Hospital Hill Run
Hospital Hill Run( 34 reviews )
- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, Virtual Race
- Road Race
- Event Website
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Lindsey McRobertsManhattan, Kansas, United States
Starting with a change in training plans 6 weeks ago ended with a scramble to pack the morning before the race. Isn’t that how it always ends up for me?! Oh well, let’s check out how Hospital Hill treated me this year!
** EXPO / PACKET PICK UP -- I don’t recall getting an email about the race the week before...could have been trapped in my junk folder. I still haven’t looked - but I was able to check the race website to see where the expo was located. The HHR expo has been at the Sheridan the past several years, so I knew how to get there. I didn’t quite realize the “expo” ended at 7pm while “packet pick up” ended at 8pm. So showing up a little after 7pm meant the vendors were mostly gone or mid-packing up to leave. Whoops! At least I was able to get my bib and shirt! The bonus was that I was able to live vicariously through the HHR social media platforms — they posted about the vendors, food tasting, and fun happening throughout the day. I just wish I could have seen it for myself...
** PARKING -- Race morning parking was simple — I always park in the Crown Center parking garage. The questionable decision I made was following my Maps App on how to get TO the garage...it had me driving through the starting area, which was already closed up tight. Shame on you Maps App.... I was able to sweet talk my way in with a nice police officer since I arrived nearly an hour before the start, so no major issues there! The garage was already starting to fill up, but I was able to get a spot super close to the post-race area — which means the most when you don’t want to walk far after the event.
** THE START -- Before heading to the start line, I exchanged my shirt. Yep, even though I was one of the last runners to pick up my packet, they still made me wait until race morning to change my shirt out. The exchange was fast, quick walk back to my car, and I was back out at the start area. I text Katy that I was around, and we met up soon after! We hung around the starting area chatting before hitting up the mostly-clean port-a-potty line before heading into the masses. The HHR race start was easy to find as they had “pace markers” lining the street for runners to line up with their appropriate running times. I ignored those signs as I searched for one of my running buddies pacing the half. We ended up hanging around that pace group through the National Anthem as well as to the starting line — but we soon fell back to where we were more comfortable.
** THE COURSE -- If you have ever heard that Kansas or Missouri is flat, you are sorely mistaken. The HHR courses are filled with rolling hills and butt-kicker climbs (and descents). There were some street changes for this years course, but you still got to experience Hospital Hill, 39th St. Hill, Broadway Hill and Trinity Hill on the 10K course.
** AID STATIONS / PORT-A-POTTIES -- The aid stations were appropriately placed roughly every 1.5-2 miles — and one of the 10K aid stations could be hit twice in a matter of seconds (darn SHORT out-and-back loop). I was happy to see the volunteers offering sports drink first and water second along the course — nobody needs residual sports drink burps...gag me. At most (or all) aid stations, there was at least 1-2+ port-a-potties...which I would have very gladly hit up! But somehow, my bladder cooperated with me today...
** SWAG -- At the HHR Expo, participants were given their Charlie Hustle tee (a well-loved, local screen print shop) — and after the race, finishers received their distance specific medal and an ice-cold wet towel (which felt AMAZING as the temps started to rise). As you walked through the chute, finishers could also grab an assortment of water, chips, fruit, milks, and/or ice cream.
** POST-RACE -- The post-race party was fun! The “fountain area” outside Crown Center was transformed into a finishers party with beer, coffee, snacks, massages, photo ops, additional swag purchases, and additional food options (pancakes and/or hot dogs).
Each runner was given a ticket for a beer, pancakes, and hot dog on their bib — I passed off my beer ticket to Katy and we both enjoyed pancakes after our 10K.
** MY RACE **
Overall, my race went great! I met up with Katy early and we decided to stick together through the miles. We both couldn't decide "who was holding who back", but I think we both could use the sidekick.
We did start the 10K up with the 2:20 half marathoners, which was not a pace or time we intended...but we were able to stay moving while the crowds passed along those first couple miles. Our first up-hill encounter was Hospital Hill - a mile long stretch of gradual gain. Somewhere along this stretch, we just barely missed a race photographer. Katy and I nearly turned around and went back to get a picture...but decided against it. Ha!
The rolling hills kept us moving with my 3:1 intervals...while I ran a little more in the first couple miles than I intended, it felt good! We walked through the aid stations (drink it, don’t wear it), walked up most of the hills, and took a little more advantage of the downhills.
I had a goal of finishing the 10K in less than 90 minutes — per my Endure Strong training cycle the last 6 weeks. My training went well, and we were making good time towards this goal! While Katy and I met face-to-face the night before, we chatted the miles away like old friends!
Once we finished the last BIG hill, Trinity Hill, we pushed the pace on that last section — all downhill! We went fishing for runners and nearly sprint to the finish line!
Run and done!
I can honestly say, I am not sure how I would have run today without Katy by my side... Having someone to chat the miles away made this year’s Hospital Hill Run one of my favorites! Once through the finish line, we were wrapped with an ice-cold towel and given our choice of drinks and snacks. I loaded up on water, a taste or two of sports drink, a banana, chips, and an ice cream bar. I was lucky that Katy’s hubs was around to take pictures at the finish as well as do our photographic bidding...ha! What can we say, we like to have sufficient photographic evidence of our fun times!
** OVERALL **
Overall, I am always impressed with the organization of the Hospital Hill Run events. Keeping thousands of tired people and families happy isn't a small task -- and the organizers of the Hospital Hill Run do a great job!
As someone who typically finishes and/or paces towards the back of the pack, I don’t always have the most selection of post-race indulgences — but HHR seems to keep the party and fun going until the last runners cross the line. I will be back to this race for years to come!