I’ve done this race before and really love it, but in recent years it has not made the cut on my racing schedule. I was really excited to do this one with Michael!
Packet pickup for this race is offered at a variety of locations in Hampton Roads before the race. We opted to pick it up on Friday in Newport News, since its only about a 30 minute drive. I tried on some shoes while we were there, but opted not to buy anything just yet. I think I might go back to Saucony Guide.
Race Day Conditions/Attire
It was a cold day. Temps were going to be in the high 30s, low 40s for race time. I opted for long leggings, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, and a hat. I wore a sweatshirt until the start.
Michael wore 3 layers up top and pants. We need to get him so good technical fabrics for cold weather!
We went down toward the start about an hour before the race. But it was cold and that ended up being a very bad idea. We froze before the start. The start line was chaos too. The corrals were out of order…found out later that they were somewhat organized, but not in a way that was communicated well.
Michael and I stuck with each other for the first 2 miles or so. We alternated running and walking. Once we got in the park, he started slowing down and told me to go on ahead.
My favorite part was in the park, around mile 2.5. There is a bridge lined with Marines (the race supports Toys for Tots). I picked the right hand side of the bridge, and shook each one’s hand and thanked them for their service. I got responses ranging from “Thank you for your support,” to “Semper Fi,” to “Oorah!” It gets me emotional every time.
The course leaves the park around mile 3, and I kept alternating running and walking, using any downhills to my advantage. I kept looking for Michael during the loops and saw him a few times.
I finished in 1:23:19. I could have done significantly better if I ran the race on my own. But it was more important to me to spend some time running with Michael and enjoying the course.
We were far too cold to stay afterward, and there wasn’t really an “afterparty” per se. They just had some hot chocolate. Definitely prefer J&A parties!
It was a very cold day, but it was a great time. I love running through Busch Gardens. Makes me want to go back for ChristmasTown for real!
Have you done any Christmas races yet? What was the most chaotic race start you’ve ever seen?