Ran the Bachman Valley HM this past Sunday. At only $10, one wouldn't expect much but I did this last year so I knew it was first-class all the way despite the price. All the photos here were taken by one of the runners, Jeanne, a phojographer (sic).
Instead of having a time cutoff, the race offered a half-hour early start and an hour early start. Nice of the RD to offer this flexibility to get everyone back in a reasonable time. This is not as trivial as it might first sound since it requires the RD to start successive waves exactly 30 minutes apart. Delays are not permissible once the first wave has started. However, the RD pulled it off perfectly. PS: Notice the impressive start line!
Ultimately, about 200 runners started. We spread out nicely - no effort was necessary to hit your pace or pull up alongside someone and chat (or pass).
For such a small turnout, the volunteers were impressive. Here is one of the aid stations.
For a $10 race, just getting gatorade is more than I would expect. But they offered a better array of food than I've seen at some HMs that were more than 5x the price! Notice the pretzels in cups (convenience!), gummy bears, goldfish, M&Ms, and gels. I sampled everything but the gels :-)
Mileage was well marked.
Here, we were sharing our splits with the cows. (We passed lots of cows!)
Crowd support was thin (every mile or so) but high quality. If you need people cheering your every step of the way, this isn't the race for you.
One homeowner we passed asked "Don't you have some place special to run?" Gee, it seemed pretty special right there!
Our phojographer took wonderful pics, many artistic or trying to capture the beauty of the course. Or off the course! Can't believe she could take these lovely photos in the middle of a race! (She took over 200 while running!)
As usual, some people people dressed a little more stylishly than me.
One of the finishers was a 10-year old! (Isn't this dangerous?) Needless to say, he beat me with a time of 1:56. Ouch!
I don't have permission to repost the pic of the 10-year old but you can click this link to a photo that someone else took of him as he was about to cross the finish.
Crossing the finish line, everyone of us got a warm welcome and handshake from the RD herself. She congratulated me by name and shook my hand as I came across the finish line. (She shook every finisher's hand!) Wow!
We all got finisher "medals" made by a local potter, signed on the back. Very unique and better than any medal I've ever gotten before!
The potter also made beautiful mugs for age-group awards.
Interestingly, the # of AG awards were given proportionally to the number of people in each AG. Very thoughtful!
A few miscellaneous kudos for small low-key races:
- You get to park right next to the start/finish. No parking fees.
- No lines for food at the end. (More food than you can imagine along the course and at the end with no lines.
- No ropes to get people out of the finishing area.
- We all were able to stretch, eat, and chat alongside the finish and cheer in the other runners. No herding people quickly out of the finishing zone like you find in big races.)
- Race results posted immediately at the finish line so they could give out the awards immediately.
- No money wasted on t-shirts. (Actually, they did have t-shirts but the extra cost was optional. Hooray!)
- Chip timed.
Find small HMs like these and treasure them. They are the most wonderful experiences!