Finished in 24:36(official); no new PR(PR is 22:18)
Overall place: 20/377
Overall Pace: 7:56/mile
Overall, a fun course. Loved running while it was snowing out. The organization was lacking compared to the Brooksie Way(or at least I had very high expectations since the Brooksie Way has always done an excellent job) but it was still a good race overall and a good option for January. Happy to have something close to home for a change.
Registration was very simple and completed on the Brooksie Way website. I think it would have been nice for the Chill at the Mills to have their own website with all the details of the race. The race had minimal information on the website compared to what they do for their half marathon. Having a separate website with information just for the 5k would have been more helpful. Also, they should have a Facebook page just for this race to make things easier.
I believe the official name of the race is Chill at the Mills with an S at the end but material on their website showed no S so hopefully they will correct that but I believe the S should be there as the shirt and gloves I received both had S.
The race had two options for picking up your packet. You could pick up your packet at a local running store, Runnin' Gear, or you could pick up race day. I choose to pickup at the running store which was a good thing since some people who picked up race day did not receive their shirt(even people that were pre-registered for the race). The store set your bib number when they got to their location and also gave you your shirt. I was also able to pick up for my running buddy. There were no safety pins at the store(at least I wasn't given any)
It was a snowy morning as I headed over to the start area as you can see by this picture I took of downtown Rochester. It was nice to be able to get up a little later since I'm only about 20 minutes from Rochester.
|A bit of a slow ride to Downtown Rochester|
|Part of the Fire and Ice festival|
|Brooksie Ice Sculpture|
|Race day pickup and registration|
|Bar made of ice|
|Southeast Michigan Runners meetup|
|National Anthem - she was good|
The course was exactly 3.10 miles according to my Garmin. Overall, it was a fairly flat course with one small hill near the beginning of the race and a couple minor hills after but otherwise fairly flat as you can see by the elevation below. The layout of the course had you go around in the neighborhood downtown and into the park and back by the library. No PR for me but I did end up placing second in my age group which was cool. Disappointing that there were no age group awards(or if there were, it was not communicated well) - figures when I placed in the top three. I was pretty happy with my results given the slick course. The course was fairly slippery but the race did what they could to keep it clear with some salt in areas. It was also plowed throughout the course but with the morning snow was not completely clear. The race did the best they could given the weather.
|Map per Strava|
|Runners behind getting lined up|
|Runners ahead of me|
|Downtown area by First st. and Walnut|
|The only hill up|
|Neighborhood - open to traffic|
|My training grounds at the Duck Pond|
|In the park|
|A big confused for front runners|
|Coming up to the bridge|
|Love crossing bridges|
|By the library in Rochester|
There there no aid stations for this race. I still feel there should be one for a 5k but I'm beginning to think most race directors don't feel it's needed given the cold. Not that I need one but I'm sure there are others that wished for a half way aid station. I will say the last four 5k's I've run did not have any aid stations either.
The finish area was in the same spot as the start line. The race had some pretzels, chips, cookies and water lined up at a table for the runners. Because it was a smaller race, there was no back up but I think that it would have been better for this food to be inside the warming tent instead of outside.
The best part of the finish? A free beer from Rochester Mills Beer Co. You also had the choice of water or coffee if you didn't want a beer at 9:30am in the morning. I figured, what the heck, it's a free beer, I'm not going to pass that up so I chose a Milkshake Stout to finish off my race. Every race needs to finish with a free beer! Haha!
The race was $25 when I signed up for it plus an online fee for a total cost of $27.69. For your registration, you received a chip timed course that was partially free of traffic. A free finisher beer from Rochster Mills Beer Co. and some finish line food including chips, pretzels, cookies and granola bars. You received a long sleeve cotton shirt, if you pre-registered(although I heard they ran out), and you also received a finishers choice of cotton gloves or a headband. The gloves and headband were a nice touch. I never wear any race shirts that are cotton long sleeve shirts so I gave it to my daughter for a sleep shirt. I wish they would do a tech shirt like they do for the Brooksie Way and I think more people would wear it to advertise the race more. All my Brooksie Way shirts get used regularly.
Personally, I think they could have really done a nice finishers medal with the penguin logo or even the fire and ice logo instead of the gloves or headband but it was a good value for what you received. They also had an opportunity to make a great bib instead of a plain white one shown below.
|Bib - plain, really?|
|Shirt Front - I like the smaller logo|
|Nice idea; can be used with a cell phone|
While this was an inaugural race, I had very high expectations given the Brooksie Way organization was running the race. The organization was lacking in a couple areas in my opinion. First was the communication. They needed to have a website separate from the Brooksie Way website so it didn't feel like it was an afterthought to add it to their website. A Facebook page would have also been easy to set up. This could have provided all the FAQ's for the race itself. The name of the race I assume is Chill at the Mills with an S but still not sure. As my running buddy said, just to be safe, we will call it Chill at the Mill(s) to cover both names. The course, while an excellent layout overall, was a little confusing at the circles in the park. A couple more volunteers in spots could have helped at least the front runners with directions. Runners should not have to wonder where they are going during the race. I will say that it was extremely cold race day and perhaps they were short volunteers where needed.
Overall, it was still a great race. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they needed to learn a few things given this was still an inaugural race. I loved the ice sculptures and the course overall was a very nice track especially in the park. I personally think the fact it was snowing that day added to the fun. Free beer at the end is always a plus even though I don't make it a habit of drinking at 9:30am - ha! I'd do this race again and hope they can make improvements to it next year so it's even a better race.
|Finished - great ice sculptures|
Note: I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own.