The Shaker philosophy centers around simplicity, but boy, you wouldn't know it from the route of the Canterbury Shaker Village 5K, run on Saturday, May 14 in Canterbury, N.H. :) The course, set up on the grounds of the historic settlement, twists and turns and goes up and down and all around. And that's one of the things that made it interesting and memorable.
I really can't think of another race I've run that packs its course into such a compact area. You go in and out, follow loops folded in on each other, and pass right next to where you were five minutes ago. Once we got underway, I saw runners on paths heading in other directions, and it was hard to tell whether they were ahead or behind me! But again, that made it fun.
Another thing that made it special was the setting itself. If you're going to hold a 5K race to support the Canterbury Shaker Village, then why not hold it right on site? It's a beautiful rural area of rolling hills and open fields with fine views, even on a cloudy day like we had. Even when you're climbing the many hills, the well-ordered and varied landscape helps keep you going. An usual aspect of the course were several sections of narrow one-lane paths through wooded areas, which forced us all into single file for some stretches, and with the volume of runners it caused things to back up a bit. It couldn't be helped, and I just pretended I was in the army while it lasted. :)
I've already run a race in Canterbury, but wanted to do this one to stay in practice and see what it's like. I wasn't disappointed. One of the special features was live music during the course, including a group playing bongo drums that were highly entertaining, but might have driven the old Shaker sisters crazy if they were still around.
Kudos to the Grappone Automotive Group, a large dealer in our region, for organizing and supporting this race. Hope it continues for many years! And congrats on a well-organized race as well. It's not often when race organizers seem to be able to take and post photos of all participants, including this one of me snapped about half-way through the course.
And it also had some of the most generous post-race food options I've ever seen. Usually it's a choice of bagels or some fruit, and maybe a nutrition bar. For this one, they had stacks and stacks of entire pizzas, all piled high in a Shaker barn. By the time I finished, people crowding was pretty intense around the pizza table, which looked like a bar in the Klondike.
And oh, results. Came in 226 out of 349 in this one. Time was 32:39, a little slow for me at 10:31 per mile, so all the ups and downs certainly took their toll. Also, I think I started too far back in the pack, as I seemed to do a lot of passing throughout the race and did get caught behind some slower-paced runners on the single file stretches.
Next up: a 4-miler on Saturday, May 21 in Madison, N.H., a town in the northern part of the state (just below Conway) that I haven't run in yet. We'll see if I'm up in time to get up there for a 10 a.m. start. :)