WHEN: Saturday, March 28th 2015
WHERE: North Park, McCandless Pa.
DISTANCE’S: 5K, 8.1 MILES, 13.1 MILES, 30K
COURSE: All distances start at the boat house in the park. If you run the 30K you start on the main road directly in front of the boat house. If you ran any other distance you start on the small road that is next to the tennis courts. The 30K starts 5 minutes before the other distances in order to give them some room. Both courses come into each other at about 1/4 mile. You run a 5K through the park before returning back to the boat house. At this point depending on what you are running you will either finish or do 1 loop around the lake for the 8.1 mile race, 2 loops for the half marathon, and 3 loops for the 30K.
SWAG: This is one reason I love this race. Instead of your normal shirt, which most of us have too many of anyway, you receive a pair of New Balance running shorts and pair of Feetures socks. Finishers of the half marathon and the 30K also received medals.
MY RACE DAY EXPERIENCE: Friday night the day before the race, I was struck with a gout flare up. If you don’t know about gout it is a type of arthritis that comes and goes and when it hits it is very painful. Most people get it in their big toe. I however get it in my ankle and it feels almost like I am walking on a broken ankle. I took my medicine as soon as I felt the pain. Here is the good thing, the medicine works pretty quickly depending on how bad it is, but the medicine does a number on your stomach. When I woke up on the morning of the race I could still feel some pain and my ankle was swollen a bit. I decided I would still go to the race and see how I felt once I got there. The weather was bitter cold and temperatures were in the teens when I left the house. The high for the day was only supposed to be in the low 20’s, so much for March goes in like a lion and comes out like lamb. After I parked my car I decided I would run down to the start and see how my foot was feeling. After my short warm up I knew that it was going to be hard to run. I was scheduled to run the 8.1 mile race and my plan was too run my race pace. I was hoping to finish just under an hour. I knew with my ankle this was not going to happen at all. I opted to drop down and run the 5K. I figured while I was there I might as well at least get some miles in and just go at a nice and slow pace. I know where I am at in my training and everything is looking good for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May and the last thing I wanted to do was push myself to hard and risk an injury. I ended up finishing running 8:30 mile splits. Not bad for a swollen ankle. I even ended up placing second in my age group. Overall I was disappointed I was unable to run the race I registered for, but I was pleased to see my finish without breaking a sweat or getting injured.
*This is a great race to run if you are training for the Pittsburgh Half or Full Marathon. There is a distance that caters to almost every runner’s needs. The course is mostly flat with only a hill on the loop and a hill in the first 5K. The only downfall I saw with this race was people were getting confused when it was time to finish. The finish chute was next to the chute you would run through as you made your way around the loop. There was only a person directing the 5K runners at the finish, so when you it was time for you to finish you had to know that you bypassed the normal chute and went to the far one to finish. I watched many runners have to jump the barrier to make sure their chip read they finished. Rather than that it was organized and they had plenty of water stops on the course and at the finish. Also I never heard anyone really complain about the port-o-potty lines, so they must have had enough of those as well, which is always a plus.