April 24, 2010

Great Spear-It Run

We went to the Great Spear-It Run today in Stockton. It was our first time doing this race. It included one mile, 5k and five mile races. The run is part of the three day Annual Asparagus Festival. We registered for the five mile race and the entry fee included a performance t-shirt and admission to the festival. We always like the performance t-shirts over the cotton so we were excited about that. The drive to the race was straightforward and there was ample parking on the surrounding streets since it was early in the day. There were also many parking lots in the surrounding area that charged $10. Finding race day bib pick-up was easy so we had time to kill. The race application and event website all listed race start to be 8am but once we were there it was announced that the one mile race would start at 8am and the 5k and 5 mile races would not start until 8:30. The start time announcement seemed like news to everyone so we don't think we misread the event information beforehand. With an extra half hour to wait for our race we enjoyed the Mariachi Band that was performing and watched the local farmers set up for the local market. We also watched the 1 mile racers, many of them children. "Gus" the Asparagus participated as well. The course for all three races was similar, starting on Weber Avenue along the waterfront and ending at the finish line inside the festival. The 5k and 5 mile races included several turnarounds on Weber Avenue which proved to be good and bad. The numerous turnarounds on the 5 mile course definitely affected our momentum but also gave us ample opportunities to see our spectators, something that we haven't seen in other races we've done. Because the 5k and 5mile races used the same course it did get confusing to race volunteers and racers alike whether they had completed all of the turnarounds before heading towards the finish line. Once we had completed all of our turnarounds we headed to the finish line inside the Asparagus Festival and soon noticed that the finish line was set up too soon in our course. We ended the race at 4.5 miles and not 5miles, which was disappointing. Besides the incorrect distance on the 5 mile course we did notice a few other things that could be improved upon before next year, the water stations and the mile markers. There were two water stations set up but only one was functional and there were only two mile markers, one at the 1 mile mark and one at the 2 mile mark. There were about 1000 race participants in total and the weather could not have been better. We did not stay for the Asparagus Festival after the race since it didn't start for about another 45 minutes or so and we had other plans for the day. We did make a quick stop at the conveniently located farmers market on our way out.