Race Location: North Conway, NH
Race Date: 7/28/2018
Race Managed/Timed By: Mount Washington Valley Skating Club
Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Mount Washington Valley Skating Club
Organization of Bib Pick Up: Smooth and easy! The start point and bib pick up were in Schouler Park in the center of North Conway. There was plenty of parking around the park. The area was well-lit (it was nighttime, after all!). And there were plenty of volunteers on-hand to answer questions.
Organization of Race: It was pretty simple–leave any time after 9:30 p.m. and try to be one of the first five people to cross the finish line after midnight without using a timing device. Leave whenever you think will get you there on time. They had a pace chart set up–so, look at your typical pace for the distance, and it told you what time you should leave to reach the end by midnight.
There were volunteers at most course turns, or at least arrows directing us to turn. There were reflective mile markers. And three water/Gatorade stops. Police were present at two road crossings.
We were directed to wear reflective vests/clothing and to carry a headlamp or flashlight. At least half the field did one or the other. Some people were really not visible; other people had really cool reflective gear!
There were 70-80 people (runners and walkers). And although everyone started at different times, most of us ended within 5 minutes of midnight!
Course Description: We started by Schouler Park in North Conway. There wasn’t really a start line (no tracker on the bib), but we were pointed to a general area to start from! We did a partial lap around the park and then out onto the main road (Route 116) and past shops and restaurants for about a half mile. We turned left onto River Road and it got dark. Good thing for those headlamps!
After a half mile or so on River Road, we turned left on West Side Road, and that’s where most of the running occurred (about 6 miles of it). It was a decent road, nice wide shoulder for much of it. There were some hills, but nothing that felt unmanageable.
We turned right onto Route 116 in Conway and ran another half mile or so to a left turn onto West Main Street. We were in the home stretch … except we had to do about a mile loop! We saw the finish line, passed it, and ran through a neighborhood and sort of industrial area (hard to see–it was dark!) to loop to the finish at Ham Arena.
Spectators/Energy: There weren’t spectators, other than the volunteers at the course turns and water stations. Most runners were friendly and supportive, but it was a very quiet course. I think it would be hard to do this alone, unless you’re really OK with running on a dark, unfamiliar route in the middle of the night!
Swag: A really cute t-shirt design and a complementary carved wooden “medal.”
They had special awards with a choice of raffle items–the “early bird,” for the first person to cross the finish line, the youngest and oldest runners, the person who came the furthest (with other cute names that I don’t remember), and for people who ran in another race earlier in the day (I won one of those!). And there special prizes for the first five people who finished after midnight (a mosaic hot plate).
After Party: They had cookies, watermelon and water at the Ham Arena. So, that was a little lame. And they made everyone stick around for the awards before bringing in the shuttle to take them back to Schouler Park.
Other Thoughts/Comments: This was a really unique event. It was a fun challenge–how well do you know your pacing?! I would do it again, especially if I could find a decently priced room to stay in the area. It was a long ride home after running for almost 2 hours!
If you’re looking for a challenge, and something a little unusual, I would HIGHLY recommend this race. If you know your pace, it’s a good chance to win a race!
~ Alicia C.