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May 23, 2016
Finished in 27:42 (official time); no new PR
Overall Place: 5/41
Men 40-49: 1/4
Timed race #109
First year for this new 5k race. They also had a Hike that was not timed. This was organized by Boy Scout Shane Skelcy for his Eagle Scout project with Troop 360 of Auburn Hills. The event benefited God's Helping Hands of Michigan that was organized to provide free food and clothing for those in need in the Southeast Michigan area. What a great idea for an Eagle Scout project! The race was well organized and timed. They had finisher medals and food at the end as well as a raffle. Your entry was free if you provided at least 5 cans for the charity. What a great cause and I'm happy I got to participate. Hopefully they will do this again next year.
One of my running buddies, Josh, told me about this race. He said you could run it if you brought at least 5 cans to the event as they were collecting food for a charity. Awesome. What a great idea. I signed up on Eastside Racing Company, who was timing the race. It was very simple to sign up.
|Bald Mountain State Recreation Area|
I got there a little early and waited in my car for a few minutes until start time. The park there is very nice and works well for a small race.
|Start area - start/finish|
|A few announcements by Shane Skelcy|
|Ready to run (small race, I was at the front)|
The course itself was a little out and back to the trail and then a loop on the trails. The race said that the course measured long and my Garmin came in at about 3.3 miles. I had no plans for this except I felt like I wanted to push myself and see how I could place given the small group. I was happy to see I placed 5th overall especially since much of the course is run on trails.
|Splits, Map, elevation|
We ran through part of the parking lot and drive on asphalt to get to the trailhead. I love watching the kids for the race as they have so much energy!
|A little asphalt to start|
|Great day for a race!|
|Heading to the trails|
|volunteers on course|
|great area to run|
|A couple muddy spots|
|Rock and roots too|
|Marked very well|
|More trail markings|
|Some hills as well|
|Heading back to the finish|
There was one aid station on the course which I didn't get a picture of. I didn't stop for it since I wanted to keep up my pace. There were two volunteers there giving out water.
After the race, they gave you a medal and there was plenty of food for the runners/walkers. They had pizza, bananas, donuts, water, and juice. The race also did a raffle after everyone came in. I think they had enough prizes that everyone walked away with something - that's awesome! They collected over 860 cans for the charity plus monetary donations that would help get them to their 1,000 can donation goal.
For your race entry, which was to bring at least 5 cans, you received a chip timed, marked course. You received a bib and a cinch bag from your packet. If you gave 15 cans, you also got an additional tote bag. If you donated 20 cans, you also received a race shirt. I should have just brought more cans to get the shirt too.
|Part of the packet|
|Toffee from raffle|
|Race medal - awesome homemade medal|
|Medal close up|
The organization of the race was great. They had a place to register online. They posted it on Runmichigan. They had all details on a flyer so you knew where to go and what time. The start/finish area was well organized. Packet pick up was really easy.
Overall, this was a really fun race. I loved the course! The race was well organized. It was for a great cause. The medals, completely unexpected, were incredible! The finish line food was great. While I realize that this was for an Eagle Scout project, my hope is that they continue to put on this event on an annual basis. You could tell that Shane Skelcy and his volunteers put a lot of hard work into making sure this was a fun and successful event. I'm glad I got to be a part of it.
|Another successful 5k|
Disclosure: This entry was free if you brought cans to participate. All opinions are my own.
May 21, 2016
Finished in 56:56 (official time); no new PR
Overall Place: 57/297
Men 45-49: 4/11
Timed race #108
While it's not a new race to me, I decided I'd do a race review on this since it's a new distance for me at this race. I've run the Back to the Beach half marathon three times but I've never run the 10k course. I actually wanted to run the half marathon but having a 25k race the day before had me concerned for the distance so I chose the 10k this year. Another outstanding race put on by Joe Burns. He really knows how to make runners happy and this is one of the races that is always really fun. Great organization, he gives back to the community and overall an excellent event. It sells out every year so keep that in mind for next year.
I registered online through their website and, as usual, was very easy. Packet pickup was either at Hanson's Running Shop in Utica the week before the race or race morning. I've always picked up my packet at Hanson's but it's also very easy to just pick up that morning if you are not from the area.
I got there a little early in order to see the half marathon runners start. Their race started at 7:30am and the 10k was at 8:35am. It's always fun seeing the runners start. Joe was hard at work. It also happen to be the coldest Back to the Beach races I've ever attended. Usually it's very warm but not this year. We even had snow that morning - crazy!
|Joe, race director working hard to start the half marathon|
|Some of the sponsors|
|After race food|
|Boy scouts doing the National Anthem|
The course is run on various surfaces including grass, trails, and asphalt. I had no plans for this race since I had just run a 25k race the day before. There were some hills, mostly in the trolley trails area, but nothing too large to worry about. If you are new to trail running, this is a perfect first trail race to try.
|Map, splits and elevation|
We were off and running in what I believe was the third corral to go off from the start.
|And we are off|
|Follow the flags!|
|Park police support|
|Onto the dirt|
Soon we were running the opposite of the half marathon runners.
There was a little out and back that we had to go to in order to get back to the finish.
It was now time to run back to the finish line where we started the race.
|Almost Back to the Beach!|
As we headed towards the finish, we crossed a timing mat where the race was announcing names as you ran to the finish. I really like that part of races when they announce your name. It makes for a special ending.
|Announcer yelling finisher names|
There were several aid stations but I didn't get any pictures. They were stocked with the necessities so I didn't bring my water bottle to race with this time. They also had a margarita aid station too near the end of the race. Fun stuff! The volunteers at this race are always great and cheering you on.
The finish area is the same as the start area. One thing that was different this year is that the race used timing chips on the bibs this year. In previous years, they used chips on your feet so it's nice to see they are doing this as it makes it much easier. It was pretty windy and cold after the race so I didn't stick around too long. Normally when it's warmer, I stay longer and talk to people but I was ready to get into a warm place. I felt sorry for the volunteers as they must have been freezing!
For your entry, you received a custom race bib, a measured course with support (which did reflect short on my Garmin, however, that can happen in the woods). A beach towel this year instead of a shirt! The race also offered shirts for sale if you wanted one and they looked really nice too.
|Beach towel - first ever from a race|
|Race medal and ribbon|
|Medal close up|
|Age group award for 10k|
A very well organized race. The set up at Stony is the perfect area for a race and this is one of my more unique races given the various surfaces. The website has all the information you could need to know. The race sends out emails with information so you know what's going on. The start/finish area are well planned. The volunteers know what to do. The races start on time. Excellent job on everything!
Overall, this is one of my favorite races of the year. I've run it 4 of the last 5 years and I wouldn't keep coming back to it otherwise. Joe puts his heart and soul into this race and it's no wonder why this one sells out every year. I love the course and the fact this is on my training grounds so I know the area really well. I don't know too many people who have not run this race but, if you have not, this should be on your list for next year. You'll be happy you did it and hopefully it will be a little warmer next year. Haha!
|Joe (race director) and I after my finish|
Disclosure: I paid for this race with my own funds. All opinions are my own.