This race is only about a mile from my house and it overlaps with a route I run a few time a week. The race was to support the renovation of a local playground (at Barlowe Field). Supporting the race were a number of local businesses:Fleet Feet Sports, Feel Better Fitness, Fieldstone Animal Inn and Arundel Pediatric Dental Care to name a few. I don’t normally plug anybody, but these are all local businesses supporting a local organization. If you live nearby check them out.
Pre-Race: Once I registered I didn’t receive any email reminders leading up to the race day, but the organizers do an excellent job of keeping updates available via Facebook. I personally prefer social media so I can check for updates and reminders and see what fellow participants are saying/asking. There was an option for early packet picket at Fleet Feet Sports in Severna Park the day before the race. Being a smaller race I assumed I would be able to walk right up and get my packet, but this would be a great option for those folks who run a little late.
Race Day: It was chilly, but not as bad as the last 2 races I ran. I was about 30 minutes early and I was able to park on a street nearby. I walked right up to the registration booth and had my packet / shirt /timing chip in about 2 minutes. Everybody was extremely friendly (a big thanks to the volunteers that had to be out at the crack of dawn for a 7am race start).
The Race: I had a pretty good idea of what to expect on this course since I am pretty familiar with the area. The race starts by the Old Mill pool and winds around the neighborhood on the streets. The race is pretty flat with a few slight inclines (one of them being right before the finish line). Most people seemed to like the course, but more importantly the race was pretty darn close to 3.1 miles (my watch said 3.07). After the extra half mile I ran in the last race I was glad to see this was accurate. I was also the third finisher overall which made me extremely happy. I honestly thought I was second but first place was so far ahead I didn’t even realize he was out there. So with a time of 22:14 I was third overall and first in the 40-49 age category.
Post Race: After the race they had the usual water/fruit/granola bars/munchkins which is always appreciated. They also had hot coffee from DD which is worth bonus points in my book. One of the race officials asked us what we thought of the course and the event overall which I think is a great idea. You can never get too much feedback. There are a lot of 5k races available this time of year and if you want to have success you need to get all the little things right (which they did). They also had some local business stands nearby with raffles and some freebies. It was nice to be able to browse a little while waiting for the race to finish. During the awards I collected my third place finish and then won a free Nike bag during the raffle. They also gave me a third place finishers certificate (nice touch). In addition to the overall awards they gave out certificates to the winners in the different age brackets. All the kids who participated received dog tags.
Goodies: They had the cotton race shirt, a program which contained coupons and advertisements for local businesses (including a $5 coupon for next year’s Bolt). There were also a bunch of freebies available from the local businesses.
*****Four and half stars. I had a great time at this event. The people were extremely friendly, the course was challenging but fair and everything ran very smoothly. It maybe their second year , but it is already a well oiled machine. The support from the local businesses was great to see, and to see them invest back into the community is commendable. I would do this race next year and I would bring my daughter to run with the other kids. My favorite race this year!
Here is another review from a fellow runner (check her out if you have a moment) http://headlongrunningbetty.wordpress.com/