I ran my third 5k of the year this past Sunday. Hunter’s Run is a local 5k in Medfield to raise awareness for organ donation and is run in honor of a boy in my daughter’s class who’s had two double lung transplants. This is the third year for the race and it remains a mostly small, local affair, which is fine. Not every race needs to be a big production. You can use smaller races to work on specific things in your training.
It doesn’t matter if it’s mid-January or mid-June, one thing I love about New England and it’s running culture is that you can find a road race every weekend of the year and New Year’s Day, with sun, but negative wind chills, is no exception.
It was really cold, but the anticipation and waiting was worse than the actual running. Yes, your feet felt like rocks, the sweat froze to your face and your nose hairs rattled with each breath, but you were moving and it was only 3 miles so the cold was more motivation to go faster and get back inside than actual hinderance. Mostly….
The Ashland Lions Olympic triathlon is a long-running (this was the 26th year), local race held in and around Ashland and Hopkinton, MA. Part of the bike covers the marathon start. It’s run by FIRM racing, a smaller outfit that does a variety of endurance events in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They run the popular Appleman tri in July.
I hadn’t actually heard of this race until I literally ran into during a training ride in the area a few years ago. There aren’t many Olympic distance events in general (compared to sprints and 70.3s) and to find one almost literally in my back yard seemed like an invitation.
It took a few years longer than I thought, but I finally toed the starting line this past weekend.
I now have a sworn enemy for this race. His name is Sam Burgess and he’s 12 years old and for the last two years he has humbled me and taken me down at this race. I can’t out run Sam. I can’t out run youth. But I can hate them both a little bit. Even though Sam beat everyone else at the race, too, and running a sub-19 minute 5k as a 12 year old is sort of impressive. It definitely is to my 12 year old self.
At this point, the Rock ’n’ Roll running series is a pretty well established brand and I’d guess most runners would have a general idea of what to expect when they are the race directors. (They also have a healthy ego as on their About page they claim the RnR format “ignited the second running boom”).
You are going to get a professionally packaged race experience that is used to putting on a big production, typically in a big city with a big entry field. You are going to get bands/entertainment at most mile markers. Well stocked and spaced aid tables. A nice finisher medal. And lots and lots of upset opportunities to enhance your race day experience.
This was an impulse race, though unlike some of the peanut M&M bags that have snuck into my cart in the checkout line, I never came to regret signing up. The Dover Sherborn Boosters triathlon is a local sprint distance race in a nearby town that I had heard about over the year but just never fit into my schedule. In fact, most of my open water swims in the summer use the same pond and the surrounding roads I’ve criss-crossed on the bike over the years, so there was really no excuse for not signing up at some point. I just didn’t really plan on it being this year. It wasn’t the best day, but it wasn’t the worst, either.
Since my parents bought a place in Brewster and we discovered this late summer race, it has quickly become one of my favorites. It is also the race that almost killed me. I ended up in a kiddie pool instead. Talk about a love/hate relationship.
The Brew Run is a bit of an odd duck when compared to most other domestic road races. It’s 5.2 miles long. It starts at 4 in the afternoon. The primary post-race refreshment is beer and cookies. Weird, but sort of attractive, right? I know I’m not alone.