December 21, 2014
The tagline on this race was “Hot Cocoa For All!” and it was on my birthday, so I basically had to sign up. I also have been on a mission this winter to run a variety of holiday/ winter races, so that I could compare them, and this was the last race I could get in before I left the city for the holidays.
The original plan for the day was for my boyfriend and I to bike to Roosevelt Island for our swim class at 7am with our triathlon team, Queensboro Tri, swim for 1.5 hours, then run the 10K, then bike home. So like a fun, out-of-order, mini birthday triathlon. I realized about a week before the race, that running a 10K in the middle of all that might not be the smartest, so I decided to just check and see if it were possible to switch to the 5K. I didn’t have high hopes as my experiences communicating with race organizers in the past haven’t always been positive. However, the people at NYCRUNS, were the best, and emailed me an hour later and changed my registration without any problem.
As it turned out, our swim got canceled, so the day turned into a birthday duathlon, which was just fine, because it was cold and windy out there on the island and I’m glad I didn’t have to run with wet hair. Roosevelt island is very bike friendly and there are tons of racks, so if you live in Astoria or the UES biking might be the best way to get to races on the island.
The race was small and there were no corrals, so we had to place ourselves where we felt best in the mass of people. The road for most of the race was wide enough to accommodate people passing, so the lack of corrals didn’t cause any real backups.
The run definitely had a holiday feel, but was more race than fun-run. I didn’t see too many people in holiday outfits which was a shame, but there were a few like my friend Erin, who showed up wearing reindeer antlers, that kept it festive. My boyfriend and I stuck together for the race and did a fast run/walk that achieved a 5K PR for him. After the race we got our hot chocolate and bagels with cream cheese and watched the 10Kers head out on their run before we hopped on our bikes and went home.
Race Price: 4 – $25
Race Organization: 4- The organization was good. It was very relaxed but it a small race so it all seemed to run smoothly.
Level of Communication: 5– NYC Runs totally won me over forever by making it SO easy to switch my race from the 10k distance to 5k. I was expecting no response or a polite denial of my request to switch distances only a week before the race, but the rep was so responsive and helpful and switched me without a question. They were also great at updating us about changes to the course due to construction.
Race Course: 4- The 5K course was great as Roosevelt Island has a great running path along the circumference of the island. However, my guess is the 10k was a little less fun, as the whole island is only about 4 miles around so they just did the 5K course twice. It’s flat all the way and the course was a loop so it was a pretty fast course.
Swag: 4- Instead of a T shirt we got a nice mug, which I thought was pretty cool.
T shirt: N/A There was a long-sleeve T for sale at pick up but no free shirt.
Post Race Swag: 4 Hot chocolate! I’m a sucker for hot chocolate and this cocoa was good and hot. My friend who did this race last year said that they ran out of hot cocoa last year, but there was plenty when I finished. It may be a risk if you do the 10K though, so I’d weigh that risk when choosing a distance next year. There were also bagels AND cream cheese. Fancy pants!
Spectator Support: 2 This race was dead quiet. Not even the volunteers cheered. In their defense it was cold and we were on Roosevelt Island so I doubt anyone came out just to cheer.
Overall Score: 3.86 Nice simple (cheap) race with good swag and snacks. I look forward to doing more NYCRUNS races in the coming year!