Where/When: May 20, 2017, 12 pm in Stowe, VT
Weather: Mid-60’s and sunny–perfect running weather!
Unlike when I did this race two years ago, I got there plenty early, and traffic was not an issue. I met my friend Megan in the parking area at about 11:20, and we were through the bib pickup line in about 10 minutes. There was a DJ playing music, plenty of porta-potties, and a water station right there at the start. We hung out, enjoying the sun and stretching, until about 10 minutes to noon, when we lined up in the starting chute.
On the Course:
The race started right on time at noon, and we set off at an easy pace. Megan hadn’t ever run a 5k before, so we were taking it slow. After the first mile, we took our first walk break. The course was exactly the same as when I last did it; the first mile and a half are on a closed road, and the rest is on the bike path.
There was a water stop at the halfway mark, but Megan was carrying water and I wasn’t thirsty, so we didn’t stop. We took another walk break right before mile 2 to let Megan’s breathing ease up (she has mild asthma). We started running again after only a short break, and ran the remaining mile except for one uphill, and finished just under 42 minutes.
The finish line was MUCH better organized than last time I did this race. First was a line of volunteers handing out medals, then a line of volunteers with water bottles, and then a final wave of volunteers with Kind bars. It was easy to get one of everything and I didn’t feel rushed or like I had to compete with anybody to get what I needed. Megan and I sat in the grass, stretching and hydrating a bit, before heading to our cars to change for the finish line Brew Fest.
I have to say, this year’s Brew Fest was AWESOME. There were definitely more breweries in attendance than last time, and lots more food options too. There was also cornhole, giant sets of Jenga, and a live band. The lines were never out of control, there were plenty of water stations, and it was just a gorgeous day. For the money, I feel like this is a better deal than the Burlington Brew Fest.
We did a great job of alternating beer samples with glasses of water, and had DELICIOUS food truck fajitas for a late lunch. Samples were being served until 4pm, but Megan and I both left around 3:30. I had to get down to Stowe village for the Stowe Theatre Guild Season Kick-Off Cabaret (which was SO MUCH FUN), and Megan needed to get home to pack because she’s moving next weekend.
All in all, this was a great experience. The Craft Brew Race has definitely addressed a lot of the issues that I had the first time I ran this race, and made lots of obvious improvements. All runners received a medal and pint glass, plus admission to the Brew Fest. There were also festival-only tickets, as well as steeply discounted designated driver tickets, so there was something for everyone. Admittedly, if it had been raining, it would have been a different story because there was no where to get out of the rain, but for the day we had, I have zero complaints, and I would do this race again in a heartbeat.
Have you ever done a Craft Brew Race? If you like beer and a well-organized race, I HIGHLY recommend it.