August 3, 2013, 8:00am, 70 degrees, sunny, pleasant
Race is held as part of West Branch’s Hoover Days celebration. Race raises money for the West Branch High School Girls Track team and is named in honor of a former coach, Mr. Ferguson.
Pre-race: Registration & packet pick-up open before the race near the finish line in an empty parking lot. Packet pick-up was also available the evening before. Cotton t-shirt for those who registered before the deadline. Average cost $25-$30. Plenty of parking on side streets, the main street of the town was all blocked off for the day’s festivities.
Race & course: Start line was a block from the finish line, marked with a spray painted line on the street. Small announcements made, and we’re given the signal to start. Course was through the town, very hilly! Paved streets, chip ‘n’ seal, and asphalt, no major hazards. One water stop at the halfway point with plastic cups. No mile markers (editor’s note, just drove part of the course, miles were painted on the pavement). A few spectators. Each intersection had someone monitoring the traffic. Finish was clearly marked and a giant clock with the time was displayed. Volunteer grabbed the bottom of the bib for results. When I hit stop on my Garmin it read 2.98, so maybe it was a tad short, or maybe I didn’t push start soon enough or I cut some corners.
Post-race: Water, Gatorade, bananas, bagels, & cookies, plenty for everyone. Previous race t-shirts were even handed out for free to anyone who wanted. Awards took a while to tabulate, but race medals were awarded to first 3 places in age groups. Raffle prizes after awards, had to be present to win.
Overall: This race is a good challenge as it is very hilly. It isn’t a bucket list race, but a nice hometown race, friendly people. If you have this weekend free, sign up for the challenge.
Personal: This race was part of a 10 mile training run. I hit the Hoover Nature Trail in West Branch before the race to run 7 miles. The trail is nice and flat.. After all those miles, I ran a 2.98 race in 25:08 which if I took the time to do the math is probably a PR time for a 5k for me. My best time at a 5k is 25:56. Training pays off! This time also awarded me 3rd in my age group, 30-39, also the unofficial best dressed. I enjoy running, so I try to have fun.