Band on the Run – Huntsville Half 5K

A little while ago I read a blog post by yumke talking about how he no longer runs for race swag, because it quickly builds up into piles of stuff that takes over your house.  I am very much the same way.  I recently purged quite a bit of running gear and it felt liberating (but then I put my laundry away to find that I still have more and got a little overwhelmed).  I’ve made a couple of my favourite medals into Christmas tree decorations or key chains, but the rest either get shut in a drawer or mysteriously lost in my chaos.

On Saturday, though, I did a race purely because of the perks – I did the 5K at the Huntsville Half – Band on the Run

Perks
1. I grew up in Huntsville.  I gave me a good excuse to go home and visit my mom for the weekend (not that I really needed one – I love going home)
2. The course was challenging and scenic and had live music all along it.
3. The concert afterwards.  The event organizers did a great job of setting up the post race party complete with The Sadies, Laganza and The Sheepdogs.

I will fully admit here that I totally signed up for this race based on the announcement that you got free concert admission with your race bib (or just $10 for non racers).

Got in late to my mom’s house (11pm) on the Friday night and proceeded to not sleep at all that night due to my city dog that gets overstimulated when we visit and just paces, cries and barks all night because she’s so excited to be there. The joke is “DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS OUTSIDE, OUTSIDE?”  Just knowing that she is just steps from the woods and could be out there running through the trees is enough to drive her crazy.  And by extension, myself and The Husband due to lack of sleep.

Finally gave up on trying to sleep at 6:30, had some toast and then hit the road into town at 7:30.  Getting out of the car, I realised that I had forgotten to bring a bag for me to put my stuff in (I has either wearing or holding everything that I needed).  But fortunately (or unfortunately), my mom found one of those recyclable grocery bag sitting on the sidewalk near our car.  Score! Free bag!  The Husband didn’t feel as excited as we did about the found bag…

Hung around for a while – saw some old friends who I hadn’t seen in years, watched the little kids do the 1K run, watched the half and the 10K runners start and then headed over to the start.

When you don’t live in Muskoka, you forget about how hilly it is.  Nothing is ever actually flat.  Even when it looks flat, it isn’t – you are either going slightly up or down.  This makes running any course very challenging and this 5K was no exception.  Luckily the hills balanced themselves out rather nicely with the first half being mostly up and the second half being mostly down (not that some opposites weren’t thrown in there of course).  Calling it rolling would be quite apt.  The course was great though – live music out of the course, lots of things to look at.

My goal going in was to be under 28 minutes – goal accomplished with a 27:39 chip time. 54th overall, 26th woman and 2nd in the 30-39 Women’s age group – which was neat to get to get an age group prize because that rarely happens for someone running at my speed.  Picked myself up a new shoe-key holder from the swag.

This race did something that I loved that I know a lot of people probably wouldn’t like – they didn’t hand out finisher’s medals.  Now, if I had run the half marathon, and it was the first one I had ever done, and was under the impression that I would be getting a medal to show off to all my colleagues at work on Monday – I would be disappointed.  But that isn’t me.  A medal saying that I finished a 5K isn’t required, and it’s an unnecessary expense for race organizers – and this way they got to use that money for something else (like awesome bands!).  They did do a neat thing called a Finisher Medal Recycling, where you could bring some of your old medals and they would give them a new home – either at this race or another local one in the future.  Great idea!

That being said – I did get a medal for my age group award, and it is pretty cool design 🙂

After the race, we went back home, took a shower, left Cooper, and headed back to the concert.  Local band Laganza were great. The Sadies rocked so hard that they broke the sound system momentarily.  The Sheepdogs had everyone up and dancing.  The rain held off and it was a great day.

huntsville

This was a great little race and well organized.  I saw a few minor hiccups that were easily fixed on the fly that seemed to be mainly due to inexperienced volunteers (like, ‘Oh, I should open these bags of bagels so people can grab them?’ lol).  My only wish was that more of the town was out supporting the race.  There weren’t a lot of spectators out on the course (at least not during the 5K – I’m hoping the half had more people out watching).  The last 200 meters were on the main street and there wasn’t really anyone out and cheering for the runners; we walked to Tim Horton’s after I was done and we were the only ones cheering the people finishing the 10 & the half.  Maybe it was because all of the people who would typically be the ones cheering on and supporting this event were the ones actually racing or already volunteering, there weren’t a lot of people out on the course. But the ones who were out there were great!  Loud cheers, music and noise were a pick me up on the hills.

Thanks to the organizers, volunteers, musicians and sponsors who helped make this race great – I’ll be back next year!

Next up: Dawn at the Don 5k
Goal: Under 27 minutes on that nice flat course!

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