Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hundred Acre Woods 10 Miler

This was by far my longest running event to date.  I don't mean the actual time running, in fact, this was a PR run for me, but the overall time to get to the event, participate and get back home.

The Hundred Acre Woods running event is in the beautiful Oil Creek State Park in Oil City, Pennsylvania.  It took me just over 5 hours to get to the hotel where I stayed prior to race day in Cranberry, PA.  I have to shout out to the Holiday Inn Express in Cranberry.  It was probably the cleanest hotel, in this price range, I have ever stayed.  They were also very accommodating for a late checkout so that I could shower and change after the race before heading back home.

The drive from the hotel to the race location was a short 20 minutes.  It wasn't clear where we were suppose to meet up for the run/registration, so it took some time to get back into the park and find everyone.  Once there, the race was organized, but not well signed.  There was some exploring of the venue before I could find registration to pick up my race packet.  The event was small (about 100 runners in total for the 10 miler and 5k, so it had a really nice feel.  Cleary a lot of the participants knew each other and were local runners.  A fun atmosphere with lots of support and camaraderie for sure.

Overall the course was flat (only 67 feet of elevation) and ran along the river on what was a railroad line, but has since been converted into a paved bike path.  It was a cool morning (around 58 degrees) and the scenery was amazing.  I was pushing for a PR, but I kept trying to remind myself to actually look around.  Since the event is an out and back (5 miles each way), I was given two opportunities to check things out.

Hundred Acre Woods 10 Miler Strava Map

While the event was timed with disposable timing chips on the bibs, it was only a gun start.  Given the small size of the event, this was reasonable.  It wasn't going to take but a few seconds for everyone to get going as you can see from the start line photo.

And they are off!

There were plenty of support stations along the way (miles 1, 2 and 4; 6, 8 and 9 on the return) that had both water and Gatorade.  At the finish line, there was plenty of water, bagels and bananas for everyone.  Since the race was so small, I was able to come in overall in 8th place and finish what I thought was 2nd in my age group, but ended up being 3rd.

Crossing the finish line

While the medal was a little disappointing, the race was inexpensive and everyone got a medal, including all the 5k participants which was very nice.  Everyone also got a nice shirt.  In addition, there was a number of awards presented with trophies for overall 1st through 3rd, 1st place masters, and 1st place for each age group.  Second and 3rd place age group finishers received another medal.

There was some confusion during the awards presentation as the age groups changed from increments of 5 to increments of 10 starting at age 40.  Clearly this wasn't intentional, but I see on the website, that is how it was described, so the trophy company probably just followed that guideline.  Combining the 40 to 44 and the 45 to 49 age groups is what dropped me to 3rd in my age group, which is fine, but actually caused the winner to be announced in error.  After I left the race I realized that the person awarded 1st was really second by time and was simply given the trophy because he was in the 40 to 44 age group originally.  Not a huge deal, but certainly unfortunate.

Overall, this was a beautiful event, with a great small town feel.  If live near Oil City, PA I highly recommend it.  If you don't mind shelling out money for a hotel and gas I do highly recommend this race.  I would actually like to plan another over night there and do the bike trails to see the rest of the park at a more leisurely pace.

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