I had previously run one of the US Road Running virtual races (The pirate Grey 5k):
Once I saw they had a physical race in the York area I figured it would be worth checking out. They are in the business of races so I imagined they would be good at it. They are.
From the US Road Running website:
“US Road Running ® has the following: Virtual Races (Virtual 5K, Virtual 10K, Virtual Half Marathon), Goal Programs, Mileage Programs, and a number of Live Races. Our Goal is to help encourage you to Get Out and Run ®. “
Location: Gifford Pinchot State Park, Lewisberry, PA
Timing: Bib Chip timing
Size: Medium (184 runners)
Pre-Race: The US Road Running Facebook page and the Luau 5K and 10K Facebook page was a great source of information to include course maps and updates. I honestly didn’t realize it was mainly a trail race until I saw the question posed on Facebook. I think Facebook is a great tool for communicating with your runners and answering their questions. I wish more races made use of it.
Race Day: We arrived about an hour early for the 0800 start time. My daughter came with me which was a nice surprise. She had to get up and out the door by 0630 (on a Saturday) so I was impressed. The event was easy to find and parking was a breeze. Registration took about 30 seconds and I was ready to go. It was raining so we hung out in the car before the race. They held a short “Best Costume” right before the race to keep with the Luau theme. There were lots of hula skirts, coconut bras and a Spiderman. Then it was time to get down to business. Kay ran the first 50 yards waving at me and the other runners which brought a smile to my face.
The Race: This was only my second trail run so I tried to take it easy for the first mile. I still ended up going faster than I planned and I was pretty winded by the time I reached the second mile marker. That was when I zigged when I should have zagged and twisted my ankle. I knew it wasn’t broken but it was sore and probably sprained. After that I had to slow up a little and make sure I didn’t hurt it again. I didn’t finish strong but I did finish in 29:38 and 19th overall. I didn’t know it at the time but that was good enough to get me 1st in my age group. The best part was my daughter at the finish line taking my picture and giving me a high-five.
Post Race: They had bananas, water, chips and what looked like delicious sandwiches (I am not a big post race eater). I sat with my daughter and we cheered on my fellow runners for about 20 minutes. I tried to share the importance of cheering on your fellow competitors. I think everyone should spend at least 10-15 minutes cheering on other runners. It is good for the soul. I also took a moment to take a pair of selfies with my girl.
Goodies: I got a technical T-Shirt (and I got to choose my color preference), the medal, a US Road Running band, and a US Road Running magnet.
Overall: I enjoyed the race (with the except of the twisted ankle). It would be a good first trail run (gentle terrain and wide trails) if you are looking to give one a try. It is nice to get away from the road races and enjoy a little touch of nature now and then. The race was well managed from start to finish and everyone was vey professional and very friendly.