2 months ago, I was gung-ho about running this race but my how times and things change. This was a race that we had heard could be fun and both Jenn and I had been motivated to keep running after the Ragnar so we thought if we were still running in November, that’d be a good thing. It was a good thought then and it still was but when the forecast on Tuesday or Wednesday was forecasting a 38 degree high for the day, I wasn’t too excited. Jenn on the other hand, was excited about the cup and the pullover. Once we got closer to the weekend, the forecast looked better and it was only 38 in the morning when we went to run. I still wasn’t super excited about running in those kind of temperatures but it was better than what I had originally dreaded.
So that’s where my brain was as I hopped in the car…how was the race? Honestly? It was an incredibly pleasant surprise. I’d highly recommend one of these. The vibe around it was really neat. Despite the cool temps, everyone was in a great mood. The course itself, for the location, ended up being better than I thought it would be being that it was started in the parking lot of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for you Fort Wayne natives.
As mentioned, we were in the parking lot and really, the only downside to this race was that there wasn’t any organization to how the start of the race began. There weren’t any staging, etc. for walkers versus runners versus really good runners. That all said, this was more for fun than anything and the mob of people that showed up for this race was really impressive. I think the people more than anything shocked me. I bet there were between 1000-1500 runners in the race and when you consider it was a 38 degrees, 9 a.m. on a near mid-November Sunday morning, that’s amazing.
So the race kicked off without hearing any announcement but more the crowd moving forward. You could notice some of the young bucks at the front just blazing away from the start. We had to wait about 7 minutes or so to get to the start line. The course took you along the south part of the Coliseum’s parking lot on the Johnny Appleseed Park side and then west till we hit Parnell Avenue where we turned south. This section of the race had a slight upward slant to it but being that the south bound lane was blocked, it was really nice because the slower joggers and walkers kept to the side and I was able to zig zag my way around a bunch of them till we got to Spy Run Ave Extended and hung a right to eventually go southwest from there.
I liked this part of the course. While we had the road to ourselves, it was quiet down this stretch of the course. There was a treeline to the left and the St. Joe River beyond that so it was very peaceful all things considered. Once we reached the area of Tom Steel Tires and Clinton St., we made a sharp hairpin turn and headed back in the direction we came but mostly up on the Saint Joseph Bike Pathway, which was very nice. The treeline and river were to the right. The neat part was running back the direction we came, there were a ton of people still coming so you saw lots of smiling faces and you could really tell that people were enjoying themselves.
Once we got a minute or so from being back to Parnell, we followed the Saint Joe Path to the right and through the woods and I had never been on this part of town. It was really serene down by the river. It was leave covered in spots but for running on a tree covered path in the middle of the fall, what else would you expect? It was really nice. We ran under the bridge, made another hard hairpin turn and popped back up on the east side of Parnell Avenue, ran it back to the light, hung the right and onto the finish line.
While the finish line was just the parking lot, again, the sheer number of people hanging out was really quite shocking for the time of the year, the temps despite their warming, and the day of the week. I completely underestimated this race.
I was able to get some video or Jenn, my wife, and our friend Cherri from our running team as they came into the finish line.
After we went and put a sweatshirt on and got a sip of water, we went over and got our complimentary taffy apples, and then took our shiny new Hot Cider Hustle mug over to get it filled with hot cider. In full disclosure, I hate the hot and spiced up cider and the organization must be in the same boat as they just warmed it up. As Goldie Locks would say, it was just right.
In the end, we had a great time and I munched on the taffy apple on our way home which was delicious. We will no doubt be back if they’re going to put this on 2020. If you didn’t check it out, you definitely should.