OK, I didn’t exactly run this race and you might even say I didn’t attend it at all. It would even be fair to say I wasn’t in the same state. Hawthorne, NJ is my hometown though so I figure any good press can’t be a bad thing. The race was for an important charity: The Hawthorne Domestic Violence Response Team and Hawthorne PBA Local 200.
My source for this commentary is classified, but I will refer to him as Butch. He was the winner of his age group so I believe that qualifies him as an expert. He is also the record holder for old people running this race.
Pre Race: It was easy to register for this race online. Even technically challenged people such as Butch were able to register online. Parking was plentiful (I guess it was plentiful, I didn’t ask) and same day registration was available. UPDATE: Actually I have heard that there wasn’t all that much parking the day of the race. When the race grows next year they may want to consider alternate parking, a different start location or a shuttle to the race (Thanks Debbie H).
The Race: This was not just another boring 5k that everybody seems to put on. This was a “mud run”. It had a series of obstacles that every participant had to negotiate while completing a 3.1 mile course. The goal is to survive versus getting the best time. The obstacles included: 1/4 mile tire carry/roll, multiple stream crossings, climbing over down trees, a stump walk, and a mud pit. My insider (Butch) felt that the tire carry was one of the more difficult obstacles, but the most miserable was the wading through the chest deep water in Goffle Brook Park. Sweat pants became 40 pound weights to contend with for the last 1/2 mile. UPDATE: The race was closer to 3.25 miles. Thanks Debbie H.
Post Race: After the race, competitors were given free “showers” care of the Hawthorne Fire department. My understanding is that the water was like a nice warm shower and very welcome after slogging through the muddy Goffle Brook Park and the icy stream. And of course, those strong enough to complete the challenges were awarded a finisher’s medal. They also had the usual runner’s fare (bagels, water, bananas). A special shout out to one of the volunteers, Scott Chamberlin (this guy seems to volunteer for everything).
Goodies: T-shirt, a medal and bragging rights.
Some important suggestions (from someone who wasn’t there) to make the race more difficult.
1. The race should have had you cross the Passaic River (you would have to battle mutant rats and whatever other surprises the river may hold).
2. The race should end at the top of Macfarlan Ave.
3. Fire and/or zombies
*****I gave it 5 stars for breaking outside the norm of a small town 5k and trying something new. The local park is an awesome location for this type of race and I think more and more people are giving these mud runs a try. Butch said he would gladly run this race again next year. I hope they have it again b/c I would love to give it a try. Get the word out. If you are in the area or like the feel of a small town race, this is THE place and race for you.