- 3 miles/5K
- Road Race
This was the inaugural event for this race, and it definitely needs improvement. The race is a fundraiser for Martha's Barn, Inc, an organization dedicated to "providing a therapeutic environment for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities." This is a new organization that is trying to get the start-up capital to actually open. Martha is one of my sister's students, so it was a cause I was happy to support.
Online registration was available until the day before the event. There were no bibs; your cotton race t-shirt marked you as a participant. There was plenty of signage and plenty of parking at the Champlain Valley Expo. Upon arrival, it looked like things were still being set up, but there were lots of fun activities--bubble wands, badminton, volleyball and other games. Super Sounds DJ was there playing music and making announcements. We also had access to real bathrooms, which was nice.
The race started almost 45 minutes late, because they were waiting for some family members to arrive and participate. It seemed like most of the people at the event were friends or family of the organizers, so not one minded much.
The course was two loops through the Expo fairgrounds, which are not terribly scenic. The course was well-marked with balloons, and was relatively flat. Unfortunately, the course was almost a full mile short; my Garmin measured it to be about 2.3 miles, which was a bummer. There was a water table at the start/finish line, so runners could grab water as needed, but there were no volunteers handing cups out. Timing was very unofficial, there was just a guy at the finish line calling out times. Times were not recorded, and there were no Age Group or Overall placement awards.
There was plenty of water and food on hand after the race, all by donation, which was a pretty good deal. Nectar's was there serving up their famous gravy fries, plus hot dogs and hamburgers. There was also watermelon, iced tea, lemonade, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. The DJ continued playing music, so it was a fun atmosphere. There were some great raffle prizes available as well.
This could be a really great race with just a little bit of extra knowledge and effort on the part of organizers. As I stated above, it seemed like most of the participants were friends and family, but I think with better organization and some additional perks (bibs, accurate course, official timing, AG and overall awards), they could draw in more runners from the community and ultimately have a more successful fundraiser. Regardless of the limitations, it was a fun event for a good cause, and I'd run it again.