The folks down in Carteret County have been running the Historic Beaufort Road Race 10k/5k for thirty years now, so it was a natural choice to include in the countdown. We were guaranteed a nice, flat course and we would only have to worry about the mid-July heat and humidity. Fire up the tour bus -- it's time for a summer trip to the coast!
The tour bus was actually pretty full this trip; after Chad and I made plans to make the trip to Beaufort, some other friends from the area also decided to do this mid-summer run. Chad's wife Koren, Chris, Laurel, Jim, Brandon, Jennifer, Romaine, Aaron, Rebecca, Esther and Mark all decided to come run, and it was a lot of fun to have that many folks from the Raleigh area all down at the coast for the weekend to run the race, eat some seafood, and enjoy the lovely view of the waterfront. (Chad's parents also came along to provide spectator support.)
We were unexpectedly blessed with lower-than-usual humidity, although the temps were very summer-like: right around 80 degrees at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. Fortunately, the constant breeze off the water helped out a good bit and kept the air from being too muggy. We arrived well in advance of the mile run, the first race of the day, and enjoyed checking in, meeting all the other Triangle runners, checking out the waterfront, and admiring the better-than-usual race t-shirts.
Chad and Koren jogged the mile run as a warmup, and then all of us took off for the 5k/10k run. The breeze was at our backs as we took off down the waterfront, and it seemed like no time had passed before we were already at the 5k turnaround. It really did feel like the majority of the runners were doing the 5k, because the crowd thinned out significantly as we got further out on the 10k course. (167 runners finished the 10k, and 371 runners finished the 5k; they said the total participation over all three races was 810, a new high for the event.)
After a couple of miles, the 10k runners moved a block inland and returned towards town, making a few turns in and out around blocks and beautiful old homes so that we got to see plenty of Beaufort, including the Ocean View cemetery. Fortunately for the runners, there were lots of enthusiastic volunteers directing us through all the turns, including lots of spirited Boy Scouts manning several water stations. One set of turns in the neighborhood allowed us to see runners ahead of us headed back towards the finish. Finally, we got to make those last few turns ourselves and turned back along the waterfront -- now into a strong headwind -- for the last three-quarters of a mile or so to the finish line.
Lots of spectators crowded around the finish to cheer all the 5k and 10k runners back, and some very nice volunteers handed each finisher a much-appreciated ice-cold towel to cool off. There was an ample supply of post-run food and drink for the runners as well. All of the Triangle contingent ran very well: Jim was the overall 10k winner, Brandon and Laurel won age-group awards in the 10k, and Esther was an age-group winner in the 5k. There were other winners announced from the Raleigh area, too, so we weren't the only out-of-towners who made the trip!
Everyone really enjoyed the Historic Beaufort Road Races, from fresh seafood the night before to the wonderfully flat race to more seafood for lunch afterwards, as well as extra time on the beach after the race! We may need a bigger bus to bring runners to Beaufort next year!