On Saturday August 31, I ran the North Coast Challenge 5-Miler in Westlake, Ohio. This was my second year running the race. There are some aspects of this race I really enjoy, and others I really don’t. First here’s how I did… (two minutes slower than last year).
North Coast Challenge 5-Miler
Official Time: 1:02:23
Overall Pace: 12:29/mile
Age Group Placing (F 25-29): 22/22
Overall Placing: 310/318
Not too shabby. Overall I was at the bottom of the field. But so long as I wasn’t last I was happy! This remains a competitive race. Weather-wise it was humid out, although not as humid as the year before. There are only two water stops during this race and I really think there should be more. I was parched at times despite trying to hydrate well pre-race.
The course for the North Coast Challenge 5-Miler was the same as last year, which consists of paved roads, gravel trails and for a short stretch – grass. One part of the course I do not enjoy is the home stretch. It’s all paved road, but it’s all in the sun. Just like last year I was scorched at the end. I received a water bottle right at the finish but the water was warm. I found iced bottles near the refreshment tents and traded out immediately.
What I really like about this race is the post-race food. They had apples, bananas, grapes, cookies, donuts and pizza this year. I had two slices of pizza, which to me, was the perfect mix of simple carbohydrates and protein for post-race refueling. They also had bottled water and Gatorade. And despite there being more than 300 runners they were not out of refreshments when I finished. Running out becomes a real hassle when you are a slower runner so I give mad props to any race where refreshments are planned properly for all to enjoy.
I also like getting a swag bag and coupons at the “health fair” at the race. Again this year they offered 15-minute post-race massages which I took part in. I had my quads massaged along with my upper back. It felt amazing!
What I don’t like about the North Coast Challenge 5-Miler … the parking situation. Parking itself isn’t bad (plenty of spaces) but if you have to pick up your packet pre-race you have to walk about half a mile to get your packet. I don’t understand why the registration tent is not by the parking lot. Also, they offer packet pickup the day before the race, but only from noon until 6 p.m. If you don’t live near the race location or if you work during the day… you are out of luck. If those two aspects of this race were improved I would like it a lot more. (Oh, and some shade on that home stretch… Please?)
Editor’s Note: This race has been renamed “Celebrate Westlake.”