This event offered multiple race distances: 5k, 8k, half marathon, one mile walk, and kid's races. Because the 8k distance is one I've only ever raced twice (both times during Shamrock Marathon Weekend in VA Beach), I decided to run the 4.97 mile race.
Arriving in Hagerstown, MD, I quickly found free street parking about a quarter mile from the race start/packet pick-up and then registered for my race inside a beautiful theater. For $30 I got entry to the race, a super cute cotton unisex t-shirt, and a free beer after the race. Sweet! This was easily one of the most simple, well-organized race registrations I've ever seen. After walking my shirt back to the car, and using the indoor bathrooms in the theater (another bonus!) I headed out to the race start and ended up bumping into a friend, Steph. We chatted in the "corral" (based on mile/minute times) until the race started. Fun fact, Steph actually was the officiant at our wedding!
The 8k, 5k, and one mile walk started at the same time, 10 am. The half marathon had started an hour earlier. All along the course, there was great signage and volunteers letting you know which way to go for each race. The first two-ish miles were in a cemetery which was kinda cool, kinda creepy.
|Seed yourselves appropriately, kids.|
|Speedy Steph headed towards the cemetery and a smiley volunteer with a directional sign.|
After the first few miles in the cemetery, we ran through a bit of downtown Hagerstown and then into a hilly little park. While the morning had started cold, I was overheating a lot by the middle of the race- I'd worn pants, shamrock compression socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, a hat, and gloves. Yeah, way too much. I ended up taking off the hat, gloves, and long-sleeve and felt much better. That's the one thing I hate about spring running- it's hard to judge how quickly the temperature will rise as the day goes on.
In the last mile of the course, we exited the park and enjoyed an awesome downhill towards the finish. I had been watching my paces on my Garmin so I knew that I could PR this distance if I held onto the sub-11 minute miles. I rounded the corner to the finish line (it was in the same place as the start so I knew where it was) and completed the race in 53:15 (official time from the website), a 4:14 minute PR for the 8k distance! Instead of medals, they gave out green beads with shamrock baubles on them. Super cute.
After the race, I switched to spectator mode and cheered for Steph as she finished the 8k and for another friend, Sara, as she finished the half. Then the three of us headed down to a bar near the finish line, 28 South, to enjoy our free green beer.
|Beer is always better after a run.|
Overall, this race was really organized, super fun, and affordable. This one will absolutely go on the calendar for 2018. Y'all know I love a themed-race so the opportunity to wear fun socks AND get complimentary beer?! Sounds like my kind of race.
Do you have a favorite holiday-themed race? Share it in the comments!