Well, that seemed familiar. And that's because it was. Today's 4.2-mile "Run Your Buns Off" road race in Bristol was actually almost entirely in neighboring Bridgewater, and followed the exact same course I ran in that town just this past May. The only difference was that it started and ended just over the Bristol line instead of the Bridgewater Fire Department, about 100 yards up the highway. Strange!
So technically, because 98 percent of the race was in Bridgewater, it doesn't really count as "doing Bristol" under the terms of my quest. (At least half the distance of a 5K needs to be in a town for it to count.) But since I'll be running the N.H. Half Marathon on Oct. 1 this year, and since it ends in Bristol (and passes through four other towns!), I'm not going to be too upset about it. Heck, I'll even count today's race as my official run in Bristol, though mostly because I don't want to feel like an idiot for going up there and running it.
I almost didn't find it. I went up Route 3A from the town center, thinking the bakery was just up the road. So I drove, and drove, and soon was way out of town and heading along Newfound Lake to Bridgewater, the next town up. I figured I'd somehow missed the race, and was looking for a place to turn around, when up ahead I noticed a big crowd on one side of the road and a police officer directing traffic, and that was it.
Really? I thought we must have been in Bridgewater by then, but no -- the "town line" sign was right there, just beyond the bakery, which must occupy the last lot before the border. So yes, the race started and ended in Bristol, but only about 200 feet of the course was in the town. The rest was in neighboring Bridgewater. Weird, too, that I ran the Bridgewater race on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (to start the summer), and then did this one on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, traditionally the end of the summer season around here. Nice symmetry!
Oh well. Sunny, warm, and humid this morning (a change from the nice dry conditions we've had all week) and I thought it would be a slog, but no. I started strong and kept up the pace all the way, following a gal for the first half before losing her after the one long hill, then racing and beating a 10-year-old in the home stretch, even with my left shoe completely unlaced. (I'm not proud to say that I won, but kids gotta learn what the real world is like someday.)
Not at badly organized race. Reasonable same-day registration fee of $20. Start was a little confusing, with no one able to hear any announcements due to passing motorcycles on Route 3A and the guy constantly turning his megaphones in all directions as he talked. (I got one thing: "Have a fun time!")
The race was organized by the Basic Ingredients Bakery to benefit Bristol Community Services and was organized on an unusual Yin/Yang promise: that one of their sticky buns (free to all finishers) = 420 calories, which is exactly what would be burned off by a typical person running 4.2 miles. Well, okay! I'm just glad they didn't serve ice cream (maybe 1,000 calories) alongside it because there's no way I could have run an extra 10 miles.
The sticky buns afterwards were, sorry to say, a bit of a let-down: dry and kinda bland and actually not very sticky. Maybe I got one that missed out on the cinnamon and sugar and all that, but it seemed a little weird for the star attraction to not live up to the hype.
No results posted yet, but the clock read 40:22 as I crossed the finish line. Just over my imagined goal of finishing in 40 minutes, but came durned close. Worked out my pace as 9:36 per mile, but we'll see if my math agrees with theirs when results get posted.