Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south, every now and then
You’ve done it, why can’t someone else?
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself
—Billy Joel “The Stranger”
Moving to PA I knew that I would probably have to travel further to get to races. The Baltimore – DC area has races every weekend and they were all within a 20-30 minute drive. Seven Valleys, PA is a little more isolated. It is close to York but there are not as many races nearby every weekend. So I took it as a sign that I needed to get running again when I found this race. It is only about 3 miles away from my home, supports a local charity, and is sponsored by local businesses. This race is the 2nd leg of the Leg Up Farm Cross Country Mudfest Series and was being run by the York Road Runner’s Club. Leg Up Farm’s mission statement is: “To enrich the lives of individuals with special needs and their families through support and customized programs.”. There is a link to their website below.
Location: Brown’s Orchard @ Yellow Church Rd Farm in Seven Valleys, PA
Timing: Chip Timing
Course: HILLS, maybe mud? (we had slippery snow)
Size: Small (64 finishers)
Pre-Race: This was advertised as a mudfest. Little did anyone know that mother nature had other plans. I woke up to a blustery AND SNOWY morning. I was able to easily find the farm and arrived at the race about 45 minutes before the start. I had no wait at the packet pickup, but I discovered I had been entered as a 43-year-old woman. My mistake? Their mistake? Who knows/cares. It gave me a chuckle. They quickly reassigned my gender and I wandered back to my warm car to await the race start and read the information provided by the race directors:
Dave Brown, from Brown’s Orchard, was at the starting line but did not run (maybe next year?). He graciously allows the race to be held on his orchard for free. I doubt I need to plug this local business for people who live in the area, but if you haven’t been to Brown’s Farm Market you are truly missing out. We have only lived in Seven Valleys for 3 weeks, but we taken every guest there and everyone loves it. There is a link below if you want to check it out. You REALLY need to check it out.
The Race: I have only been running again for a few weeks so I didn’t expect to do well. Throw in a blowing snow that made the course slippery and I knew I was in for a long day. One of the volunteers said it best: “Do you know how many hills you have if you have 7 valleys? 8, you have 8 hills”.
We ran up and down all eight hills during the race (or so it seemed). I was able to run the first 1.5 miles before I needed to stop and walk. After that I walk/ran the rest of the race. I did see a number of people crash on some of the slippery downhill portions of the course and I thought I was going to have to ask a volunteer to catch me on one of the downhill turns. The snow covered course was probably beautiful. I was spending all my time trying to catch my breath and not crash to notice. I wasn’t thrilled with my finish time (35:32) but I was glad I didn’t break anything.
Post Race: After the race, we went to the barn to escape the elements. They had results being posted on a big monitor and updated regularly so you could see how you did without waiting all day for results to be posted online A lot of the bigger races are starting to do this and I think it is a nice touch. They had water, a free pint of Brown’s apple cider (worth the price of admission all by itself) and a delicious sugar pastry that I secretly devoured on the way home -also from Brown’s. My parents were coming to visit so I couldn’t hang out for the awards.
Goodies: I received a pair of socks with the race logo on them. It is a nice change of pace from the usual cotton T-shirts you usually get at a smaller race.
My performance was disappointing, but the race was quite the welcome to running in PA. Are there any flat courses in this area? I loved running through the orchards even if the hills humbled me. I know I have a long way to go to get back in shape but it was nice to get back on the road. York Road Runner’s Club did a tremendous job of making it a safe, fun experience and they handled Mother Nature’s snowy curveball very well.