches, but were they worth the $20 difference in price for just a 5K? Probably not. (Edited 1-2-12.)
Regardless, I had a great race on New Year's Day with friends, and that is a great way to start a year.