On August 11, 2012, I ran in the Bolton XC Classic 5k. This is a race of many names. You may know it as the Bolton Alumni 5k, or the BHS 5k, or even the Bolton XC Race. No matter what name you choose, the Bolton XC 5k is a great race. In its fourth year, this cross country race benefits the Bolton High School cross country teams and is directed by their coach, Paul Smith.
The Bolton XC Classic begins and ends at the Bolton High School. A small group of runners gathered at the high school at 9am. It was 82 degrees with overcast skies and 80% humidity at race start. Not ideal racing conditions, but it wasn’t raining and the sun wasn’t cooking the runners. Coach Smith got things started by explaining the 4-loop course. The race was run around the school grounds on a variety of surfaces. The majority of the trails are standard, 8 foot wide, grass cross country trails, but there was some more traditional rocks-and-roots trail in the woods. Professional timing was provided and runners of all ability levels were welcomed.
This race is about as low key as a race can get. A group of mostly local runners gathered, chatted, and set off on the run. At the conclusion of the race there was a wonderful spread of food (with plenty left over, I might add). There were cookies, bagels, fruits of all kinds, chocolate milk, and water. Once all the runners had finished and results were tabulated, Coach Smith presented the awards. The awards are what really make this race special. Age group winners are presented with a hand-painted rock. Not a tiny little rock, but a boulder, hand painted by the high school art class. This year, the rocks were painted as part of the art class’s final exams and each was painted in the style of a famous artist. The rocks are vey cool. Several friends and I were the proud recipients of our very own rocks. Note – my rock, pictured, was one of the smaller rocks.
I’m pleased to say that I won my age group. Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that I was the only one in my age group, but let’s not dwell. I’ll be back next year to defend my title, and to get a third rock for my collection.