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Jun 10 / Jane

Princeton Healthcare 10k 2013

After a rough evening at the College Ave Mile, I managed to get up early and make it to the Princeton Healthcare 10k.  I gave myself plenty of time to check-in since there wasn’t any information about it in the flyer or online.  The line to check-in took 15minutes or more, then it was another 10minute for the port-o-potty and I had just enough time to put on my bib and head to the start.

In the chute I ran into Jim, who organizes the Mercer-Bucks Running Club Wednesday evening indoor-track workouts in the winter-time.  We chatted about the course and other upcoming races.  Once we were off, I realized he did not have a bib and was likely running as a bandit.  Funny, either that or he didn’t have enough time to wait in line to retrieve his bib!  He reminds me of my Girl Scout Leader’s husband who used to do that in local races when I was younger.

I stuck with Jim the first mile or so, then I ran past him.  I had no issue following the crowds of runners through the hilly streets of Princeton, but about a mile and a half in I saw two men screaming at a volunteer.  They were in the lead group and another volunteer had pointed them the wrong way so they were running past mile 5 when they hadn’t even reached mile 2…  Oops?

At the first water station I ran into Bill, from the Princeton Intervals (PI) group I’d been running with on Tuesday evenings.  I had known he would be there, but his projected time was much faster than mine so I didn’t anticipate running into him.  The lead group ran past us.  I stayed with Bill until just after the halfway point, he kept us at a nice 8:45 pace and we came through the 5k under 28min.   But I lost it on the “long-slow-uphill,” as Bill called it, and he speed off towards his goal once we were over the top.

I slowed my pace for the second half, hills and dehydration set in.  I got a cramp towards the end, but was able to have a strong finish on the Princeton University track.  Bill had stayed to watch me finish and cheered me the whole way through the end.  That was great.  I finished in a respectable time of 58:40, a 10k PR for me.

I met up with Bill after, had an ice pop and chatted about the course and PI, I recapped my previous evening in effort to explain my slower than expected time.  I visited the vendors, grabbed a handful of granola bars and headed home.

Bill and I at the finish

Bill and I at the finish

Overall it was a good race, the course was challenging, hilly, but shaded, and through neighborhoods I’d never been in before.  But it was not well organized or well marked.  The registration was a mess, super long lines and maybe just not enough volunteers?  The course had only two police officers on it that I saw (it was looped, some out and back), and hardly any barricades   Clearly not all the volunteers at other intersections had a course map or knew exactly where to direct runners, as proven by the snafu with the lead group.  There were also cars getting onto the route where there were not volunteers or barricades.  There was this one street, it was a circle (one way in and out), where two cars were trying to go against the runners, one was even a student driver.  It does not appear the Township communicated the event very well to the residents, seeing as it was mostly residential streets we ran through.

This particular race has a history of course changes and has been run 35 times in non-consecutive years so that supports my theory that the Township really doesn’t support it.  Which is a shame since there was a nice turnout.  The 10k is a great distance, they had nice bibs, shirts and the layout of the course and the finish in the stadium were well thought out.  If it was better supported and communicated it would be an excellent annual event.  I think I’d run it again in the future.

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