Sunday, October 13, 2013

Feed Annapolis 5 Miler

The Feed Annapolis 5 Miler is a 5 mile charity race in Annapolis created by the Revolution church. Revolution is a Protestant evangelical non-denominational church that markets itself to people "who don't like church". Feed Annapolis is their charity wing that gets food to poor people. Of course, with food stamps, school lunches, and the rest, I'm not so sure that people are starving here. But feeding the poor should be done by private groups and individuals, not the State, so I was happy to help out, even if the entry fee seemed a bit high.

The race was on the morning of Saturday, August 17, 2013. It started at Bates Middle School, which is less than a half mile from my house, so I walked there. There appeared to be enough parking for everyone.

The volunteers and everyone else seemed reasonably pleasant and the race started without incident. The course took us around the school area, then around my neighborhood, and then through Truxtun Park, then back through my neighborhood, then through the outskirts of Murray Hill, before ending back where we started. It was a bit disappointing that the race never took us downtown. But knowing the local politics, I wasn't surprised. The downtown residents complain endlessly about every event, especially sporting ones, at the City Council meetings. The race directors may have decided that it wasn't worth the effort to get a permit for a downtown run. I don't blame them.

The course was easy enough to follow and well marked. And volunteers were at every turn so no one could get lost.

There was some food after the race. The Chick-fil-a breakfast sandwiches were decent, but sort of dry. Some catsup and/or mayonnaise and pickles would have made them better.

They encouraged people afterwards to line up and put together a box of food by walking down a long line and filling the boxes with food that was out on a table. The church members would then take that food to the poor.

I ran the race with Eric Knowles, who is also running for State Senate. Eric is a good guy. He isn't a career politician. He works for a living as a bartender. He doesn't compromise his beliefs to get elected. He is one of the few people running for office who has actually understands the proper role of government. We ran at a comfortable 9:18 per mile pace and had a good political discussion as went. Regretfully there was no beer provided after the race. We did walk to my house afterwards where we continued our political discussion and drank some beer that I had sitting around.

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?