- 6 miles/10K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Trail Race
A favorite local race, this one is challenging but fun. The majority of the racers are there for the half marathon, which leaves a small 10k crowd that takes off about 15 minutes after the half start. I did this race last year too, but this year the race logistics were a little different. Race management was good about communicating it, so we were prepared, it's just unfortunate that the local businesses couldn't be more supportive of this small race. Let me get into a bit more detail:
Registration: First, I didn't sign up for the race until the Friday before. I thought I had something else planned and was going to miss it, but as the weekend approached, I was reminded of the race, saw I had Sunday morning free and a 7 mile run planned, so I decided to just sign up for the 10k. The weather has finally started to heat up in Raleigh, so it chose this weekend to get nice and toasty. The race start at 7:15am definitely helped, but there's really no avoiding the temps this time of year.
Packet Pickup: I couldn't make the packet pickup, but they did offer it for morning of. I arrived early on Sunday morning and was able to pickup my bib. As I did not register until Friday, I had to come back after the race to pickup my shirt as they only had guaranteed sizes if you registered by a certain date. Totally understandable and they did end up having excess after I returned.
Parking: So this year, the company across the street from the race start was doing work on their building. We weren't allowed to park in the normal parking lot and according to race communication, the other nearby businesses denied the requests to use their parking. This was so disappointing to hear (not from the race but the lack of support from these Cary office complexes). Seriously, it's a Sunday morning and people are just parking and walking over to the start line. This isn't a marathon where people would be parked there all day and loitering in the lots as they warmed up. Get it together, Cary. Anyways. We were directed to park at Bass Pro Shops which is about a 10 minute walk to the start. Not horrible, and we just allowed for extra time to get to the start line. The walk back was a little intense in the full sun but can't avoid that.
Swag: The half marathon has medals but both distances have shirts. Each year they do a similar shirt design but new shirt color. It's not a race tech shirt but a traditional tee, but honestly, last year's shirt is one of my most worn race shirts. It's unisex sizing but not insanely large and they keep smaller sizes on hand. I love the fit and was excited to be able to get the new shirt (this year the color was brown with a green logo... felt very woodsy and Umstead-like in feel).
Course: Alright, I'm not going to lie. It's hilly. From the start line, you travel about half a mile on paved roads until you enter Umstead on a bridle trail. You cruise down a lovely descent trying not to think that this course is out and back. But from there, it's pretty much rolling hills. The course support is great with 3 aid stations passed twice; so basically 6 total for the 10k distance. This was perfect given the temps and how much effort you expend going into the hills. They had water an gatorade at all of the stops. As mentioned, the last hill is a doozy, but as soon as you conquer it you are basically headed into the finish line chute.
The finish line had lots of water, bananas, oranges, chips, donuts, etc. I didn't stick around for awards but apparently one of our friends got 3rd place in her age group. They had little plaques for age group awards; I'd definitely stick around next time given it's such a small race.
I'm glad I signed up for this one at the last minute. It's such a low-key race and I love the support of the local running community. I'm ready to draft a strongly worded letter to the property management companies surrounding the area, but hopefully if anything the regular business that is used is back to it's normal functioning ability and let's the race use it's parking lot again.