The weather forecast for the day was not good, and when I took the dog for a walk in the morning it seemed like it was going to storm for sure. Thankfully the rain pretty much held off until the entire event was over.
I’ll make this review brief, since it was a 5k, and I wasn’t running competitively. This race got added to the roster after I’d made my plans for the year because we knew the family that was organizing it. And while I didn’t know Lynne, I did know her two daughters and son-in-law. If you’d like to get the whole story on the run, you should check it out on their website.
We were running this particular race in support of all of those who were involved. A great community run, we thought it would be a good way to have a little fun and connect with the community.
Registration was as easy as any other, with availability online and by signing up via mail or at the Runner’s Den. I chose the latter. I decided to stop mid-run to register, which may have been a mistake. Not because of the interruption to my run, but because I was dripping sweat. As I wrote all of the details in I hoped that it would be legible. Turns out it wasn’t: my wife’s kit had question marks for her first name as a result.
The race was very well organized. Held in a park there was plenty of space for parking at a local school, sidestreets, and the like. When we first signed up we had anticipated a small race – less than 50 people. It turns out there were more than 200 there altogether (just over 150 in the 5k run). A 1k fun run for kids was held first, followed by the 5k run, and then a 5k walk.
Kit pick-up was simple and quick. It was obvious where to find things and in no time we were attaching our bibs and warming up.
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[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_2.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_2.jpg” alt=”Kid’s 1k Fun Run”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_3.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_3.jpg” alt=”Kit Pick-up”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_4.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_4.jpg” alt=”Pre-Race Photo Op”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_5.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_5.jpg” alt=”All Lined Up”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_6.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_6.jpg” alt=”And They’re Off!”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_7.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_7.jpg” alt=”Checking at the Finish”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_8.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_8.jpg” alt=”Dan’s Big Finish”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_9.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_9.jpg” alt=”Nick Bringing It In”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_13.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_13.jpg” alt=”The Ladies with a Strong Finish”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_10.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_10.jpg” alt=”Mmmm. Subs.”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_11.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_11.jpg” alt=”Awards and such”/]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_12.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/images/LLR_2011/LLR_Slider_12.jpg” alt=”Medal + Bib”/]
Off the gun the pace was pretty furious – a lot of amateur racers with pre-race jitters were the cause. Out of the gate a 3:10 pace, the frontrunners slowed after less than 400m, and after another 400m the front pack was thinning out quite a bit.
With all of the rain there were a lot of areas where mud threatened to eat a shoe as you passed through. Starting with a 1k loop and finishing with a double 2k loop those mud pits became annoying, since you knew they were coming and there wasn’t anything you could do about it.
I stuck it out at my own pace, passing several guys over the course length, but never pushing so hard as to be within reach of the front. I had decided early what pace I was going to run since I didn’t want to risk injury and I was technically supposed to be on a rest day with the Ottawa Half coming up in just a few days.
The field was friendly, as was the crowd. One benefit of making loops is that you pass the main crowd several times, and it was great to hear the cheers. The other nice thing about such a small loop was that you could see how your friends and family were performing with a quick glance.
Covered with mud I finished the race in about 20:35 and cheered on my wife and our friends as they pushed through to the end.
Since the race was so close to our house, we decided to head back there for a quick shower while the 5k walk took place, giving us the opportunity to both clean up and get our dog so she could play in the park.
We arrived back with lots of time, and picked up some subs, chips, and cookies for lunch, which were provided by the race. It was a nice touch. Much better than burgers or pizza, the subs were a refreshing change from the usual fair of free lunches.
It rained very briefly during the awards ceremony, and it was overcast for most of the morning, but the weather held out.
It was inspirational to hear Lynne speak about her passion, and to see her run in the race.
The only negative to the race was the fact that it was more of a cross-country run than a road race, since it was run in the park. The grass hadn’t been mowed (mown?), and the worn path through the long grass was narrow. The bumpy terrain combined with the muddy areas made the course fun, but difficult to navigate and definitely not optimal for performance. I hope that with the great turn-out they had for this inaugural run that they’ll move it to the road next year.
Other than that I think it’s an excellent run. Accurate results, great organization, and lots of friendly faces made for a fun and relaxed event that has a lot of community feel. Though the competition is more tuned to the amateur runner than to the competitive athlete, the relaxed atmosphere is a pleasant change from the amped-up feel that most races have.
I’m likely to enjoy it again next year!
The Short Story
Well organized with strong community ties, this run’s one drawback was the actual course; although a fun run through grass and mud, the race would better be served with a groomed path or on roads. I loved the free sub lunch, the welcoming of families and pets, the “something for everyone” reality that comes with doing a 1k fun run for kids, a 5k run and 5k walk. It was a great setting, being able to gather in the park, and with or without a course change I highly recommend the race.
[info_box_1 title=”Race Stats”]
Cost: $25 (although I paid $35 because I didn’t get in early enough).
Weather: Overcast, but warm. Optimal as far as I’m concerned.
Swag: T-shirt, finisher’s medal
Terrain: Narrow path through grass at a park, multiple loops, muddy spots
Shoes: Nike Free Run’s
Fuel: Yogurt, banana
Overall Place: 5/153
Gender Place: 5/86
Age Group Place: 4/13