So, Roger told me that I was crazy for trying a 5K one week before the Hershey Half Marathon… but telling me I’m crazy is more of an incentive for me to do things.
Race date: October 10, 2015. Race started at 9:00am.
Location: Oxford PA
Cost: $30 (registered the day of the race)
Weather : Sunny, high 50s, low wind.
** There was an injured runner at mile 1, according to the organizers, she fell, but was reported to be ok**
Last year I did a 5K in my USA hometown, Oxford PA. I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep, and was very tired from the Pitbull concert the night before, but I had a lot of fun at the run. My family has lived in Oxford PA for over 15 years. Oxford is a small and quaint town in Chester County Pa. Close to Philadelphia, to Washington DC and Baltimore. The town is in a corner of the state, in which it would take about 10-20 minutes to get to Delaware or Maryland.
Oxford has been doing a 5K organized by the Oxford Main Street for 11 years, but they skipped it this year. I don’t know why. I was a little sad that there would not be a 5K in Oxford this year, so when my sister emailed me 3 weeks ago, asking if I would do the Oxford Oktoberfest 5K with her, I immediately said “Yes!” knowing that the Hershey Half would be a week away. I didn’t doubt agreeing to it, because I love running with my sister and I love running in my hometown.
This was the 3rd annual Oxford Oktoberfest 5K, and I have to say that they still have things to learn. I have been to more than a few small races, but none bothered me as much as this one did. Here are some of the things I think they could work on, to make the race better.
- Have enough Bananas and water for 200+ runners. They ran out of bananas and water. By the time we were ready to get some food in our stomach, they were out of bananas. Race started at 9:30, bananas were gone by 10:15. By around 10:40 they were out of water too. There was beer, but I don’t typically drink beer at 10:30 am, and with the Half Marathon next week, I am not drinking any alcohol. I went to the Oktoberfest tent, looking for more water and found boxes of donuts; I grabbed a donut for my sister and coffee for myself. I overheard somebody said those were for the volunteers. By around 10:45, there were three bags of bananas on the table, still in the grocery back from across the street.
- Have the medals or other prices ready for the winners. The race director came out and said that there had been a misunderstanding with the orders for the medals, and that they didn’t have any medals. They were very apologetic about it, and said that they would mail them to the winners, but still… it says that somebody didn’t care enough to make sure things were in order.
- My Map My run registered it at 3.01 miles and Roger’s Garmin registered 3.0. My sister’s Fitbit registered 2.85 miles. I find it very disappointing when I show up for a race advertised as a 5K, which ends up being really a 4.82K. I read up on this, and chances are that My Map My run was wrong, but equal chance that the race was miscounted. I can still say I did 8 minutes miles.
- Please let me have a T-shirt! I swear I’m not bitter about this one! I might sound bitter, but I was only hurt. I have stated many times that I love collecting race shirts. I don’t wear them, but that is my own business. I went to register online on Thursday. The registration link said that registration closed at 12:00 on Thursday before the race. I went online at 11:02 am on Thursday and tried to register, but the site told me registration was closed. I thought it was weird; it was only 11:00. I didn’t mind, I could still register at the race. At the registration the volunteers were not giving out any shirts, they kept saying that they were only for the pre-registered runners. Weird. I have been to many races, and registered late and still managed to snag a tshirt. Even last year at the Hero run, I registered late and didn’t get a shirt, but after the race the volunteers were giving them to any of the runners who didn’t get one. The girl at the table said to me “Please take it, we can’t use them again, the shirt will be different next year”.
Well, not at this race. They were not giving out any t-shirts to anybody registering that day, at all. At the end of the race, I saw a box full of t-shirts at the registration table and thought that I could ask nicely and get one. But the race organizer nicely said “No, sorry!”
At the awards ceremony, after apologizing for not having the medals, he made a point to apologize again to those who didn’t get a t-shirt, saying that they “have gotten burned” in the past with the t-shirts. Ok, I get it. Last year it rained and they probably got stuck with a small group of runners and tshirts left over. I get it, but that is just cruel. I have never organized a race, but I want to assume that you want to keep the people giving you money happy, and get them to return next year to give you more money… give us the t-shirt!
Now to the race
We arrived there at 8:15, drove from Harrisburg that morning, so we had eaten on the road. Roger decided that morning that he would be running, to get a sub 28 min 5K on record. We arrived a little later than we wanted, but we still had time to register, use the bathroom, get more coffee and warm up. We didn’t see any portable toilets, so we walked across the street to Dunkin Donuts to use the facilities.
The race started promptly at 9:00 am. My sisters met us at the start line. We were debating on whether to wear long sleeves or a jacket, it felt very cold. I wore one of Roger’s long sleeve compression shirts and capris, he wore a sleeveless compression shirt and shorts. I was insanely jealous of my sisters, who wore black leggings and matching orange long sleeve tech shirts.
The race was 217 runners, no pacers and no organization of pace. I have a son, and he has no interest on participating in races. So, I always wish that parents who bring their kids to races and have them run with them, had review a few things with their kids before the race. Things like, 1. You don’t have to run the whole thing, but when you stop running, stay on the right side of the road. 2. Tie and double tie your shoes before the race starts.3. There are a few crazies here, who intend on running the whole thing and will run you over if you stop in front of them.
We started off in the middle of the race, and had to dodge many runners, most of them kids with their parents, most who were stopping in the middle of the road.
Once we started running, and I got past all the kids and their parents, I kept a good pace. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel like I was dying the first mile. I ended up running behind a woman who was running on her tippy toes; I don’t know how she was managing this. We were around mile 1, when I passed her. That looked exhausting!
Right after a small hill at mile 1, there was an injured runner on the side of the road, and many people were surrounding her. I slowed down to see if there was anything I needed to do, but kept going seeing that there were others who were with her. I would not be doing more than crowing the scene. I did slow down to send a text message to my sisters and Roger, in case they would get caught by the EMT or ambulance on the road.
We ran along route 472, a road in which I have driven hundreds of times! It was nice to run it. I was feeling good, and kept going with my pace; I had run two hills and had no problems with my breathing, my ankle or my shin splints. Around mile 2.75, I was starting to feel like I wanted to stop, but told myself to keep on. I was closed to the finish line and saw that the timer was at 24.18, so I started sprinting to the finish line. I crossed at 24.33, and I kept walking around to slow my sprinting breathing. When I went to stop by Map My run app, my heart jumped, the timer said 3.01 and I was a good few feet away from the finish line, I had already stopped running and had already pressed the finish my run button. Oh well! Made my notes on MMR and went to take pictures of the rest of the family at the finish line.
Roger came in at 27.30, but his picture was blocked by a panting girl bent over at the finish line…. I truly can appreciate being out of breath at the finish line, but does anybody remember to keep moving after you cross the finish line? Move! There are other crazies coming! Nina came in at 31.04, Maria came in at 36.47.
Roger was very excited to have run a sub 28 min 5K… I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was short of a .10th of a mile. He realized it and did the math; he would still be under 28 if he would add the 10th.
I got water for my sisters and Roger and the last banana. Around this time, it was announced that there was beer for anybody over 21. And they were out of bananas…. I’m going to ignore that the only post race snack was water and bananas. I don’t understand how they run out of bananas at a race, knowing you registered 200+ people. Shortly after I went to get water, and the water was also gone.
Maybe I’ve been running too much this summer, but I was a little surprised there were no water stops. I understand that this was a short run, but one water stop never hurt anybody.
It was announced at the awards ceremony that the injured runner from mile 1 was conscious and ok. It is believed that she tripped and fell.
The top finisher had a final time of 17.10. There was also a 13 year old kid who finished at 17.26! Everybody was amazed!
I got a new PR for a 5K, which I didn’t think was possible, after my disaster race in Bird In Hand. I feel more confident for the Hershey Half next weekend.
We stayed for the photo op for the winners, because I placed top tree of my age group. This is such a new adventure! After 1 year of running 5Ks to have gotten 4 recognitions at races! It’s pretty amazing! I have two medals for placing top 3 in my age group, and 1 for first place female (for a very very small race). I will be anxiously waiting for my medal to arrive on the mail!
Here is the bottom line, I enjoyed the race, it was a nice course and I enjoyed running in Oxford. I know I complained about the kids and the tshirts, and lack of bananas, but that is normal. If I would have gotten a tshirt, I would have likely been back for this event next year, the flat out “No Tshirt for you” was a huge turn off. It seems the organizers need to get a list of things to have for the 5K, 150 shirts, bananas and water for 200+ people and medals for the winners. Worst organized race that I’ve been to.