RACE: Max O’Hartford 5K
LOCATION: Hartford, CT
DATE: March 16, 2014
LENGTH: 5K (3.1 Miles)
RUNIT RATING: Thumbs up!
Our Race of the Month for March took place this past Sunday, March 16th, and it was great! The Max O’Hartford featured a 5K as well as a Wee Mile for the younger participants (ages 2 – 11). Team Runitlikeamom represented, despite the cold and craziness of our lives, as walkers, individuals, couples, and families.
The energy before, during ,and after the run was positive and fun. Racers were decked out in green with plenty of St. Patty’s Day flair, and spectators bundled up to cheer us on in the frigid temperatures and biting wind (the windchill was about 14 degrees). With over 2,200 participants, the streets were full but not overly crowded. I ran just about in the middle of the pack and enjoyed the costumes, conversations, and encouraging words I heard surrounding me.
The course is described as “relatively flat,” though some experienced runners I talked to said they considered it to be “hilly” for a city event. As this was my first race, I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I will say I always found relief on the other side of the hills where I had plenty of time to take some deep breaths and regulate before the next incline. There were mile markers with timers and a water station at the 1.5 mile mark, as well as volunteers handing out water at a few other spots along the way.
On a personal note, I felt the O’Hartford 5K was perfect for a “first-timer” like myself. Here’s why:
1) The start time is reasonable (1:00pm ) as opposed so some ungodly hour, especially given the cold (and honestly, I’m not signing up for a race if I have to get up at 4am on a Sunday to make it on time);
2) The great energy and crazy costumes take the pressure off and contribute to a go-out-there-and-have-fun attitude;
3) The distance is doable at any rate, for runners and walkers alike;
4) The course is easy to follow and gives you a little bit of everything (flat streets, hills, pot holes, wind tunnels, park-side beauty, and the chance to run under Hartford’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch); and
5) There are lots of great restaurants and pubs to enjoy after the race (if you’re not into the complimentary corned beef sandwiches, which I heard were great)!
And to elaborate on this personal note just a bit more, I also enjoyed this race because of who I got to share it with- my dedicated and loving friend (and running coach), Sarah. I did not expect this experienced runner (3+ miles is nothing for this lady) to give-up her race time to stick by me, but that is exactly what she did. She ran a few feet in front of me and motivated me throughout the race. From the first turn to the last stretch, Sarah made sure I was with her. She alerted me as we weaved our way through cigarette alley, let me know when we were coming up on our first mile, checked to see if I needed water, encouraged me to keep going up that big hill, oriented me (and the lady running next to us) to where we were in the city, told me when to smile at the camera, asked if I was ready to sprint it out to the end (when I was pretty sure I was already sprinting), and grabbed my hand as we crossed the finish line together. I have shared so many important moments in my life with this beautiful mama, but this will be a special one on our list. THANK YOU.
And thank you, Max O’Hartford, for a great day all around! For more information on this event and others organized by the Hartford Marathon Foundation, check them out here.
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