The day after participating in the Roller Coaster Ride challenge, Don and I participated in the 10K race option.
My friend, Anne Martin, announced the race on her blog a couple of months ago. I was intrigued, plus it was taking place over my birthday weekend, so I mentioned it to Don. He was in. We invited a friend of Ashley's along to keep her company. And we were off!
On Saturday, Don and Maia participated in the ride challenge and easily rode 5K worth of coasters in only a couple of hours. They billed the race as through the theme park (as noted by the red line), then "through local neighborhoods" for the 10K option. Looking at the map, the blue line mostly goes through the Six Flags parking lot. Ho hum.
It was cool to run through the theme park before it opened. The neat thing about races that go through theme parks (such as Disney races) is that rather than use port-o-pots, they open up their bathrooms. With that said, a port-o-pot in the parking lot might have come in handy.
The race started early. Not insane early, like at Disney, but still when the sun was still waking up. This made for some good photo opportunities. It also allowed us to finish before they opened the park to the general public.
When I signed up for the race I planned to go at Anne's pace -- a gentle 13-14 minute mile, 1 minute running:1 minute walking. When I read the race documentation that said we had to finish in 75 minutes I started to worry -- that is more like a 12 minute pace. I can do a 12 minute pace, so I went ahead with my usual pace just in case. I spent most of the race nearly catching up to April (she ended up finishing 16 seconds before me). When I met up with April at the end, she said she made it her goal to not let me beat her. Too bad, we could have spent the time chatting with each other and continuing to maintain our 2:1 pace. Don found a racing buddy, Ben, and had a great time chatting with him throughout the race. Lesson learned: next time find a running buddy and the race will be more enjoyable, even in the boring parking lot.
I finished in 78 minutes. Don was cool and relaxed when I finished as he finished in 70 minutes.
Don and Anne both came in first place for their age groups. Okay, they also came in last place for their age groups. They were both happy to go home with awards. The ride and the run each had different ribbons, but the same medal. In the future I hope they change that, if for no other reason than to encourage people to do both.
As with most inaugural races, this one did some things really right, and left room for improvement in other areas.
We were among the first to pick up our packets at 10 AM. They were very confused. They were having troubles assigning bibs. They let us leave without the extra theme park ticket we purchased. We were told it was free parking, but when we went to the gate they insisted we had to pay $20 to park. When Anne went later, they seemed to have the bumps figured out.
On the plus, they started right on time. It was a small race -- 54 5K racers, and 52 10 K racers. They did stay until the end when Anne and Deirdre finished to loud cheers.
On the downside, the 5K race was a double loop through the park. The 10K race added a few miles through the parking lot. This gives you a sense of how big the parking lot is versus the rest of the theme park.
On the side of leaving room for improvement, Six Flags has characters. Have Tweety, Bugs, Porky Pig, Scooby Doo and others cheer on the runners.
So far there are no plans to host a similar event by this company at Six Flags Great Adventure. They hope that changes. I've heard Great Adventure sponsors a triathlon, so maybe they feel that is enough.
I don't know if I would do it again, after all it is still not Disney.