Saturday, June 14th was the 49th annual Gaspee Days 5K in Cranston, RI. From the website: “In June of 1772 brave colonists from Rhode Island burned the British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, during what has become recognized as the first bloodshed of the American Revolution.” Each year, there are several events of the weekend including the race, parade and fireworks.
All week long, a co-worker and I were watching the weather to see how it would be (she is on the Gaspee Days Committee). The 2013 race was held on a drizzly, grey morning so we were hoping we’d have better weather this year. At the beginning of the week it looked like we were in the clear, but then on Thursday the forecast shifted and showed a 50% chance of rain. On Friday, we had *scary* rain – like, so bad I would have rather driven in a snowstorm. Every street on my way to work was flooded in an instant and I could barely see even with my windshield wipers on the fastest setting! The whole day was dreary and wet and it looked like the race would be, too. They moved the fireworks from Friday night to Saturday night when the weather was going to be nicer.
When I got up on Saturday morning, luckily the forecast shifted and it was just cloudy and foggy. I was glad it wasn’t raining, but the humidity was 92%! I actually had a discussion with Tara after the race about how it would be better if it was a cool drizzle instead of that humidity with the 70 degree temps.
The race starts at 9:45, so we left the house right around 8:30. Bib pick-up was fast and easy and we got really nice long sleeved tech shirts as swag. Once I grabbed my bib, I made my first stop to the portapotty line and then we walked to the start (maybe a tenth of a mile down the road?). I started stretching and then my over hydrating in the morning kicked in so I used the opportunity to jog back to the portapotty line one more time and jog back as part of my warm-up.
What I thought was strange about this race was that they didn’t do the National Anthem. I always line up towards the mid-back of the pack and I was standing there with one ear bud out so I could hear when they did it and then all of a sudden I hear the gunshot go off for the start! Well OK then, we’re off! I remembered that the race was chip timed, but what I didn’t think of until afterwards was how they did it. We didn’t cross over a timing mat at the start, only at the finish. I was told by someone else after that they saw a transmitter hanging halfway down a telephone pole – pretty cool! I imagine it’s because traffic needed to keep coming in and out even though the streets were closed (buses and stuff for the parade).
I felt OK at the start but was instantly sweating buckets. The temp was fine for me, but that humidity made it SO hard to breathe. I felt like I was running through soup. I felt like I could have run more if not for that, so I was kind of bummed. I took a couple more walking breaks than I would have liked but still got the job done.
This is one of my absolute favorite races because of the spectators. They line both sides of the street, for the entire route, in anticipation of the parade and most of them will stand there and cheer the whole time the race is going on. At the very top, you can see where we loop through a small neighborhood for the turn around point of the course. There is a person there that sets up their own “extra” water station, including hanging their garden hose from the tree over the street so people can run under it to cool off!
Official time: 36:17 (but course distance came up short by my Garmin)
Finished: 1194/1439 overall, 170/215 F 30-39
After the race, they have a lot of different options for post race food and drinks including Dunkin Donuts, some bagged chips, water, local Narragansett beer, Del’s Lemonade and Munroe Dairy (though I don’t know what they were offering). I don’t know if there was any fruit because I didn’t have time to stick around and check stuff out.
I’m excited about next year because it will be the 50th annual race, so I bet they’ll have some awesome stuff planned. I would highly recommend this race to anyone.