Race #9 for 2011 is checked off: Rudolph’s Revenge 5 and 10k in Littleton, CO. These races loop to the north and then to the south of Hudson Gardens along the Platte, crossing a few time on long wooden bridges. I’ve run parts of this course before and enjoy running alongside the river and seeing the mountain backdrop.
I picked these races for fun and a change of scenery and, as a bonus, was able to see my best friend and run with my sister-in-law and Mighty Nephew!
The morning was crisp and clear, about 32 degrees on the car thermometer, calm – good conditions for a long run. There was still some snow in places, some patches of ice on the trail but for the most part the footing was dry. Small flocks of ducks and geese were scattered along the river.
Parking was easy at the site – no fee – and I had plenty of time for packet pickup, visiting with my buddy, and meeting Mighty Nephew and Sis. True to the festive theme, many runners wore antlers, Santa hats, tinsel and bells. I saw a few fully dressed elves and, at one point in the race, a team of ‘deer’ in tinsel harness pulling a Santa.
This was Mighty Nephew’s first 5k and so I was eagerly anticipating his take on the race. Before we set out he showed me he was wearing his lucky number, had on his lucky sweatshirt with his initial on it and told me he was eating a banana for special energy. He was all set to go! As we set off he ran in front of us and, as we ran along and warmed up, he took in the sites. At one point, we emerged from beneath an overpass and a brilliant sunbeam flashed off the water straight into our eyes. Down below us we saw ducks lazily paddling along.
We ran and walked and grabbed a drink at the aid station. During the last part of the race Mighty Nephew granted an interview.
Me: So, Mighty Nephew, what is the best part of this race?
MN: Running with you guys! (Huge grin.)
Me: Do you think you would like to run another one sometime?
MN: I’ll think about it and see. (I am wondering what the final decision will be.)
Sis: How did you prepare for the race today?
MN: I got up early and had a big breakfast and orange juice! I had my banana for special energy and I had some Gatorade at the water stop. But I don’t want to dilute my banana!
Me: What else do you like about the race?
MN: The sunlight flashing off the Savage Sea. (That was a great moment, coming out from the overpass into the bright light.)
At the last 50 yards to the finish we turned him loose and MN took off like the whipper snapper he is, sprinting in full lean with arms back like wings. The group hug at the end was awesome!!
The 10k covered the same ground plus the additional 3.1 miles and was just as pretty though not nearly so entertaining as the 5k had been since I ran it on my own. There were 3 aid stations for the 10k course. The day was beautiful, the course was nice and I enjoyed both races. The best part of the 10k was my best friend waiting for me at the finish with a huge hug!
There were plenty of post race snacks and drinks and I thought everything was well-organized and smoothly run. Both races started on time and there were suitable facilities and good support.