Race events need not to be overshadowed by the commercially-motivated gimmicks and freebies. The best race events are those that connects directly to each and every runner and the running community. These are some of the valuable things I have learned so far with the few races I have joined in Massachussetts. Yes , they are not widely hyped and smaller that what I was accustomed to. No celebrity endorsements nor flashing fireworks, just good old race events.
The 33rd Annual Boston Tune Up 15K race last Saturday, lived up to what I expected. Staged in the hilly town of Upton in Massachussets, the event was organized by a local running group, Tri-Valley Fron Runners. Its an annual local event participated by 344 runners from different neighboring towns. I was lucky enough that the location is just a 15 minute ride from my apartment.
Registration started a few months early either through mail-in form or through online processing via Active.com. The event also held a race day registration option with $5 additional charge. The registration fee is on the lower end of average the regular fee of $20. Teens have the discounted fee of $15 and runners over 70 years of age can run free! How cool is that!
The venue opened at 8:30 AM for same-day registrants as well as race packet pick up. Anticipating a cool march morning, it was held on a covered venue with ample space for runners to change gears/clothes and prepare for the rest. The race packet came with a PERSONALIZED BIB and a dri fit shirt. Registration and race pickup went smoothly as I expected.
The race started at exactly 9:00 AM, just the right time as the sun starts to heat up. The temperature was on high 40s to low 50s, best time to run and sweat. After a moment of silence to commemorate a the local running/coach icon Larry Olsen and the singing of the national anthem, off goes the 300+ runners. There were 3 aid stations that was serving water for hydration. Given the weather condition, I believe this is adequate enough to get you through the 15 kilometers. I did bring my own hydration bottle just in case. Sports drinks are available at the finish line, no need to compalain. It was awesome.
The route, as advertised, is indeed full of scenery and PLENTY of fresh air. If you have experienced running on mountains and countrysides where cars dont usually pass, you get the view. Local residents gave each runners enough boost by going out of their houses to give a clap or a shout out. The route was a killer, however, with rolling hills all across the whole 9.3 miles. I should not complain, this is Massachussets, expect the hills and love it! But the climbs in between the 7th to 9th kilometer mark was definitely killers. Mile markers were available from mile 1 to mile 9. Split times were provided at mile 1 and mile 5, they are being shouted out by a volunteer timer as you pass the mile markers.
After the race, a simple "potluck" was made available to the runners, volunteers, organizers and friends. Tortillini chicken soup, meatballs in red sauce, breads and bagels, cakes, sweets and water,sports drinks and coffee to delight each. I can say these are all home prepared and indeed a great treat after a 15 kilometer run. The results are printed and posted in the wall while everyone else are enjoying the food. The awarding followed to give medals and trophy to the best overall finisher per category and divisions. Would have been better I went home with a trophy but I cant out run someone who can cover the whole distance in less than an hour :-) None the less I went home with a new personal best for the 15K distance, beating it by almost 14 minutes made me a happy runner after all.
What's Hot ?
- Organized registration and race pickup.
- Challenging route.
- Great running community athmosphere.
- Mile markers and split times.
- Fast result!
- Personalized bib.
- Great waeather.
- Scenic route.
- None that I could think of. There are points for improvements but all of these are too minor to mention.
The organizers were right on on the "must haves" for a good weekend race experience. While the experience is totally very different from the commericially-glorified races back in the Philippines, I can say that the athmosphere is refreshing and rejuvinating. Simple event with no gimmicks, just an amazing runners experience. If given the chance, I will definitely run again next year and would promote this event to friends.
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