Sunday, March 6, 2011

Race Report - Pueblo Spring Runoff

It's been quite a long time since I've done a 10K. Specifically it was the 2009 BolderBoulder and it was a fairly weak effort. I think my finish was something like one hour, five minutes. I was just happy to finish it.

So although I've done a  couple of six mile training runs in the last couple of months, I was a little nervous about doing a race this morning. It didn't help that I had been struggling on my last couple of runs.

It was--for me anyway--a good morning for a run. The temperature at the start was in the upper 30's/lower 40's with now wind and a thin overcast. It was also a pretty flat course. When it was all over, I ran one of my best 10K times in the post-35 (years old) era. I finished the day at 57:40 which works out to a 9:15 pace. My brother ran a much faster and considerably more impressive 42 minutes. It was obvious when he passed me on the return trip that he was in the lead pack.

As for the race itself, well, there was good and bad:

The bad:

Starting Line - This is a multi-race event with a 2 mile walk, a 5k, 10k and 10 mile plus to shorter races for kids. Which race was which depended on both the color of your bib and a colored sticker (like a mailing label stuck to the front of it). This was confusing. What's more, there was no marshal in the starting area to make sure no one started in the wrong group. I actually ran with the 5k wave for about a minute before realizing that it was not my start time yet.

Traffic Flow - The two mile walkers went with the rest of the group and the turned around one mile out. That's right, they turned around and walked against the rest of the traffic. It would have made much more sense to have them start after the runners. Then everyone faster would have already run past their turn around point.

Finish Area: The race finishes into Dutch Clark Stadium with a 3/4 lap clockwise turn on the track. That's actually a nice way to finish a race...similar to the BolderBoulder. No problem there. However, once you finish, all of the post-race provisions were back up at the top of the stadium (it sits in kind of a pit so you walk back up to street level) to get water, food, etc. It's a steep walk and there is only one narrow gate to access the steps. Additionally, there were no regular announcements about the location and time of the kids races.

Results: As of 8:45, the results still have not been posted. I have no doubt that it takes a while to get them done, but the 5k was posted on paper at the event. If you're going to have a race, you need to get the results posted on the same day. Even a rudimentary text file on a webpage would work.

The Good

Course: This was a nice flat, fast course with no bothers from traffic. While a good portion took place on a bike path that runs along the Arkansas River, that did not occur until a couple of miles in--after the field had spread out a bit. Runners coming back on the path were lead by a bicycle and its rider did a good job of clearing the path.

Shirt: When I ran it five years ago, the Spring Runoff sported one of the ugliest running shirts I've seen. Not this year. It's a good looking long sleeve black technical shirt. A distinct improvement.

Finish: The shoot was clearly marked and as I ran toward it, an announcer called my name and town. It's a small thing, but a nice touch all the same.

Overall, I did enjoy the race. I particularly liked that I did so well. I'd say that there's a pretty good chance I'll be back next year. That said, I do hope the race directors will get their logisticall issues sorted out.

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