I’m going to start this race with a confession (runfession?): I am really, really susceptible to peer pressure–especially when it comes from other runners. After crushing my goals for my half last weekend, I was feeling a little bit jealous that a ton of my local runner friends were signed up for yesterday’s Cambridge Half Marathon. I ran the inaugural Cambridge Half last year absolutely loved it–and I also loved the Oktoberfest 5k organized by the same company. So when a teammate had a bib for sale for half price, I jumped on it, figuring I would pace a few friends and just run for fun.
The first warning sign came with a very strongly worded warning to pick up our bibs before race morning. Having been warned that the lines were long on Friday, I went on the later end of the Saturday pickup and was stunned to walk into the back of what was apparently a 40 minute line to pick up bibs and jackets. Luckily, I ran into a friend (thanks Chris!!) who grabbed my confirmation and picked my bib up for me, but then it took us more than 30 minutes just to get out of the mall’s parking garage.
Come race morning, I left my house planning to arrive at 6:30 am (according to my GPS), a full hour before race start. It was marginally too early to take public transit, which I would have preferred–especially because I then sat in traffic for an extra 35 minutes trying to get into the garage, missing the Oiselle team picture 😦 Things were hectic and disorganized, and I couldn’t find the bag check or the bathroom before the staff starting yelling with megaphones for everyone to get to their starting corrals. Luckily I stumbled into some teammates in the corral and we took off, keeping things conversational and comfortable. At mile 5 I popped into a porto potty and then managed to find my friend Sarah, who I had promised to pace for her marathon workout. Unfortunately, a couple of factors were working against us–the rain had picked up and the 7,000 runners were herded on and off of a narrow series of dirt paths. The crowding was made even worse as everyone tried to avoid the mud pits and puddles that were rapidly forming. With our shoes soaked and the traction not being ideal, we kept the pace under control to make sure Sarah gets to her goal race uninjured.
Finally we hit a long paved path towards the finish, where we picked it up for the last three miles, hitting splits at 8:33, 8:18, 8:06, and 7:15 for the .1. Appropriately, the race ended with a series of huge puddles mixed the red clay of the path. Dirty and soaked to the bone, I crossed the finish at 1:54:02, feeling pretty good and fresh after last weekend’s hard effort. We headed inside to change into dry clothes, and the attempted to navigate a super confusing after party with lots more long lines. There were mimosas, bloody mary’s, beer, and cider on hand–and apparently lots of food, but everything was so spread out it was hard to find. Luckily we managed to find some treats and grab a few well-deserved drinks before heading out.
While the rain definitely didn’t add anything, this race was one of the least well-organized events I’ve ever run. On top of the long lines, lack of direction, and overcrowded course, they lost a bunch of the jackets so people couldn’t get the sizes they had ordered, and the photos are all dumped into one 700-photo album instead of being searchable by bib number. Overall, this race was pretty frustrating–and would have been even more so if I had been running for time or if I had paid the full ticket price of over $100. That said, it’s always fun hanging with my birds and it was a super motivating way to get a long run in.
Back soon with a recap of the Prospect Park Turkey Trot I’ll be running with my brother on Thanksgiving! Anyone else have fun turkey trots on tap?
5 thoughts on “Cambridge Half Race Recap (a “just for fun” race)”
I’ll be at the Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot too! Have fun!
Woo awesome! I’m so excited–we’re in NYC for Thanksgiving most years but I’m usually too late to get a bib for this. Have so much fun!!
Congrats on the race, but man it sounds like a cluster… if they cannot handle organizing such a big event, they need to cut down on the numbers for it. Plus it sounds like the price was steep for a weird course, and it is never fun for a race to not give the promised swag (jackets). If you cannot deliver it, do not promise it. Glad you didn’t pay full price for this at least, but it stinks for those who did and for your friend :(.
It was such a mess! It definitely makes me feel lucky and super appreciative that most of the race I’ve run have been so well-executed. But man, especially when you’re in a town like Boston, there’s no excuse for these kinds of shenanigans.
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