Race Review: Ugly Sweater 5k, Liverpool, NY 11/26/16

2016-ugly-sweater-rack-card-3-copyI wanted to run a race on Thanksgiving, but was out of town. This festive race on Thanksgiving weekend looked fun, so I decided to give it a try.

The race is near Syracuse and didn’t start until noon. This gave me plenty of time to drive there from Rochester. The course is an up and back one along Onondaga Lake. It’s where they hold “Lights on the Lake” at night, so you end up running under those displays. It would be cool to run it at night. I’ve actually run this course before, years ago. I believe it’s the same one where they have a Valentine’s Race.

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I left my house around 9 and got to the “Barking Gull,” for packet pickup at 10:30. Instead of a t-shirt, you get Ugly Sweater 5k scarves, gloves and a hat. In addition, your bib included a ticket for a free beer. They also had a raffle for entry into another race.

It was raining on the drive to Syracuse, so I was concerned it would rain during the race. Weather was in the 30s. Thankfully, the rain stopped by the time the race started. There was definitely a damp chill to the air, but believe me, it could have been much worse.  I had my trusty hand warmers and was ready to go.

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Shortly before race time, everyone headed to the starting line. There were prizes for best sweater, and I was very impressed with all the sweaters I saw. People are very resourceful and clever. Many sweaters even lit up. Two ladies even wore a double sweater. I have no idea how they could run in tandem in that! They had ugly Christmas sweaters for sale in case you needed one as well.  I wore one I bought last year on clearance. I also embellished the back of it.

After hearing the National Anthem, we were off!  My goal with this race was just to keep a steady pace and try to improve my time from the last one. I was pretty confident I could do that, since the last race was hilly and this one was not at all.

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They had mile and kilometer markings, a water stop and Santa was at the halfway point. It can be kind of discouraging to see the fastest runners running back already when you’re still plodding alone, but it is what it is. You just have to keep running your own race.

I ended up running my fastest pace of the year – a 10:03 min mile! I wish I had picked it up a bit more, but I was thrilled with those results. I still have weight to lose. It’s all a journey. There’s no reason why I can’t get back to under 9 min miles if I keep losing weight and training.

After the race, you could head back to the Barking Gull and get your free beer and buy wood fired pizza. They also had doughnuts, bananas, chocolate milk and bottled water at the finish line.

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They had 500 people at this race, and everyone seemed to be in great spirits. It was a nice location with outside fires going as well. Syracuse runners are friendly and supportive. Overall, I enjoyed this race and would definitely recommend it. It was well organized, had a great theme and the location was well suited for the event (no ugly sweater pun intended). I didn’t stay for the awards and prizes, so I don’t know who won for “best in dress.” It sounds like a lot of runners plan to do the “It’s A Wonderful Run” 5k in Seneca Falls in a few weeks. I’ve done that one as well, but my next race is going to be a new one in Hornell instead.  Stay tuned and keep running!

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Race day weather: 30s, cloudy, sprinkles – rain previous to the start. Course could have been slippery – seemed ok.
Course: Flat up and back. Mile and kilometer signs. One water stop.
Time: Noon start
Location: Liverpool, NY (Onondaga Lake)
Amenities:  Real restrooms inside the Barking Gull, parking behind there or across the way
Results: 31:13 (10:03 min mile), 11th in my age/gender range (45-49 female). I don’t have all the stats yet – will post when online.
Benefits: A portion of proceeds and all donations go to the Rescue Mission of Syracuse.
More info on race: https://www.facebook.com/events/587230561446314/

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