Sunday, October 9, 2016

5000 Yards Dash Race Recap

This morning I raced the inaugural 5000 Yards Dash in Philadelphia, which was organized by Great American Brewery Runs, a company that pairs road racing with breweries in the Philadelphia area.  They have races sponsored by Flying Fish, Sly Fox, Fordham and Dominion, River Horse, and now Yards Brewing Company, hence the name and distance of today's event.

Each race also has a charity component, and today's race was in benefit of Philly Achilles, which "pairs disabled athletes with compassionate and trained guides who place an emphasis on safety to ensure that our disabled athletes reach their optimal fitness potential."

I was lucky that a friend from my running group won free entry to this race last Wednesday, but wasn't able to use it.  He sent an e-mail to the group offering up his entry, and I jumped on it.  Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch over bib swapping, he was never actually registered for the race. He just gave me the free code they issued him and I registered with it. I was also supposed to run the race with Erik, another friend from my running group, but he must have seen the rain this morning and bailed on me.

With race entry fee, tax, and online processing fee, the total came to about $55.  For that price, runners received a custom beer glass and coaster/bottle opener (seen above), bananas/beer/hard pretzels afterwards, a festival with live music and food trucks, and a course along Columbus Boulevard (and the only Philadelphia race permitted to run in Penn's Landing).  I was surprised there was no race shirt.  I thought this was a staple of all races.

The race started and finished at Yards Brewing Company, located on Delaware Avenue on the Delaware River Waterfront.  I had planned to ride my bike there because it's only five miles from my front door to the brewery and I didn't want to deal with parking, but the steady rain all morning made that a no-go.

I found parking on a side street close by, walked over to the brewery where a large tent was set up, picked up my bib and then stood around for an hour as more and more runners showed up.  By race time the tent was so packed with runners trying to avoid the rain that it was hard to move inside.

According to the announcer, there were 1,400 runners there (though if they went by registered runners, I'm pretty sure there were plenty who decided not to show up due to the rain today). When 8:30 rolled around, we all trudged out onto the road where I positioned myself close to the front.  My running group Who's Up? just got new T-shirts and racing singlets, and I decided to break mine in today, though it meant I was shivering uncontrollably while waiting for the race to start.  I was fine once we got going, though, and the singlet ended up being a good choice.

The race itself was rather uneventful.  We charged en masse down Columbus Boulevard, eventually made a left into Penn's Landing where the view would have been nice if I wasn't being pelted by rain, then turned back onto Columbus straight into a headwind.  Being 5,000 yards, the course was a little shorter than a traditional 5k, and I finished in 18:33.

I grabbed some water, high fived the runners who came in behind me, and immediately went over to the beer tent.  One of the men there asked to see my I.D.

Me: I don't have my ID, I forgot to bring my wallet today.  How much of a problem is that going to be?
Beer Guy: It's a bit of a problem.
Me: (probably looking wet and pathetic) Can I go look up my race results which will show you I'm 35?
Beer Guy: All right, you're ok.  Go on.
Me: Bless you, good sir.

The wet T-shirt contest was my favorite part of the race.

We got a choice of the pale ale or the Brawler.  I went with the pale ale, one of my favorites.

I was surprised that the brewery itself wasn't open.  I had brought a complete change of clothes, and had planned to hang out at the brewery for awhile with Erik and others, but instead I drank my beer and just walked back to my car.  I doubt the race had any control over it, but it would have seemed like a logical choice to open the brewery, especially on a day like today, but runners were confined to the tiny tent instead.

The race and/or brewery also desperately need to work out a system to dispense the beers more quickly.  Runners were standing in the rain in a line practically as long as the course itself just to collect their free beer.  It was also a very slow line.

All in all, not a bad race experience.  Tough luck that the inaugural race just happened to fall on a day with such terrible weather, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits.

Were you out there with me this morning?  What did you think of the race?  And how long did it take you to get a beer?!

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