Midnight Owl 15K |Race Recap

indexRace 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!

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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.

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Sugarloaf 15K |Race Recap

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Race Location: Sugarloaf, Maine

Race Date: 5/20/18

Race Managed/Timed By: All Sports Events

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Very organized and easy to get in and out. Barely any lines. However, we were required to be present to pick up bibs, no picking up for friends/family, which can be difficult for a destination race. Pick up was 3-7 p.m. so it was assumed you would be coming up the day before and staying the night. Early morning pick up was offered, but logistics were unclear.

Organization of Race: The race seemed decently organized. Meeting locations and transportation was very clear. A warming bus was available at the start of the 15k. There were enough portopotties at the very start of the race, however there was no hand sanitizer in them. Shuttles were provided from the hotel to the start of the race, but I prefer drop-off so I don’t have to be there as early. There was a small convenience store at the start that allowed us to wait inside. Warnings were announced prior to the race start time. Runners did not line up by pace so there was a fair amount of dodging for at least 2 miles. Water stations were available every 1-2 miles with both water and Gatorade. I did not see fuel or medical care during the course. There were no race provided portopotties between the start and the finish. Many runners darted into the woods around the half way point. Medical support was available at the end of the race, as well as many massage tables. Warming blankets and water were right at the finish. I was texted almost immediately with my race results. Mile markers were every mile and very clear.

Course Description: Road running along a very scenic river. It was not a closed course, so cars and trucks were driving in both directions during the run. If you stayed with a group, the cars seemed more likely to move over, however there were a few cars that came way too close and were going much too fast. Other than a police officer at the start of the race, I did not see any police or course marshals along the route until the finish line. Running on the side of the road was difficult and not at all flat. The course was mostly down hill with a few rolling hills, but was hard to enjoy because all I could think about was my expanding bladder!

Spectators/Energy: Very few spectators, but the ones that were there cheered for everyone. Lots of cheering at the finish line but was definitely a small crowd. Some spectators drove along the course cheering, following their runners.

Swag: Long sleeve tech shirt, actually looks pretty nice and I ended up running in it. Women’s medium was true to size and fit nicely. Swag bag had granola, Sugarloaf stickers, printed logistics for day-of. The finishers medal was a wooden carved medal that was shared for both the 15k and marathon finishers.

After Party: Lots of snack options at the end of the race: 2 types of soup, pastries, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese, granola, bananas and oranges and other snacks. I did not walk thru the entire food tent. There was a large tent for massages with many tables available.

Other Thoughts/Comments: I ran this race just so I could be at the marathon finish to cheer on a friend, otherwise I would not have driven so far for a 15k. The course was nice, but I was too preoccupied with having to pee, not being able to run in the middle of the road and worrying about cars at my back. I also thought I had read that there was fuel available but did not see it. I am fine running close to 10 miles without fuel, but I don’t think that’s true for everyone. I was surprised there was no medical support on the course, especially considering it covered the last 9 miles of the marathon course. However, there were many medial staff at the end of the race, one even approached me and asked me a bunch of questions before he would let me go. I’m glad I ran it, but I won’t run it again. Running with 2-way traffic and no portopotties is a no-go for me!

~ Suzanne A.