Running a 5K used to be a big deal for me. I would always get nervous the days leading up to the race and would actually feel nauseous at the start line because I really was not a runner and it was very scary for me to get out there and run for 3.1 miles. In the beginning, my goal was to just be able to “run” the whole thing without stopping to walk and once I achieved that, I would set time goals to try to improve upon. Most of weekend runs these days are 4-6 miles so I often don’t run very many 5K’s these days, however, on Saturday May 7, 2016 I gathered a team together to do the 2016 Hard Cider Run 5K at Warwick Valley Winery and I have to say I am so glad I did! So much fun, and awesome swag too!
For this run, the team consisted of some seasoned racers as well as first timers and every level in-between. Leading up to the race I would host short 20-30 minute runs weekly geared towards the newer runners although all were welcome. I also would talk about proper running form, technique, and breathing with participants of these training runs. Due to weather we were unable to get as many training runs as I would have liked, but regardless they all went out there and did fantastic.
Most 5K races you pay a fee between $25-$40 and typically only get a cotton t-shirt and a bib with a timing chip. Some have bags filled with stuff from local vendors, especially if there is a particular event that the race supports. For the Hard Cider Run the cost of the event, based on when you signed up, was $35-$40 and such a great value considering all of the cool swag you received. All participants received a nice moisture-wicking t-shirt, chip timing with a commemorative bib, hard cider served to all finishers in a commemorative glass that you were able to keep, free parking, and a custom finisher medal. You also had the option to add on, for an extra fee, receiving a donut at each mile and then an additional medal at the finish line that was distinguished by a unique bib worn by these racers that chose the add on.
You were able to do packet pickup the evening before the race, which I took advantage of, but even that morning they had a really good flow in the tent where you received your packet, shirt, and bib. The team gathered just outside of the tent where you picked up the bibs and the weather was dreary, but at least the rain finally stopped. At 9:20 after my team gathered and we took some group pictures, we headed over to the starting line. At 9:30 we were off and racing!
The run was through the orchard and surrounding fields. It was pretty muddy because of the rain the week before, which they had warned racer prior to the event, so I decided to wear my cleated OCR sneakers to help with the grip on the muddy fields. The beginning of the course was a zig-zag through the trees and very congested but i was able to run ahead and get some space and then just run at a happy pace. This course had more hills than I expected but overall was a good course. As we came out of the small patch of woods and then it was another round of zig-zagging through the trees ultimately reaching the finish line.
We all waited for each racer on our team that started with us to cross the finish line and cheered them on as they did. After everyone crossed it was time for a finisher picture and then off to get our free cider. There were two places to get your cider, one inside and one outside. It moved pretty fast and seemed well organized as we just had to go to the bar area, hand in our ticket and the cider was already on the bar in the glass you just had to decide which one you wanted, they had 2 varieties to choose from. I chose the lighter one and it was delicious. After our cider, we walked back to our car, which was not parked very far away, and headed out. This was a well organized event in my opinion and I would definitely recommend it, but runners that this is not the course to look to PR on.