Chatham County looks on the map like one of the biggest counties in the state, and by all accounts it's one of the wealthiest, especially around the border with Orange County, but it's hard to find a race there. The county seat, Pittsboro, is not a large town, and Siler City is a small town, too; with the predominant part of the county being rural in nature, there just doesn't seem to be a large population center to support a race.
(UPDATE: Of course, after I wrote this, I find out that Siler City had a festival back in the spring that included a 5k; hopefully it will be back next year. Oh, and they also have a Reindeer Run 5k. Sorry for the oversights.)
That's why it was nice to find out about the Run for the Mariners 5k, a fundraising race put on by the PTA at Perry Harrison Elementary School, which is north of Pittsboro. A skeleton race crew put on a good race, showing the ability to do a good amount with a low race budget. Don't want to spend for race bibs? Then just write everyone's number on their lower leg with a Sharpie! :-) Don't want a full-featured finish operation? Somebody's husband has got to have a chronograph on their wristwatch! :-)
A field of just 33 runners, mostly kids connected to the school, showed up to have numbers written on their legs this morning. Only 17 runners were above 18 years old. Fortunately the rain got through the area early and left a clean, crisp smell in the air and clearing skies above. The race director lined us up at a gate that was doubling as the start/finish line and sent us off around the parking lot and down the street, where we turned into a developing subdivision to traverse all the cul-de-sacs. Then we returned to circle the school property and the athletic fields, and that was it! There were a good number of hills on the course, and I could tell I hadn't fully recovered from whatever kind of cold has been bugging me this week. But I stumbled on through a few rough coughing fits and surprisingly finished 19th in 29:34. (Yep, saved by not having the course certified, either.)
Good, fun race put on by a hard-working crew. The t-shirts were better than average, and there was plenty of food and drink afterwards for the runners. Only a few awards were given -- overall men and women winners, both adults and kids -- but many door prizes were awarded to the rest of the field. Congrats to the Mariners for putting on Chatham County's only race, and doing a good job with it!