- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K
- Road Race
This year (2015) was the 39th annual Sam Lapidus Montclair Run. It was the first year that they added a 5K along with the 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run. It was my first year to get the opportunity to participate in this run, but it will now be a Thanksgiving tradition!
There is no expo for this run. Participants have the options to sign up online (http://bhamjcc.org/sam-lapidus-montclair-run) or in person at the Birmingham Jewish Community Center. The community center welcomes all participants! Race packets can easily be picked up at the community center on the Wednesday before the run or on race morning. Since the run does not begin until 8:30am, either option is hassle free. All 5K and 10K participants receive a long sleeve running T-shirt.
The run begins and ends at the community center. Even though it has a large parking lot, I was advised that it fills up by around 8am on the morning of the run. This is really not a problem because there are office complexes on each side of the community center that allow participants to park in their lots. We arrived around 7:55am and had no problem finding a parking spot in the first office complex that we drove up to. The community center is open to all participants and has adequate restroom facilities, so there were no long lines to wait in prior to the run.
Between the 10K, 5K, and 1 Mile Fun Run; there were around 1,500 participants, all starting at the same time. I was concerned about how this would work out, but serious runners seem to simply get into the front of the corral area. I entered about 20 feet from the actual start line and had no problem being too crowded or having to try to pass other runners at the beginning of the run.
The run is an up and back on Montclair Road, which is a relatively hilly road, but the course was very manageable, even to novice runners/walkers. Plenty of police officers were on hand to block side streets and escort the occasional local vehicles if necessary. Birmingham has usually not had enough cold weather by Thanksgiving for all of the leaves to have fallen off of trees, so it’s likely that participants still get to enjoy the colorful fall foliage while running along Montclair. This year’s temps were around 55F with sunny skies, which made for perfect running weather. A water station was set up at the 5K split and at the turn around area for the 10K. There were also water, gator aid, and sodas available at the finish area.
The 10K and 5K were chip timed with final results being based on gun time rather than start line crossing. I suggest starting in the front for participants who plan to run a decent pace and want a more accurate finish time.
After 39 years, organizers of this run seem to have the entire process perfected. I highly recommend participating if you find yourself in the Birmingham area around Thanksgiving.