This is a recap of my personal experience. If you’re interested in just the nitty gritty details on the race, check out my BibRave review here. Don’t forget to help out your fellow runners by reviewing all of your races at BibRave.com!
What: Run for Martha 5k Run/Walk/Dance, to benefit Martha’s Barn, Inc
Where/When: Essex Junction, VT, Sunday, June 7 at 9am
Weather: Sunny, mid-70’s and breezy
This was the first annual Run for Martha 5k. All proceeds were to benefit Martha’s Barn, Inc, a non-profit start-up that will provide a community space for people with autism of all ages. Registration was available online up until the day before the event. No bibs; your cotton event t-shirt marked you as a participant. My sister and I arrived at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds around 8:30 am, because she was volunteering (Martha is one of her students). They were still in the process of setting up, but had lots of fun things to keep busy–bubble wands, volleyball, badminton etc. A Super Sounds DJ was there playing music and making announcements.
The race ended up starting almost 45 minutes late, because they were waiting for some of Martha’s family members to arrive. No one really seemed to mind too much; you could tell most people were there to support the cause rather than to run and compete.
Around 9:45, we lined up, and the race organizer Kathleen (Martha’s mom) let us know that the course was two loops around the fairgrounds, and to keep the balloons on our right. With a “Ready, set, go!” we were off. I was one of maybe 20 people running; the rest were walkers. I settled into my normal 5k pace of 9:30ish minute miles, and felt great pretty much the entire race. When my watch beeped one mile, I thought it was a little too soon for the course, but just kept plugging away, not really paying attention to the overall time.
I passed a few runners on my second lap, and when mile 2 beeped, I once again thought it was too early for the course. Regardless, I came in for a strong, sprinting finish, with my sister taking pictures and cheering me on. I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch to find that the course was only 2.3 miles long. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I had a feeling it was not going to be a true 5k. It’s just a shame because I was running really strong, and if it had been a true 5k, I could have PR’d. Oh well.
Nectar’s was there serving up their famous gravy fries, burgers, and hot dogs. There was also watermelon and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. All food was by donation, so it was a very good deal. It was definitely a party atmosphere–the DJ was playing lots of great dance-along music like the Macarena and the Electric Slide, so people were dancing and having fun. They also gave away some great raffle prizes. AND there were cute puppies to snuggle 😀
This race needs some work. The woman who organized it did so almost single-handedly, which is definitely impressive. However, with a few tweaks, this race could really be a bigger draw and more successful as a fundraiser. It seemed like the majority of participants in this event were supporters of Martha’s Barn, or friends and family. I think simple things like having bib numbers, age group prizes or overall winner prizes, and better advertising on websites like Active.com, RaceWire, and Running in the USA could draw in more runners from the community, thus raising more money. I gave Kathleen my email address and told her I would love to be a consultant if she does the race again next year.
Have you ever had a race with a short course?