Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

2015 Frederick Running Festival - Nut Job Challenge

Monday, May 11, 2015
The Frederick Running Festival, now in its 13th year, is comprised of four races: The Twilight 5k and Kids Fun Run - both held on a Saturday evening - and a half marathon or two person team relay on Sunday.

For those runners looking to go the extra mile - or three point one miles - you can run the 5k on Saturday AND the half marathon on Sunday. This challenge is affectionately known as the "Nut Job." Registering for the challenge gets you two race premiums and, upon completion, two medals - one for the half marathon and one for the challenge.

Of the two race premiums, the 5k shirt is my favorite. It is a cotton feel short sleeve in purple. The half marathon shirt is okay but the temperatures made a long sleeve shirt a little less than desirable.

This was my second year running the combined event (2014 Recap HERE) and Cindy's first. Being Ambassadors with PlowOn, we were thrilled to be running as a part of their team and made the most of our roles by joining them in the booth at the expo as well as at the finish festival.

PlowOn's own, Matt Dell, showing everyone just how short we are.

The Twilight 5k

Earning its name with its 6:00pm race start, the Twilight 5k starts and ends on the horse track at the Frederick Fair Grounds. The course is pretty much an out and back with some easy hills thrown in. Last year I loved the course.

This year I spent 3.1 miles silently complaining to myself that there was no shade.

Beginning twenty minutes before the race, as we stood assembled at the starting line awaiting the send off, the sun began to beat down on us. What started out as a cool evening turned into blazing hot and uncomfortable. By the time the race began, grumbles could be heard across the crowd about the temperature and everyone was glad to be moving. Cindy, myself, and our band of merry runners were glad to be getting this out of the way.

The Good:
  • Late start time so you could hit packet pick-up and then run the race.
  • Under normal circumstances, the course isn't terrible. 
The Not So Good:
  • Packet pickup could have been expedited if the "smart phone" sign outside of the area also provided a QR code for runners to use to pull up their information.
  • Organizers posted the "Race Start" directional sign for the HALF MARATHON out early causing some confusion as to where the 5k started. 
  • IT WAS HOT!!! 
  • I'm pretty sure that Cindy and I inhaled half the race track between the start and finish of the race. 
The Half Marathon

Since I was driving, I stuck to my usual plan of arrive early, get the good parking, and nap in the car. Which we did. As far as I'm concerned, this should have been the VIP parking area because as a runner, this is a beautiful view.
In all seriousness, my one big tip about the Sunday morning half is arrive BY 5am to get good parking as well as avoid road closures and rerouting. Then take a nap in the car. That is exactly what we did.

Knowing full well that we were in no way at 100% for this race - hey...we had only ran Blue Ridge two weeks prior, were not acclimated to the high temps, and were fighting allergies - we opted to just run the race comfortably. We planted ourselves in conservative pacing locations (I should have gone even more conservative). In fact, my running buddy, Amy, and I both laughed about setting out to complete PWs (Personal Worsts) in this distance.

Between allergies and the temperatures going up even faster than expected, Cindy and I both had less than stellar performances and we were not alone. Along the route, a number of people got sick. I ended up cranking up my head phones so I wouldn't hear.

What can I say; I am a sympathy puker.

Stellar performance or not...we still got two cool new medals to add to our walls.

The Good:
  • Early arrival = great parking
  • Two finishers medals when you come across the finish line. 
  • Great finishers festival - they even solved the beer issues from the year before
  • Relaxed starting area with pacers
The Not So Good:
  • Once you were in the finishers festival, locating water was difficult unless you wanted to beg your way back towards the finish line or buy some - that's kind of messed up.
  • IT WAS HOT!!
  • I think we snorted the other 50% of the track. 
  • A male guard near the festival exit was down right rude and took himself way too seriously. 
Final thoughts:

While the premise behind the race is cute and the event is fun, neither of us are certain that we'd run this race series again. There are other races that we'd like to knock off our bucket list in the coming years.
6 comments on "2015 Frederick Running Festival - Nut Job Challenge"
  1. This sounds like a really fun race! Except for the lack of water at the finish? WTH?

    1. Yeah. As soon as you came over the line, there was water but then you were pushed along past security into the "finish festival" and it was beer or buy water. I don't feel like you should have to buy water if you ran the race and have a bib on.

  2. I'm with Wendy on this one. That's messed up about no water. Glad you had a good time other wise.

    1. It was screwed up and I managed to beg my way back to the finish area to get some water. They need to rethink that in future years. We shouldn't have to buy water.

  3. I've heard this was a fun one! Nice medals! It's always fun to knock it off the bucket list

    1. Really is. Just wish it would have been more seasonable temperature wise. LOL