I wouldn’t have the weather to blame for any poor performance this year. This past Saturday was very mild (for August in New England) with low humidity. Past Brew Runs have been unholy slogs through a thick paste of water vapor and scorching sun. Not this year! This might have been the best weather The Brew Run has had in years.
Like Falmouth, The Brew Run is one of those funky throwback races before standard measurements like 5 and 10k’s where people just ran point-to-point or in some arbitrary circle. For the record it’s 5.2 miles with plenty of water stops and lots of crowds both running and cheering. You won’t be running alone in this race.
Two more things that make this one of my favorite repeat races even in August? Did mention that it starts at 4 in the afternoon (no super early start-time) and second, plenty of free beer and chocolate chip cookies at the end. They also have plenty of water and bananas for the purists.
As you’d expect, after 41 years, the race director and volunteers have the pre-race festivities down pretty well.
Both picking up a per-registered bib or registering on race day doesn’t take much time. There are plenty of organized volunteers that make the process easy and stress free. The area behind the Woodshed bar can get a little crowded as race time draws near, so better to be a bit early.
There are a decent amount of porta-potties. There will be a line but it moves pretty well.
For the past few years there has been a pre-race singer belting out patriotic tunes. He must be ex-military. He definitely brings the energy.
The good weather likely boosted the race day registrations a bit as the announced field was over 1100. Pretty good for a mid-summer Cape race.
There are suggested pace time signs on the road by the start and after a warm-up, I slotted in around the 7 minutes per mile.
After the singer belted out the national anthem, we were off, under a giant flag and encouraged by thick crowds lining the first half mile.
Since I’ve run this race multiple times in the past, I knew after a brief uphill right at the start, it was a very gradual downhill for most of the next two miles. Even with the mild temperatures and humidity, it was still sunny and I knew after the mild start, miles three and four were pretty rolling, especially mile four. I needed to be careful not to burn too many matches early.
My goal for the race was to pace well, finish strong, and better my time from 2016, the last time I ran the race. Given the timing of the race (running in the late afternoon is great in that you don’t have to get up early but I just don’t usually run during that time and with the Addison’s my cortisol levels are falling) and the usual heat, I’ve had some really terrible races here where I hit the wall or flat out walked sections.
With a half marathon planned in the fall, I wanted to work on smart pacing and running more by feel. I turned off my 1 mile auto alerts on my watch and just tried to run comfortably hard from the start. I did keep an eye on my heart rate, just to be safe.
Mile 1: 6:44
Mile 2: 7:07
A little quick but I don’t think I got too carried away on the downhill.
I stopped at each water stop for at least a sip of water and dodged into a lot of the hoses that homeowners had out on the route. It was a nice day but it was still warm and sunny and I knew keeping cool and hydrated early would help later on.
Odd, scary moment just past mile 2 where a runner was collapsed on the side of the road. Not sure what exactly happened. Volunteers and other racers were with him and I saw him with medical personnel later at the finish but it was a good reminder of just how sneaky the heat can be if you’re not prepared.
With continuous rolling hills and a good steady climb to finish mile 4, these middle miles can really cut out your legs for the last mile and really punish anyone that went out too fast.
Again, I tried to grab water, stay positive, and keep a steady pace.
Mile 3: 7:11
Mile 4: 7:12
Pretty good pacing, I’d say.
By this time, the field was pretty spaced out and I tried to find a few people to chase and keep on pace. I was definitely starting to feel the effort and tried to stay focus on being positive (I like to smile), keeping my cadence up and chasing down people in front of me.
Mile 5, especially the back half is mostly downhill and the crowds start to pick up near the finish. This all helped keep my legs moving to a strong finished.
Mile 5: 6:54
Total: 36:31 (6:59 per mile)
That was good for 57th (out of 1098) place and 6th in my age group.
Felt really good and in control in the last mile. It wasn’t a PR, but it was a nice change for this race where I’ve often been punished for going out too early or not respecting the heat and humidity.
The post race festivities were what participants have come to expect. Water at the finish and then after a short walk to The Woodshed, all the Bug Light you can drink along with more water, bananas and chocolate chip cookies.
There are raffle prizes for those that finished on a multiple of 25 along with prizes for top finishers and age groupers.
This continues to be a fun and challenging summer race that is well-organized and well run. It’s a unique community race that the surrounding area really embraces with volunteers and crowd support. If you find yourself on the Cape during the second week of August, do yourself a favor and get an afternoon workout in by running The Brew Run.