Wilson County is only a short drive from our home base in the Triangle, so it's a little surprising that we haven't been there until this late in the countdown. However, there are not a lot of races in Wilson County, so it's really been up to the calendar to work out. The Wilson Triathlon Club, though, is very active and organizes a few events each year, including the 1st annual Jingle Bell 5k run. It was a last chance to pick up another county before the end of 2013, so my now-fiance Kathy and I joined the crowd to run through Wilson!
Once we got running, the race was a very nice, flat run through many of the area's pretty subdivisions. Many of the houses and neighborhoods had been decorated for the holidays, and more than a few residents came out to watch the runners go by. (There are always a few who are totally surprised to see a horde of runners coming down the street.) The first mile was surprisingly twisty and had lots of turns, but that's pretty much what the subdivision route required. Just before the second mile mark, we reached the farthest point from Cavalier Park, and once we made a turn past the 2-mile mark, we had mostly a straight shot down Branch Street almost back to the start/finish area. There were a few turns in the last quarter-mile or so as we approached the park, and as we finally came around the corner and could see the finish line, it was easy to catch your second wind and push it in to the line. I was very pleased with my splits averaging about 8.5 minutes a mile and my finishing time of 26:43, and Kathy was only about a minute behind. Much easier to run on a cool morning, of course!
Post-race, there was a great supply of fruits and drinks for the runners to get some nourishment and hydration. It was a great surprise to run into fellow NCRC runner and master of all things Down East, Val Price at the race! Val is a very competitive runner and knows about the running scene towards the coast; it was the second time I had run into him this year while getting new counties!