I am working my way through the month of June on the Runner’s World Run Streak – a challenge to run at least one mile every day between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. I’ve run in the morning, at night, in the rain, and in the blistering heat. I’ve run on trails, roads, sidewalks, and grassy hills. It’s been crazy, challenging, and generally a good time. All this running has meant that I’ve run at strange times and in unusual locations. As part of the streak, I’ve run in a few races.
Bolton Summer XC Series
Loyal readers will know that I am a fan of the Bolton Summer XC Series. I featured this race here and here. The series began on Wednesday, June 20th in 90+ degree heat. It was sunny, humid, and hot hot hot. I plodded along and finished the challenging course. The course is a two-loop design, with two gradual uphills and one big hill. It’s really a tough course, but tough in the way that most runners like – you know how fit you are (in my case, not very) after running. The elevation chart is a bit deceiving, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
This week, the weather was much more cooperative, with 80 degree temperatures and a light breeze. The group of runners are always friendly and the race was fun to run. The views from Rose Farm were particularly lovely.
XTreme Scramble #1
I also recently ran the Hartford Marathon Foundation Extreme Scramble #1. This race was really not fun. The XTreme Scrambles are usually a good time – interesting courses (though not always 5k), and good music at the finish line party. The running husband and I decided to run this race together after work. Not the best decision ever. First, it was 96 degrees at race time and sunny. The organizers promised “extra water stops” and a “mister on course”. What they meant was a water stop 200 yards from the start/finish and then one in the middle of the course. The “extra” water stop was basically at the start/finish line. It wasn’t that useful to me at that point because there was water at the start/finish line. The mister was also at the start/finish line, not on the course. Not useful. If that weren’t enough, the course was almost 4 miles long (3.8 by my Garmin, and 3.8 as reported by the announcer at the awards ceremony). I know that course measurement can be off a bit and that GPS isn’t always reliable, but being off by .7 miles is unacceptable. There is no way anyone could have thought that course was a 5k distance. It was an out-and-back design. We were still going out at 2 miles. It was obvious it would go long. I don’t mind running 4 miles in most circumstances, but when it’s 96 degrees, that extra distance is miserable. I felt especially badly for people who might not have been prepared for the extra distance. For someone doing their first 5k, and extra .7 is a big deal. The back of the pack looked like a death march the last half mile – 96 degrees, no water, extra long course. I usually accept HMF races for what they are and know that they will have limitations. But the XTreme Scramble really crossed a line into the Not Fun category.
As the streak continues, I’m sure I will continue to run in strange places and at strange times. It’s been fun, but as I see the temperature climb on my thermostat, I might not miss it when it’s over…