This is a recap of my personal experience at the VT Corporate Cup Challenge 5k. If you want just the nitty gritty details, check out my review on BibRave.com. Don’t forget to help your fellow runners by reviewing all your races on BibRave!
What/Where/When: VT Corporate Cup Challenge 5k | Montpelier, VT | 5/12/16 @ 6pm
Conditions: Very hot (80’s) and humid
I received a free registration through work, and everything was very simple to get registered online. Since this is an evening race, and it was supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far, I really focused on hydrating well at work all day. I left the office at 4 intending to park at the Richmond Park and Ride and have my coworkers pick me up to carpool, but the Park and Ride was a freaking ZOO. Cars everywhere, people everywhere, lots of people obviously trying to carpool for the race. It was horrible. I got frustrated immediately and just left to drive to Montpelier by myself.
As usual, getting into Montpelier was a cluster. Traffic was backed up way onto the ramp off I-89, and I sat in it for about 10 minutes, intending to get at least to the National Life parking lot. Once again though, my frustration got the better of me and I bailed out and parked in the Montpelier Park and Ride, which is about a mile away from the start. I just took it as a nice little warm up jog, and got to the Statehouse lawn at about 5:20.
So. Many. People.
Bib pick up is super organized, with lines alphabetized by last name, and I waited in line for all of 1 minute to get my bib. You had to go to another tent for your cotton t-shirt, but I just decided to forego it, because the last thing I need is another crappy cotton t-shirt I’m never gonna wear. I met my coworkers on the Statehouse steps for some pre-race pictures, used a porta-potty, and we lined up in the start area at about 5:50. Once again, it’s a mass start, but thankfully, the race is chip-timed, so I didn’t worry about getting too close to the front.
On the Course:
As usual, the start is extremely congested, and I spent about the first half mile speeding up, slowing down, and weaving all over the place to avoid groups of people running together, or those who had started at the front and then began walking right away. This is still my biggest complaint about this race; it would REALLY benefit everyone if they had a corral system or wave start or something. Ah well.
In keeping with my goals post, I focused on just taking it easy and enjoying the run. It was super hot, and I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, so I knew I didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank anyway. I was HYPER aware of my foot the whole time, listening for any pain or discomfort signals, but they never came. Yay!
The spectator support for this race is incredible. It feels like the entire town of Montpelier is out cheering you on. People are sitting on their porches and lawns playing music, cheering, waving, and one guy even had his hose out and was spraying it on the street for people to run through. There was one water stop at about the halfway point, and a 5 piece folk string band right at mile three to help push us to the finish. The last .1 mile starts with a lovely downhill, so I picked up my pace a bit and cruised to the finish in 32:41.
I got a full-sized bottle of warm water right in the finisher’s chute. I knew from scoping out beforehand that they had their usual bagels and cider for post-race fare, but we had a reservation at Positive Pie down the street, so I wandered over there. I ate poutine (with real duck gravy and VT cheese curds!) and had a beer, then drove home.
I was really pleased with my time, and proud of myself for following through on my promise to take it easy and enjoy the race. I still feel like there’s got to be a better way to manage traffic, parking, and the congested start, but since I’m not paying for this race, it’s hard to complain too much. It’s definitely a fun event, just a few logistical issues.
Would you run a race again if it consistently had logistical issues like parking/traffic?