Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chestertown Tea Party 10 miler

In recent years, the Chestertown Tea Party Festival organizers have felt the need to add a disclaimer that their event is not political. Their festival is inspired by a real, or at least legendary, event. Whether or not the citizens of Chestertown participated in an act of vandalism to protest British taxes is unclear. But that doesn't stop the town from celebrating it. They have been doing so every year, on Memorial Day weekend since 1968, which obviously predates the recent Tea Party political movement. So it must annoy them that they have to add a disclaimer.

Chestertown is a small town founded in 1706 on the Chester River, on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It is the county seat for Kent County. The downtown area has a nice historic feel to it. Many of the houses and buildings go back to the 18th century. While not a major tourist destination, it isn't a bad place to visit for a day trip.

The festival has all sorts of events, but the only one I participated in was the 10 mile race. Called the Run for Radcliffe, the race benefits the private Radcliffe school which is for kids with learning disabilities.

The race started at 8 am on Saturday, May 25, 2013. I overslept a bit and had to rush to get there from Annapolis. As a result, I missed my normal 2-3 cups of coffee. The excitement of the race was a nice substitute, however.

It was a bit crowded at the start because there was also a 5k race that was starting at the same time. However, after about a mile or so, the 5k runners changed course and the race became much less congested.

Downtown side street
The course took us mainly through the local suburbs and avoided the downtown area. Running through the downtown area might have been more interesting, but it also would have made it more difficult. People were busy setting up their stalls for the festival and there were lots of people walking around. Running through there would have just slowed everyone down and make life more complicated. There were a lot of hills in the course, but they were fairly mild. And for each uphill there was a corresponding downhill. The race was well supported with water and other refreshments. The locals were supportive and seemed happy that we were there.

I started out in the back and slowly increased my speed throughout the race. My five mile pace (they had a timing map at the 5 mile mark and we wore RFID chips on our shoes) was 9:44 per mile. My total race pace, at the end, was 9:30 per mile. So I was faster in the second half. It wasn't my best race, but I wasn't dissatisfied. Some older guy passed me in the first mile. He was huffing and puffing, while I was relaxed. I made it my mission to pass him, but did so slowly. I had him in my sights for a while and finally passed him around mile 7 and didn't see him again until after I finished.

The finish was great. They had a beer truck set up with free beer from the Fordham Brewery. I drank in moderation because I was driving and because it was still morning. I only had 3 to 4 pints. I walked around for a while before heading back.

I would certainly do this race again and recommend it to others. It was well supported, it was for a good cause, the people were friendly, it was a nice course, and they had free beer. What else could you ask for?

1 comment:

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