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What are Your Top 3 Favorite Road (or trail) Races

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I was thinking today about races I’d run before NY.  I miss those races.  They were mostly small local races, but not all.  Some were highly touted, huge money races.  One in particular I remember like that was The Crim in Flint.  It was “the” race in Michigan.  10 miles, 1 good sized hill.  It was an event.  A huge after party celebration, beer, bands, all types of food.  Fun.

Even the small, out of the way, random 5k was enjoyable.  Everyone in the town knew about the race, they would either be in the race, volonteering, or at least watching from a lawnchair in their driveway.  The race was often accompanied by some kind of parade or celebration after.  They rarely had splits or even mile markers.  I would almost always get an age group award, as would most of the field if they were in better than average shape.

I miss those days.

Now it seems like a bi-weekly cattle herding experiment, except with NY runners.  We all get into our pens, and then we are released onto the circut.  Sometimes a full loop, sometimes 2, once in a while a shortened loop.  A few times a year we get to venture outside of that loop and try a new course.  But for those of us that are without a car, that commute is well over an hour.

The “after party” of the cattle herd is always bagels and fruit.  No parade.  No celebration.  Just get your stuff and go home.

Thinking of this brought to my memory, great races of years past.  I have many fond memories of racing PRE-NYC, and here are my top 3

3. An Unknown Race.  Seriously, I can’t remember the name or place.  It was someplace is South Eastern Michigan.  VERY small, maybe 150 people.  It was a trail race.  You had the option of 15k or 2 loops for 30K.  I choose 15k.  I remember it was a hot day, maybe in July.  One of the water stops was huge barrels of water that you would dip a big mason jar into to drink.  Awesome.  It reminded me of cross country days of high school.  And everyone went into a nearby lake after to cool off.

2. The Bobby Crim 10 Mile in Flint Michigan.  I ran this race in 1992 with my Dad.  I remember waking up super early to drive up to Flint.  It was the summer after my senior year of high school and I was in great shape.  I ran 57:52 and came in 146th, my Dad didn’t do to shabby either at 45 years old.  He ran 1:03:54 and came in 446th.  There were about 5000 runners.  Afterward, it was the biggest celebration I’ve ever seen after a race.  Bigger than NYCM.  Bands, beer, food, TONS of food and giveaways for the runners.  And the coolest “shower” fountain that you could cool off in.  The course was awesome, neighborhood people out cheering the whole way.  Actually this race is coming up on Aug. 28th…road trip anyone??

1.  The National Cherry Festival, Traverse City, MI.  Traverse City is one of my favorite places to visit.  Small town charm, but big enough that you don’t get bored.  Once my grandparents moved there, we made it an annual trip every July to go up to visit during the cherry fest.  I usually ran the 5k, while my Dad would run the 15k.   I really liked racing with my whole family watching, it added another layer to the racing experience, a good kind of pressure.  They would camp out near the finish line with lawn chairs and have to get there really early.  There was a parade immeadiately following the races, so everyone in the city wanted front row seats.  There was also a carnival with rides that make you throw up, sorry sis.

Honorable mention…Salinas 10K with bags of salad as the post race food, NYC Marathon, anything cross country

I would love to hear about everyone else’s top 3 favorite races….

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