RACE: Riverfront Scramble # 2
LOCATION: Mortenson Riverfront Plaza, Hartford, CT
DATE: Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
LENGTH: 5K (with a few surprise obstacles)
RUNIT RATING: Thumbs up!
The Riverfront Scramble is a series of 3 races on the scenic Connecticut River. The first race occurred on June 19th while the third race is scheduled for August 21st. The motto of the scramble is, “Will run for burritos and beer.” There is a very fancy medal for all participants who complete all 3 races in the series. The Hartford Marathon organized this event, while sponsors included Harpoon, Moes, Riverfront Recapture, Amica, Pure Protein, and Walgreens. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is the charity partner. Costumes are encouraged.
After Patty inspired me to participate, I then decided to research the course map on the website. I was in bit of a shock when I saw the following statement:
Looking for a course map? Are you kidding? This course is so wacko, there is no way to put it on a map! Just be prepared for wet sand, dirt paths, rocky hills, grassy knolls, stair climbs and even a little asphalt! It is definitely not your high school track. So lighten up, don’t take your time too seriously on this one – just do it for the party at the end! Every Scramble is different – you may cross over the river, traverse switchback ramps, wade along the beach or run the stairs. Portions of this course might get you wet, might make you curse, might make you dirty – but it will all make you smile.
On race day, the weather conditions were perfect. The sun was out, the humidity was low, and there was a nice breeze. The Hartford Marathon Foundation is very organized and the registration and bib / T-shirt collection process was a breeze.
Given this race was on a weeknight in the middle of the summer, there was a great turnout. While most runners were not wearing any costumes, Sarah and Patty were all decked out in their “Runit Like a Geek” costumes. I donned my Wonder Woman cape while wearing the cool glasses provided by Runitlikeageek.
Photo credit: Patty Girard
We started the race on the Founders Bridge in Hartford as the sun was angling toward the horizon. In the first part of the race, we ran downhill until we were running along the river. The views during this race were awesome. I did not know there was a long paved running path tracing the Connecticut River. There were plenty of race guides who made sure we all stayed on the course. Because there were no mile markers, I had no idea how far I went and how much further I had to go.
About halfway through the race, I noticed the pack of runners ahead was climbing the 6 plus flights of stairs toward the Charter Oak Bridge. I have to admit, those stairs were so intimidating, I felt winded in anticipation of this challenge. I took a deep breath and started my ascent. Surprisingly, this climb helped me control my breathing because the pace slowed down and there was a curved landing which separated each flight of steps. After I made it to the top, I enjoyed my flat run across the bridge. From there, the view of the Hartford skyline was breathtaking. At the end of the bridge, we climbed down the stairs, heading back toward the Riverfront Plaza.
The final stretch made me chuckle inside because it consisted of differing terrains of dirt, loose gravel, and slabs of stone going uphill. At that point, I was so winded, I had to walk. I tried to run, but my body said, “no.” Once I saw the finish line, I found energy to pick up my pace and sprint to the end. Sarah and Patty had already completed their race and cheered me on. I am very proud I finished this race in about 36 ½ minutes. If someone asked me 10 years ago if I would be able to complete a 5K race on an evening after work, I would have said, “No way!” I want to add, Patty’s and Sarah’s consistent running sessions have paid off as they both finished their races with amazing times. I want to give a special congratulations to Patty, who finished 5th in her age group. Way to go!
The Hartford Scramble was definitely the most physically challenging race I have ever done. I felt proud I finished this race. I want to thank the Hartford Marathon Foundation and all the sponsors for putting on an event I will never forget. As I walked toward my car, I had a big smile on my face because of my accomplishment and because of witnessing a spectacular sunset over a beautiful city.
Photo credit: Ellen Stefanie
“We ran for beer!”
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