One Unbeleafable Day race and festival

Categories: Festival   Race Report   Running   running   The Adventures

On Saturday, 9/24/2011, the Gwinnett Parks Foundation has a fundraiser for a new playground at Little Mulberry Park. Being as this is one of my favorite local stomping grounds, I’ve been wanting to do a race there for years, and it was a good cause, I signed up for the 10K race they had planned.

Originally, there was supposed to be a series, with a 10K, a 2.2 mile fun run/walk, and then another 10K at night. I was going to do all of them, figuring it would be fun to run the trails at night, but that was cancelled due to low registration numbers. It was also supposed to be a trail race, but due to rain the day before, there was a last minute change to stay on the paved path. Although not thrilled about it, at least I knew that would make it an easier and faster run.

The race itself was good. The course was essentially every paved path in the park. (There was a small connector that got missed, but we’ll let that slide. :) Unfortunately, this meant running up the Carriage Trail, or as I now call it, “Lung Death Hill”. Yeah, with about 300 feet of elevation in a ½ mile, it’s not so fun. I’m pretty sure except for the lead people; the entire field was reduced to a slow crawl up it. Happily, Helen was manning a water stop at the top, and helped keep me moving.

For running this, I had hopes of finishing in under an hour, a noble goal for someone who’s spent the last 10 years putting along at an 11-12 minute pace. Happily, I can report that I did do it! Three of the miles were in the 8 minute range…how’d that happen?

One fun moment was passing the tractor that was pulling the “Hay Ride” trailer. The Chik-Fil-A cow was in back, and after high-fiving him, I got to blow by the tractor like it was standing still! WoooHooo! Okay, maybe I barely passed it, and only kept ahead because I was worried about being ran over, but hey, I beat a moving vehicle.

Since there was a full festival going on, the wife and kids came with and wandered around while I was running. Once I finished, we met up with some friends and played around a bit more. We talked to a lady from the local birdwatchers club before the race, and afterwards, there was the local falconry association. Yeah, seeing really big hunting birds was cool, but I’m going to have a little work trying to talk the wife into getting one.

There was some good music playing, which we enjoyed. The little man saw a bagpiper for the first time. He was mesmerized, and stood staring with eyes like saucers for a few minutes.

A portrait photographer was there offering good deals, but since I had just finished running, we didn’t sit to have our pictures taken.

Now, I’m no event organizer, so I don’t know what’s involved, but I’ll give my criticisms to help future events. (And don’t get me wrong, we had a good time, and would happily go to another festival here.)

  • The event wasn’t very well advertised. We just happened to notice a flyer on the park bulletin board one day, a place we very rarely look at. There was only 40 people preregistered for the race, which also tells me the hold didn’t get out. (But to be fair, there were races happening all over the place that day.)

  • The different sections were spread out a bit too far. I didn’t mind walking the ¾ mile from the food to the bouncy rides, but that’s a long way for my 2 year old. Especially when you end up going back and forth a couple times.

  • There was a ton of carts driving all the volunteers around. Some of them were driving pretty crazy…especially when you’re trying to jump out of their way with a double stroller. Plus, would have been nice had they offered a shuttle service. (There was a lady we helped carry stuff for who was having a real hard time walking up the path, and probably would have really appreciated a ride.)

  • After the race, there was no water or anything! I planned ahead, and brought my own, but come-on, that’s an obvious thing to have. My understanding was they had some after the awards ceremony…but since I didn’t know when or where that was, I had left to find food already.

UPDATE (1/30/2012): I haven’t seen results for this race posted online any where, so I’m posting the copies I got from the race directory via email. that makes them unofficial, but hey, if you’re wondering how you did, here you go. one unbeleafable day race times by age group one unbeleafable day race times overall

Written on September 27, 2011