Monday, May 20, 2013

Northampton County - Conway 5k Railroad Run - May 18, 2013

Northhampton County was another small, mostly rural county that I was worried about for a while -- would any races be held there that would enable us to check it off the list?  I heard about a small 5k a few years ago to benefit breast cancer research, but it apparently wasn't repeated, leaving me to wonder if we were going to get to run there.
Those worries were alleviated with the announcement that, to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city of Conway and build on the excitement of the Centennial, Conway would be hosting the first Conway 5k Railroad Run and Choo-Choo Fun Run.  Even the Conway Pipeline newsletter mentioned this would be the first time a 5k run was held in Conway's history!  (The rest of the Centennial celebration included a parade, live music and a street fair.)

The race had a later starting time (11:00 a.m.) than many races, so it was easy to get up and take the ride over to Northampton County.  The race, which was set up at a local church, was very well set up for a rookie event.  There was no problem getting checked in and picking up my race bib and shirt, plus there were plenty of pre- and post-race snacks for the runners to munch on.  Many volunteers seemed just as excited as some of the runners for the first Conway 5k in history!

The runners were lined up, and a train whistle was used to start the race!  The race itself was pretty straightforward; we went out one of the side roads from the main street for about a mile and half, then we turned and came straight back.  The area around Conway was mercifully flat, so the race turned out to be pretty fast as well.  There was a good water stop right around the halfway mark, so everyone had a chance to get some fluids as needed.  We passed many rural homes, where some owners knew what was going on and others were surprised to find a mess of runners going by!

The small size of the race (61 finishers), flat course and moderate temps made for great running conditions.  I surprised myself with a finishing time of just over 27 minutes, good enough for a 3rd-place age-group finish -- if there were age-group awards.  But it was a very nice race, great organization for a rookie event, and I hope it won't be a long time before more runners will have a chance to run in Northampton County! 

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