This is where it all began two years ago. This is the race that gave me the fire in the belly to take on running as an additional way to get fit, which in turn kinda changed my life. I absolutely love this race! The people, the course, the volunteers, the wassail…all of it is just fantastic!
We were expecting a mixed bag of precipitation today, but Mother Nature decided to just sprinkle us with a couple of flurries here and there instead. Thank you Mother Nature! Since I was dressed for crappy weather, I ended up very hot at around mile two. Oh well. I hate the cold and I’d rather be hot than cold.
The field was limited to 5000 runners, however, it felt like there were 10,000 runners. The start line was REALLY packed. If you were looking to score a PR, you better have made your way to the front early.
The race was supposed to start at 8:30, but as usual, they were running a little late. So, we do what we always do when we’re waiting. We take pictures!
Meghan thinks she’s funny….(and she really is)
This is my running mama, Bernadette. She’s was the one that started the madness for me!
Bern and I ended up running together for the entire race. Unfortunately, we were stuck running at a slower pace in the beginning because there was no room for us to maneuver our way out of the pack. It was really frustrating. Oh, and my dear fellow runners who need to walk from time to time, it’s okay to walk if you need to, but PLEASE stay to the right and don’t just stop and walk right where you are. You’re liable to have someone to run right into you. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to running, right next to someone calling a 5K a marathon <smh>.
We were finally able to break free around mile two, but because of the narrow-ish course, we were still dodging runners. No biggie, it’s to be expected for this course. This was the first time that Bernadette and I ran an entire race together and crossed the finish line hand in hand. It was perfect.
After we finished, we waited for Meg and Kendra to cross, and of course took some more pictures 🙂
I put my camera down just 3 seconds before they came through…UGH! Luckily, Bern was able to capture their ass ends. You can see Kendra waving and Meg’s green socks.
We then waited for Marianne and Kathleen. This was Marianne’s first 5 miler and she killed it! Kendra is her running mama and was so proud of her. We all were! GO MARIANNE!
After the race, we went back into the incredibly crowded tent to get some drinks and food! I skipped the typical bananas and cookies and headed strait for Boordy Vinyards Wassail. I remembered it from last year, so I was making a B line straight to get it again this year…ended up drinking 3 cups. I missed out on Zeke’s Coffee, but if you ever get the chance to try it, it is THE BEST coffee around! The soup was fabulous. I think it was a vegetable bean soup and it was hot, hardy, and totally hit the spot on a cold day.
All in all, it was a great race. We saw so many familiar faces, runners from training groups, and close friends who we’ve missed. I also made a new friend (shout out to Kathleen). The only thing that was missing for me was a dear friend who was unable to make it at the last minute. Things happen, I know, but this was important to her and I’m heartbroken for her.
What would I change about the race?
- The tent. Just like last year, it’s a mob scene getting in and out of the tent. If there were some sort of emergency, people would get seriously hurt. Perhaps there should be two tents instead. One for just race bib/timing chip pickups and bag checks, and another for coffee and food.
- Race day timing chip pick up. This was the biggest complaint that I heard from the runners. Why make you pick up your timing chip separately from your bib? Might as well have them both together in a packet and have them distributed at the same time. This was the only race that I did this year that had this set up.
- More signs in the tents. I had a hard time finding the soup because I didn’t stand in the long food line. I thought last year they had the soup in a different location. Not sure, but had a hard time finding it. Same with the wassail. You pretty much had to ask other runners where to go.
- I would recommend that the volunteers have a current race registration list. When I went to pick up my bib, my 40-year old brain had a brain fart and I couldn’t remember my number. I knew it was in the 3000 series, but couldn’t remember the rest. Thank goodness the volunteers when through all of the 3000 series to find my name instead of turning me away to fight the crowd to go outside of the tent and look for my number.
Recommendations for first time Celtic Solstice Runners
- Get there early for parking.
- Go to the back of the wassail table. There was one line, but there were plenty of volunteers handing it out down several tables.
- DRESS UP! I was disappointed that we didn’t go all out, but next year…I’m going to make sure we do!
OH! I forgot to mention! I PR’d this race without trying! My time was 49:47…imagine if I were at the front of the pack! ha!