I signed up for this race for the cider. I didn’t really care where it was or what the race distance was. I was in it for the cider. Lucky for me it was in Biglerville, PA which is about an hour away from where I live.
An hour seems to be about as far as I am willing to travel for most races (although maybe a little further for cider).
I was also happy to learn it was a 5K. I didn’t really pay attention to the “The Hardest” in the “Hardest Cider Run”. How hard could it be?
Location: Biglerville, PA (Hauser Estate Winery)
Timing: Chip timed
Course: Orchard/trail (and a hill or 2)
Size: Large (about 500 competitors, smaller waves)
Pre-Race: Sign up was simple. There were various waves for different abilities. I went for 0830 which was the last of the runner waves. For the adventurous, there was also a second race called the Hungry Apple. In addition to running 3 miles, you had to eat a donut each mile. Eating and running hasn’t been a great combination for me so I passed on the second race. For those willing to accept the challenge, there is a second medal to show off your eating/running prowess. I received an email a few days prior to the race that gave you some last minute details.
Race Day: I arrived at 0700 for my 0830 wave. I had no idea what sort of crowd to expect so I went early (I almost always go early). 90 minutes early was plenty. I had no problem parking and walked right up to the registration booth to pickup my packet where I had a brief registration scare. Turns out she spelled my name ChamberLAIN not ChamberLIN (a common, infuriating problem for the -LIN branch of the family tree). It is spelled the way it sounds. …but I digress.
I heard people discussing “The Hill”. It is mentioned on the website and I overheard two runners discussing it. They showed me where it was on the course but you really don’t get a good feel for it until you are on the bottom of The Hill trying to climb up it. I waited for the 0800 wave to attack the hill and it seemed like 50% ran the entire hill and the other 50% walked / ran it.
The Race: Our wave went off on time at 0830. The race wasn’t very crowded and I think I could have run in any of the waves. You immediately head down the hill back toward the entrance of the Estate. You run about hallway down before cutting across and then back up to The Hill.
I can proudly say I conquered The Hill. My legs were burning and I struggled but I ran up the entire hill. The race then skirts the property with gently rolling hills. I was slow and steady.
Then we wound our way almost all the way to the bottom of the estate again. I knew I would have to make the slow long climb (3/4 mile) back to the finish. The slope wasn’t to bad but it was constant. I broke at the 2.25 mile mark. Hot and tired, I had to switch to a walk/run to the finish line which I find in 33:19 seconds. In addition to a medal, you receive your commemorative glass and your choice of a dry or sweet Jack’s Cider.
Post Race: They gave out bananas and water at the finish. They had a pretty nice after party. There was a band playing and, food trucks selling pizzas, grilled cheese, BBQ and other yummy treats. If I had brought someone else with me I would have hung out for a little while. Maybe next time. I did purchase 2 six packs of Jack’s Cider (Helen’s Blend and Peach). I tried one of the Helen’s blend and really liked it. Sweet, but not overwhelming.
The Goodies: The glass, the cider, and the medal.
The race shirt