Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

This was an amazing and beautiful race.  The weather was perfect.  A very cool temp (around 48 degrees) coupled with clear skies and no wind what so ever.  Taking the Metro to the Smithsonian stop worked perfectly and puts you about a quarter of a mile from the starting area.  The sun coming up over DC provided some great shots of the Washington Monument.

Sunrise on Washington Monument -- Shot with iPhone 6

The planning and coordination that went into this event showed through well.  There was plenty of room in the starting area with everything well signed.  Clear areas for elite athletes, medical, pre-race food, portable toilets and bag drop.  There were also post race areas already marked off so you could clearly see where to go to meet friends/family and pick up your medal in the medal tent.

Never seen so many bananas in one place

The race uses coral starts and each coral color was clearly marked with flags along the starting shoot that matched each runners bib color.  There was about 3 to 5 minutes between each wave which helped with the initial crowds.  That being said, when it was my time to start in the second wave, it was clear that each wave was fairly large.  I was in large crowds for just over the first two miles, but really never got in the clear.

This year that was a very unfortunate accident that occurred before the races start and it caused the race official to re-route us and shorten the race to 9.39 miles.  While there was a lot of concern for what had transpired, the race official(s) and staff did an amazing job making the changes to the courses and making announcements to the runners so everyone was informed.

Strava Map of Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

This race attracts a lot of elite athletes based on the course, the prize money, and the fact that the 10 miler is so flat.  With the temperature and the lack of wind, it certainly did provide for an amazing opportunity for these runners going after PRs and/or world records.  Unfortunately the shortening of the course did impact that plans, at least in terms of recognized world record opportunities.

The scenery was simply amazing.  The cherry blossoms were at their peak and sections of the race were literally covered in cherry trees.  The spectators were plentiful and all over the course providing a lot of support and energy to the racers passing them by.  The water/food stops were plentiful as well and very well staffed for the number of runners trying to get by.  In fact, there was even an "unofficial" water/beer/oreo stop around mile 7 on the altered course.

On course with cherry blossoms on course

Once you finished the race, there was water as you exited the runners shoot.  As you worked your way back into the start/finish runners area you could get food, gatorade and hit the now open medal tent.  The medals change each year and seem to play off the shirt design.  The medal's this year were very unique and sizable.

2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Medal

While I didn't have a great race personally, I would love to try this event again next year if I am fortunate enough to get successfully through the lottery process again.

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