Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mission 10 Miler

The Mission 10 Miler is a great Frederick, MD race.  This was my third time over the last four years; I took 2016 off.  The event is well run, with lots of great volunteers and supports a great cause that you can read about on their website.

What made this event so great for me this year was that for the first time my wife and daughter (16) both ran this event.  This was my daughters longest run to date and she did incredibly well for her first race.  For those that haven't tried a 10 miler before, it is a really great distance.  Longer than a 10k for those that have already concurred one or more of those, but aren't ready to tackle a half marathon.

The race is an out and back that starts at the Frederick, MD minor league ball park Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.  The home of the Frederick Keys.  Two great factors of this race is race day packet pickup and the fact that it is run on a Sunday afternoon.  No early wake-up required to take on this event since it starts at 2pm.  Arriving by 1pm is plenty of time to get your race packet, use the facilities and line up.

While there are not "formal" corrals, you do line up following an honor system and they do start racers in waves so that you avoid the huge initial staring line crowds.  They have pacers available as well for those that want to go after a PR or simply have a group of people to stick with.

Strava Map of Mission 10 Miler Course

There are three water stops between the start and the turn around point at mile five.  Each stop is full of volunteers with tons of energy and plenty of water and Gatorade.  The water stop at the turn around point also had Gu although I carried one with me just in case.

Most of the roads are open to traffic during the event, but police officers watch all the intersections and major turn offs to keep cars away as runners proceed through the intersections.  This is a chip timed event, so lots of runners are really pushing themselves.  I was doing really well until the last mile where I ended up slowing down some to run with a friend of mine.  I didn't realize that I was close to a PR at the time or I would have probably sprinted right by; although I have to admit the last two hills on the way back were getting to me.

Overall the course is relatively flat with a total gain of 225 feet according to Strava.  After the start you turn right onto New Design Road and have to traverse two hills as the road crosses over both Interstate 70 and Interstate 270.  Since this is an out and back run, you get to do them again around mile marker 9.2.  Between miles two and four you slowly climb about 90 feet, which is great on the way back between miles six and eight.

Strava Elevation Chart

During the hill climb between mile two and four you turn right on Elmer Derr Road right around mile marker 3.4 and then make another right onto Ballenger Creek Pike around mile marker four.  At this point you get a mostly downhill break until the turn around at mile five.

After making the U-turn over the timing mat, you work your way back up hill to the left turn on Elmer Derr Road.  At mile six you start your slow two mile decent while you turn left onto New Design Road until mile marker eight.  At that point you make a few climbs before turning left on Stadium Drive where it all started and cross the finish line.

Mission 10 Miler Finishers Medal

There are photographers on the course, but the only time I was captured on film was right before crossing the finish line, and lets just say it isn't a photo worth saving.  After I finished I quickly changed cloths since the air was cool and breezy (great for running) and I knew I would chill out.  After changing cloths I waited for my daughter and wife to finish.

After everyone was back at the start we went through the runners tent and grabbed some bananas, water, Gatorade and sandwiches provided by Jimmy Johns.  They had computers setup as well so you could check your time.

Again, this is a great event.  The size is relatively small with less than 800 runners, but well manned and plenty of water stops.  For a well run, medium distance run, with a small town feel, you can't beat the Mission 10 Miler.  And lets not forget about the cause.

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