Monday, April 13, 2015

Hershey 10K

This run makes two in PA in the same month!  Of course this one is closer than the Hot Chocolate 15K and they do have race day pick-up so no extra trips required!

I have never done a race in Hershey before, and to be honest I wasn't sure what to really expect in terms of the garb, the setup, the size and where we would actually be running.  Based on the map posted on the event website it appeared as though we would get to go through some of the park, and that was good enough for me to sign up.

The race started at 7:30 at the Hershey Stadium, so that meant a departing time for me at 4AM.  This would put me at the Stadium for packet pick-up at 6AM (just when it starts) and then give me plenty of time to hydrate, eat a little something and use the restrooms before the start of the event.

As cars started rolling into the parking lot, it was clear that this was a larger event than I had anticipated.  By the end, there were about 3000 runners, a decent size for this kind of event.  The air was clear and it wasn't extremely cold, but the wind was furious.  Clearly some of the run was going to be a challenge, so was hoping that head on direction was minimal.

Chocolate World

The race starts on the bask side of the Stadium and as I made my way to the starting line it was apparent that most of the racers had already assembled.  There were no pacing signs and certainly no corrals, so right away I knew I was in trouble.  Sure enough as soon as the gun sounded I had to weave around many walkers that were three abreast or more.  Without the signage and structure for the various running levels, many runners were facing the same challenge and it took to the 2K mark before things really opened up and I could get into a steady rhythm.

Strava Route Map

The route was pleasant and wasn't too hilly.  Total elevation gain was about 160 feet with most of that in the first 3.5 miles.  At mile mark 4.2 you do enter the park and spend almost the rest of the race running through the various themed areas of Hershey Park and passed more than half of the rides the park has to offer.

Inside Hershey Park at Mile 4.6

The race finishes inside the stadium where a nice snack is pre-packed along with bottled water and your finishers medal.  The medals are changed each year, and this year featured the signature Hershey ferris wheel.

Hershey 10K Finishers Medal

While I would certainly do this event again, and I do plan on signing up for the Hershey Half Marathon in October, there is room for improvement.  First, the really need signage and directions for getting runners of different abilities lined up more appropriately.  Not only does this make the event more enjoyable for all, but also a lot safer.  In addition, the racing shirts, while nice, had a fairly cheap looking iron on Hershey patch on the front.  Seems like it will crack and peel off after a few washes.  Lastly, while it was nice to get a re-usable insulated lunch bag after the event full of treats, the candy was actually from the Fall, and was stale.  I mean really, I am in Hershey Park for a fundraising event and I get old stale chocolate?  That was a disappointment.

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