For Mother’s Day we took my wife to a little place called The Glen Rock Mill Inn. The food was yummy and we had an excellent time (if you go, see if you can get seated in the Fountain Room). While we were there, I saw the signs for this 5K and I was able to sign up using something called “pen and paper”. (I can’t remember the last time I didn’t register for a race online.). The race was to benefit The ALS Association (ALS Philadelphia). The race was part of a bigger festival called the Glen Rock Arts and Brew Fest.
Glen Rock reminds me of a little town called Bisbee in southern Arizona. Small, nestled in the hills with some one-of-a-kind stores and restaurants. It is worth a visit if you are ever in the area. Another important comparison: Glen Rock is hilly, just like Bisbee.
Location: Glen Rock, PA
Timing: Clock timed (no chip timing)
Course: Mainly streets with a little trail (crushed stone)
Size: Small (about 100 runners)
Pre-Race: I don’t think I saw this race listed on any of the bigger websites like “Running in the USA” or “Active.com”. They may have benefitted from advertising on one of those sites. I was able to sign up in-person and treat my wife to a delicious Mother’s Day Meal. She would probably appreciate if every race I signed up for came with dinner out.
I received an email about a week before the race which had all of the necessary details for the race. Since this was a benefit for ALS, they asked all the runners to wear red. I think that was a neat idea and most people acquiesced. There was a sea of red at the starting line.
Race Day: I arrived at 0650 which was too early to even get my race bib. The registration and finish line was located at a place called The Ruins which was pretty cool. I picked up my bib in about 30 seconds (surprise, I was one of the first runners there). The bib was sort of cardboard-ish and if it had rained it could have caused some lost soggy numbers. Fortunately it was a beautiful morning and wet bibs were never an issue.
The Race: Right before the race I overheard some folks talking about the race course. Things like “I can’t believe they are going up that street”, “That is a big hill for the start of the race”. Uh-oh.
In my neighborhood there are 2 types of folks. The self-proclaimed “High-Landers” who have lived in this hilly area their whole lives and the “Low-landers” who have moved here (probably from the Baltimore Area). Being a Low-lander I have not yet acclimated to the hills on EVERY run. If the High-Landers are concerned about the hills, I should be concerned as well.
The first 1.4 miles were all uphill and the last quarter of a mile was probably the steepest. I made it for 1.2 miles before the hill broke my spirit. I have run longer and/or steeper hills, but I am not in shape for that kind of challenge. So I walked a bit (I saw plenty of walking). Of course what goes up, must come down so we had a long downhill which was hell on my shins. We finished with a short jaunt down the Rail Trail to the finish line. I was a woeful 30:15 (I think). Not my best day, but I did finish in one piece.
Post Race: Post-race festivities took place at The Ruins. They had water, bananas, bagels and granola. They hadn’t given out the race Goodie bags yet so people milled around while they setup for the Art and Brew Fest around us. They did start playing some live music as we waited. Once everyone was done with the race, they had everyone queue up for the Goodie bags. Typically they are handed out before the race, and I’m not sure why they did it differently here. It does get more people to hang around and share some race talk and cheer on other racers. If you were in a rush I did see the organizers allow a few people to get their stuff and go.
Goodies: The Goodie bags were pretty good. You received the race shirt (cotton), a Glen Rock Inn Coffee Mug, a Kozy drink cover, an ALS key chain and an ALS red band
Overall: Tough course. Not a great course for your first 5k or a personal record. It was challenging and I don’t think that is a bad thing. Before and after the race there was a lot of buzz about the course. This is the sort of course you can wear like a Badge of Honor. I overheard some of the staff talking about changing it for next year. I would leave it (if you can). It is tough but builds character. In conjunction with a day of Art and Brews it makes for an awesome day.