2017 Fergalicious 5k
The 2017 race was held on Saturday, August 5th in West Branch, IA at 8 am. It was sunny with temps near 55-60 degrees and 80 % humidity. The race is part of Hoover’s Hometown Days and a fundraiser for the Girls High School Track Program.
For the “to the point” race details, check out my review at bibrave.com
I had an open weekend, and 5 miles on my Detroit Marathon training schedule, and because I had run it many times before, I thought it would be the perfect event to get my miles logged. It also helped that it’s a 15 minute drive from my house.
Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Zensah Chevron Argyle Compression Socks, Adidas shorts, Spi-belt, BUFF® Run Pack Hat, XX2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Garmin Fenix, New Balance Shoes, Road ID
After a Nugo Bar for breakfast (seriously my favorite thing to grab n go) and some coffee, I was on my way to West Branch.
I made sure to arrive in time for race day registration. I checked online for the price, it was $30, so I would skip the processing fees by registering in person. I filled out my form and was told it was $25, I was happy, but told them online it said $30, the person taking the money didn’t seem to care…. hope no one had to pay $30. I also was able to get a cotton, short sleeve t-shirt.
West Branch is a small town, it’s easy to walk from anywhere you park. While some of the streets are closed for the festivities, it’s easy enough to find a spot on a side street and walk a block to the race start – which is not the same as the finish… probably to get the correct mileage in.
There are also some port-o-potties set up for the town festivities, or you could go into the Town Hall if you needed to use the bathroom.
However, lucky for me…the starting line is just outside my work. I can park there, use the bathroom and have no issues. It’s about time, right? Traveling to all the races and figuring out all the race day logistics, it’s nice to have at least one event where I don’t have to worry about anything.
This allowed me to get in a one mile warm up on my beloved Hoover Nature Trail. Remember the training schedule called for 5 miles. I timed the warm up “just right” as I arrived to the starting line on time.
There were no pre-race announcements, just runners talking amongst themselves. If you read any of my previous reviews about this race, you might remember that the race is named for a previous track coach. He usually shows up and says some words. This year he was no where to be seen, there was no National Anthem… just a “GO!”
As we started promptly at 8 am, there were still a few stragglers walking to the starting line. It was nice the race started on time, however when there are not too many participants, I think it would have been nice to wait for them to get to the starting line.
When I checked the registration online, I also noticed that my age group was 25-49 years old, so this changed my race day strategy. While I was going to race this, I wasn’t going to kill myself trying to place.
The familiarity of the course was my advantage. I knew where the turns were, and all the hills. I knew when to run faster or slow down.
I was cruising along, following the course with ease. The pavement was clearly marked with arrows as to which way to go. Each intersection had someone monitoring it, whether it was a girls track member or law enforcement official. However, the students seemed disinterested in being there – a hand clap or some enthusiasm goes a long way. Also, one of the busier intersections with a police officer, a car stopped to chit chat with the officer, blocking the intersection to the runners…. that wasn’t the most ideal. As I said though, all the intersections did have a someone.
I didn’t have any other race issues, the pavement was your typical surface, a few cracks here and there, there were no mile markers – but that is not a huge deal. I didn’t take water on the course, but I think there was a water stop about half way.
I came to the finishing chute, which was before the finish line, and it was marked with track hurdles. There was a giant clock with the overall time. A volunteer took the strip from the bottom of my bib for race place. I ran the race in 27:26, with a sub 9 minute pace. I was happy with that! My Garmin also showed 3.1 miles.
I came back to the finish area after my mile cool down. The post race food was on one side of the road in a parking lot. There were donuts, crescents from Tiffiny’s Bakery, bananas, granola bars and bottled water. It was surprising to see so many crescents uneaten.
Then everyone was finished and shouting came from across the street. I went over to listen to the awards. The overall were first and then the age group. Overall winners were also announced as age group winners. Medals were given out to those who placed.
When it came to my AG I was shocked to learn that I had placed 2nd. I noticed the first place winner in my AG received an envelope instead of a medal. When I went to pick up my award, the person asked if I lived “around here” and before I could answer said she had a medal for me.
So I awkwardly waited around, and other AG winners were announced and they didn’t receive any medals or envelopes. I was whisked back to the other side of the street where the lady dug through a tote and gave me a medal (from a previous year) with a 3rd place ribbon. I said “oh it’s not big deal, I don’t need a medal” Then she pulled out some other ribbon and gave me that, to change out.
I really don’t need this medal, but if you are advertising medals to the first 2 in each AG, and some get gift certificates while you didn’t order enough medals, it’s very confusing. I was part of a medal snafu earlier this year… I get that organizing a race is hard work and sometimes things don’t work out. This was just weird to me.
I really hope a little “more” gets put into this race for next year (pre-race announcements, same prices for everyone, post race awards.) I personally feel they “mailed it in”and relied on the fact that it is the 11th annual event, and expected people to show up. Participation seemed low and I never saw a flyer around WB. It’s nice to run a hometown event with the small town feel, the little details make the difference when there are a lot of other races I can run.
*Please remember, these are my thoughts… I know a lot of you that read this, ran the race too. I am just being honest, and want the best for the race in the future.