This was my first race in Massachusetts and I was really looking forward to it! We arrived at my in-laws in Andover Wednesday night with enough time for dinner, some catching up and to get things ready for my race in the morning. Since I did not get in early enough for packet pickup prior to the race, I had to do it race morning. The race has an 8:30am start time and I planned to get there by 7:45 so I had time to check in and everything.
The check-in/packet pickup process was very smooth and lines moved quickly. Within a few minutes I had my bib and race shirt and was ready to go! It was a cold morning for this FL girl (32 deg) so I made sure to have on a few layers. I had plenty of time to say goodbye to my husband, use the bathroom (tons of port-o-potties) and find my pace area. Right before the race started they wanted to do the mannequin challenge. So they had everyone pick a pose and flew a drone over to capture the crowd. I thought it was pretty funny and it took my mind off the cold for a min. Before I knew it, it was 8:30 and we were off! Well at least the fast runners were, it took my pace group a few min to get to the start line. Overall the race had around 9,000+ participants.
The race had 2 distances – 5K or 5 mile. I did the 5 mile course. Both courses were very clearly marked and easy to follow. The race had 2 big hills and a few smaller ones. The first big hill was about half a mile in and the other one was going into the finish line area. I am not a fan of hills but it was surprisingly a nice change of pace from flat Florida. The course had plenty of water stops and race support. The local firehouse was passing out water on the first major hill. Many people from the community came out in the cold to cheer on the runners. There were defiantly a lot more runners for the 5K then 5mile. When the race split more people followed the 5K signs, which I didn’t mind since it made it easier to run with less people. The 5 mile course was a nice loop through the downtown and surrounding community of Andover.
The last 1.5 miles the courses came back together and they had very clear designations as to 5K on the left and 5 mile on the right. This helped a lot since most people for the 5K were walking while I was running past. The 5K end was straight up a hill and the 5 mile end was up the hill and to the right. They had 2 different finish lines depending on the distance. This made it easier for my family to see me finish. Both finish lines lead to the same meet up area where there were a few vendors, plenty of snacks, and of course our finishers apple pie!
Overall it was a cold day but great course with a lot of race support. Parking was a little crazy, but with 9,000+ people in one area, what do you expect. It was a great way to start Thanksgiving off and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Cheers to many more miles,
❤ Dr. Carrie