I didn't even come close to PR'ing on this one, but that's not to say it couldn't be a PR race. The start was very bottle necked. Those of us that choose to run at the back of the pack could witness the fastest runners turn the Jerry Longcloud loop before we even began to walk to the gantry! If you are looking to PR, my suggestion is this. Start way at the back. When the fastest go, there is plenty of time to weed yourself through the slower runners or walkers and before you know it it's just you. This is a chip timed race, so it really doesn't matter what time you cross the gantry on the way out, only when you cross on the way back :). The trails are very narrow so if you start out anywhere but the back, you will be bottle necked from the gantry until the 5k turn around point. Not a fun place to be if you are trying to PR. It's an out an back so you can never really escape the bottle neck effect if you are doing a 5k, but once you pass the 5k turn around point then it's pretty much just you, the trails and the sunshine.
Continuing on up a tiny almost not even worth mentioning hill and we are at the crest of the Heritage Trails. The flat lands! Whoo hoo! I found my stride but the sun was fierce! No shade to be seen and the flat quickly turned to hilly again. If you have run the Hillside 5k then you will recognize this part of the trail, it's very hilly. I don't mind hills though, it keeps things interesting and they aren't big hills and 1/2 of them are down!
Did I mention the sun was fierce? Oh boy! At the 3k mark I was really questioning my judgement on wearing black and on going 10k, I mean, was it really only 3k? I had to will myself to at least get to the 5k mark so I could get water. Where exactly was the 5k mark anyway?
It felt like it was 50 miles away!
I finally made it to the parking lot of the Salt Marsh Trail area and it was a welcome relief of the heat to be able to run on a nice flat and shaded straight away again. I thought I could feel the salt air cresting my face, nope, that was just sweat... ah well, same same I guess. I knew I had to be close so I kept on trucking. This was a much easier trek as it was flat and shaded. I was hitting my stride! The 5k mark; the turn around point couldn't have been at a better spot. We make our way out of the beautiful shade and are treated again to the most beautiful scenery I don't think you could fine anywhere else but here. Beautiful!
Speaking of melting, by this point I was melting from just about every pore. I needed water I needed it in me and on me.
When a 1/2 marathoner passed me on the way back I knew I was done! I managed to finish with a run, it was a nasty run, a sweaty, snotty and smelly run, but it was a finish.
Way to go MEC on yet another beautiful trail run! I don't blame you for my pathetic 1 hour 20 minute finish, I blame the sun. I'm more of a rain runner than a sun runner.
Basically, my review on this race is do it! Plenty of scenery to keep you engaged and plenty of hills to keep you focused! At $15 it's a steal of a deal! Can't wait to see what MEC race series #4 offers!