Race Recap: Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge

What is this, two posts in one day?  I know, it’s crazy, but I really wanted to get this recap out there sooner rather than later…  So without further ado…

The VT Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race.  Unbeknownst to me at the time of signing up, the VCCCSAR is the oldest road race in the state of Vermont, and this year was the 31st annual event.  It’s sponsored by the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and they place a lot of emphasis on increasing physical activity.

I received free registration through work (yay free race!), and was part of a 3 person running team.  We had 3 teams of three total–2 running teams and one walking team.

Before the Race

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Traffic was pretty bad coming off the interstate into Montpelier, and we had to park about 1/2 mile away from the start line.  The start and finish was right in front of the VT Statehouse lawn, which has some truly lovely tulip beds leading up to the steps.  Picking up our bibs was pretty simple–they had several tents with lines organized alphabetically by last name, and I had my bib within 2 minutes of stepping into line.

According to the announcer, there were over 4000 registered participants, and the sheer numbers packed into such a small area were pretty overwhelming.  There were about 20 port-a-potties, but the lines were incredibly long and slow-moving, so I decided to just “camel up” and wait until after the race.

It was really hot and threatening rain, but other than a few sprinkles as we were lining up to start, the weather cooperated.  It was very hot, almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and pretty humid.  The runners were given a 3 minute head start on the walkers, but there were no corrals, so the start was REALLY congested.

During the Race

I decided to run with my coworker and teammate, Lisa.  She ran a half a couple of years ago, but stopped running after she became pregnant with her daughter, and actually just started running again three weeks ago.  I didn’t have any real goals going into this race, so I was happy to stay with her.  Normally I’m a solo kind of runner, but it was surprisingly nice to have someone to chat with.

The first quarter mile of the race was incredibly frustrating.  We couldn’t even run for the first minute or two because there were so many people all trying to start at the same time.  And then some people started walking right away, but didn’t give any notice or move over, so there was a lot of speed up, slow down, dodge left, dodge right, weaving etc.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of runners didn’t really exhibit good race etiquette, and there were lines of 4 or 5 people walking next to each other, or walking on the left side of the route etc.  I just tried not to let it bother me.

The course was mostly flat, with one tiny uphill right before the turnaround point and one slightly larger hill right at the 3 mile marker.  We stopped at the water station at the halfway point, because it was REALLY hot out there.  There was some great spectator action–lots of folks out on their porches and in their yards, cheering and playing music.  One lovely gentleman had the hose out and was spraying runners and walkers, and another guy had a karaoke system complete with microphone who serenaded us with “Blurred Lines.”  I got a nice surprise when my friend, also Lisa, who lives in Montpelier, recognized me out of the thousands of other runners and yelled my name and cheered for me.  She didn’t even know I was racing and was out cheering for her boyfriend.

Coworker Lisa and I both sort of stopped talking towards the end because we were just trying to finish.  We went a bit faster for the final .10 mile, and crossed the finish line to the cheers of some of our speedier teammates.

Post Race and Results

My official time was 36:04, which is probably my slowest 5k time ever.  But I am not even remotely upset about it.  And here’s why:

  1. It was super crowded.  There was simply no way to maneuver around all the people without being a jerkwad
  2. It was HOT and HUMID.  This was only the second time I’ve run in summer heat, and I didn’t feel like fainting or puking (I saw at least 2 people hurl during the race)
  3. I wanted to stay with Lisa.  If I had ditched her, I probably could have finished faster, but the whole point of this event was team building.  If I had run alone, it would have completely defeated the purpose.
  4. Above all else, I KNOW I can finish a 5k in less than 30 minutes, and failing to do that for one race isn’t going to change that fact.  I had fun, and that’s what really matters to me.

Crazy post-race selfie with the statehouse dome

Crazy post-race selfie with the statehouse dome

After we finished, we grabbed some water and joined our teammates at the finish line to wait for our walking team, so we could cheer them on too.  There were bagels and cheese sticks in the refreshment tents, but I just got cheese;  I was still too hot to want much to eat.

Once we were all finished, we retrieved our free event t-shirts, took pictures on the Statehouse steps, and decided to meet in Waterbury for drinks on the way home.  We stopped at the Reservoir and I had a Shed Mountain Ale (7% ABV, woah) and a bowl of chili, which absolutely hit the spot.  It was a beautiful summery evening, and it was great to socialize with some of my coworkers outside of work.  I work with some amazing, quirky human beings!

Corp cup 3

I will definitely do this race again next year.  In spite of the crowds and there not being enough port-a-potties, it was a fun event with a lot of community support, and it was great to spend non-work time with my coworkers.

Do you normally run solo, or do you go with a buddy?

Ever done a race through work or with coworkers?

 

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8 thoughts on “Race Recap: Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m surprised the start was so disorganized (in terms of congestion) considering how comparativley old this race is. Nevertheless, I’m glad you had fun. 😀

    • DarlinRae says:

      I think a lot of the focus is on fun and being active rather than having it be a competitive event, which is why they didn’t bother with waves or corrals. If I had been trying for a PR I would have been more irritated.

  2. SuzLyfe says:

    UGH I hate hate hate disorganized starts. I don’t care if it is a formal/informal race. It is one of my biggest pet peeves, and not because I’m an elite runner or anything–it just isn’t fair to anyone–no one wants to feel like they are being harassed, or pinned in, and no one likes to have people breathing down their necks. A little organization can go a long, long way to making a good experience an outstanding one that is enjoyable for all. You know? Ok rant over!
    I run solo, but my favorite races have been solo efforts that are also a part of a team–my Team Challenge races, when I ran with Runner’s World. There is just something about knowing that you are representing something bigger, and that you also have an amazing support network there if you need it, that just takes the whole thing to another level. The only race that I have done start to finish with someone is when I paced my mom to her PR at the GA Publix Half Marathon this March. And that was amazing for different reasons!
    But at the end of the day, a race is a race, and a run is a run, and I’m with you in that we can enjoy them all, even if they aren’t perfect 😀

  3. dgobs says:

    Ugh, I hear your frustration with the disorganized start! When I’m in a race that doesn’t have pace pens I always try to start near the back, because I know I’m slow and I don’t want to get in the way of faster runners. But then it seems like SO many people stop to walk right in front of me and it ends up being like I’m running through a minefield of people. I always make sure I sneak a look over my shoulder if I need to stop to walk too, so that I don’t inadvertently stop dead in front of someone else, and I always move off to the right to get out of the way. I wish race etiquette were more widely known… it would make races go so much more smoothly for everyone.

    I’ve done one work-related race, but I made the mistake of signing up to run it with 2 of the most competitive people in my department. Instead of running together, like I was picturing, they both took off and ended up racing each other while I just plodded along at the back. I wish one of them had been like you and stuck with me, as it was one of my first-ever races and I could have used the support!

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