72. Downtown 10K, 2012

Haven’t done this one since their first race in 2009. I was hoping that it had grown a bit since then, but it appears to be about the same size. One thing was different, though… this time the registration process seemed to be a little off. And by that, I mean “extremely murky.”

Good Stuff

The Downtown 10K starts at City Hall and runs up the Bike Path before looping back for a finish along the full length of Church Street. There are two points where we needed to cross a street with a good bit of traffic; once to get to the Bike Path, and once to get back to downtown. Both were covered by the police, so we had no problems with cars. There wasn’t enough police coverage for the whole race, but North Avenue has plenty of room on the sidewalk for the small crowd we had.

The Bad Stuff

Their website hasn’t been updated in a year. If you thought to check their Facebook page then you could get some more recent information, but that really shouldn’t be necessary. Active.com said that the race started at 8:30am, but previous years had started at 9am. This caused some confusion on Race Day, causing them to move the start back 10 minutes. Another problem was my missing shirt.

Apparently they had some trouble with Active, and some folks (like me) weren’t listed as shirt recipients. It was okay, though. I was told that a post-race email would set everything right. (And it did. I now have my spiffy shirt.)

Of course, the worst bit was Cara’s cold. She was a train wreck for most of the week, and had only just recovered. My insistance that she skip this one fell on deaf ears, resulting in frequent coughs and a generally bad attitude. This was aggravated by the fact that there was only one water stop.

Cara's cold takes its toll
She coughed a bit during the race, but mostly she was just exhausted. We kept looking for a second water stop, but there wasn’t one.

I suppose water stops aren’t as important up here in New England when the temperatures are lower, but they could at least put it in the second half. Maybe in Battery Park. Cara was desperately thirsty, so it would have helped quite a bit.

Paying for Free Stuff

There was only one other disappointing bit wasn’t really the races fault at all. Rather, it’s the city’s fault. Burlington is an excellent running town, but it isn’t a very good race town. Races here remind me of a race I ran in Boston, where we shared the course with whoever wanted to run on the Esplanade.

Each race takes me through all the same places I run every day for free. The Bike Path, the Waterfront, downtown… I run in all of these places on a pretty regular basis. What’s the point of paying for a race if I’m just going to be on the sidewalk? We could have just given $60 to a charity and followed our normal routines for the same result. Cara and I were discussing this when something awful happened. We passed our apartment.

Cara’s Rough Time

If I hadn’t left the key in the car, both of us would have considered abandoning the race entirely. I would have continued if only to get the car, but Cara was an exhausted mess. It was almost physically painful for her to pass by knowing that our pug Dublin was inside waiting for us. When she started waving and calling to him, I couldn’t resist taking a picture. And then after that, I couldn’t resist a bit of editing.

Cara calls to Dublin

I suppose I can’t blame the race for much. I was primarily motivated by a desire to get my wife home or at least to get her a coffee. Things were handled well for a small event, and the people were as nice as always. I hope they have many, many more races.

But for my part, I wonder if I’ll be signing up for many more races here. I love running in Burlington, but I’m not sure about how many races per year I’m willing to pay for.