Where: The Carousel Lounge, Salisbury Massachusetts
When: Saturday, March 7th at 9:00 am
Managed by: Loco Running
Professionally timed by: Racewire
Part of the Will Run For Beer series
March 7th marked my first of the four races I will be running in this month, and my second of the Will Run For Beer series. It is my first year doing this (or any) series, and so far I am loving the races. They are mainly based in Massachusetts. The first one I ran was the New Years Day 1st Run in Lowell. Venturing a little out of my NH comfort zone has been great.
The Will Run For Beer series is put on by Loco Running, perhaps most well known in these parts for the Smuttynose Half. Loco Running started out as a shoe store and formed Club Loco in 2006. Similar to Millenium, they grew quickly and put on many races in New England, as well as having a running club. I have always found their races to have a big turnout, good, professional organization, and fun after parties. This race was no exception. Despite all the complications of having a race at the beach, after all the snow we’ve had, I was pleasantly surprised to find free parking, close to the race start. Bag check was available for a small fee. Bib pick up took place inside an arcade. It went smoothly and quickly. There was a DJ making announcements the whole time, and plenty of volunteers and signs. More than adequate Porta potties as well, with nice short lines. The race started just a few minutes late, though in the cold sea breezes and winter temps those minutes felt like an eternity. After the race our results were posted (on paper) by the awards tent. Results were promptly emailed as well.
All runners got cute cotton t-shirts. Those who placed got a special shirt and Smuttynose beer glass. At the end of the race there was plenty of water, PowerAde, yogurt, delicious pizza (I think it was Christy’s) and free beer. The beer was a rather unfortunate IPA though, and a keg malfunction caused excessive foam-age. Most runners quickly abandoned it and moved on to the bar to buy their own.
The roads were about as clear as you could hope for, considering the weather we’ve had. There were a few speed bumps and icy patches to avoid, and an apparent water main break. I missed that but heard about it after. I was told they did a good job dealing with it. The course was well marked, with plenty of volunteers directing us and a water stop halfway through. I had hoped for better scenery, seeing as it was at the beach. We mainly ran through neighborhoods. It was a nice flat course, and mother nature at least blessed us with plenty of sun.
The After Party:
This was my first year running this race. I heard the after party was in a larger location in previous years. Not sure how they ended up at the Carousel this year but it was probably not the best choice. There were a lot of us packed into a very small space. I definitely experienced some moments of claustrophobia in the beginning, and we debated staying. I was glad we did though. The crowd thinned out a little, the alcohol started flowing, and then there was the Karaoke contest, which was a BLAST. I’ve been to some great after parties in my little race career, but this was definitely in the top 3. Everyone was laughing, dancing, singing along, and just having a great time. Drunk by 10:30 in the morning and singing at the top of our lungs to Shaggy, Springsteen, and Eminem? Why not? We’re runners, we got up early, drove to the beach, and ran in sub 20 degree temps. We earned this. After the Karaoke most of us found our way out to the snow covered beach for pictures and more laughter, and the promise of summer beach races!! There was a whole lot of happy going around.
On a personal note (brag warning) I was feeling extra happy because I earned myself a PR of 25:26, my first sub 26 minute race. I loved seeing some of my favorite MRTT friends there, and even hearing one of them kill it at karaoke. Despite the cold this race truly felt like a kick off to spring racing and I can’t think of a better way to have begun March. I would definitely recommend this race, and hope to do it again in the future. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make my way on to the stage next time.
-Mary Beth S.