March 13, 2011

Dublin Shamrock 5k

I hadn't done this race in a few years so I figured it was time to do it again, the 13th Annual Shamrock 5k in Dublin. The early registration fee was $21 per person and included a t-shirt, timing chip and post race food and entertainment. The bib and timing chip were mailed prior to the race and there was an opportunity to pick up your t-shirt a few days before the race as well. This made the morning of race day much smoother and let me sleep in a little longer which was appreciated since we lost an hour because of daylight savings. Race day registration was also available at $25 for Dublin residents and $30 for non-residents. There were supposed to be designated parking areas near the race start but there were just a lot of parking lots for businesses.  I picked one of the lots and then made my way toward the start of the race on Dublin Blvd. One side of the street was closed at the start line so there was plenty of room to mingle without the worry of cars. There were pace signs along one side of the street but the crowd bunched up at the front by start time. The race started right on time at 8:30am. The route headed west on Dublin Blvd then north on Village Parkway before turning onto Amador Valley Blvd. After a short detour on York Drive I was running on Amador Valley Blvd again. The course had been flat until this point but then there were a few short hills. After turning onto Iron Horse Trail and then Alameda Creek Trail, there were several more rolling hills. The course narrowed a bit here but it was still plenty wide. As this trail follows the creek there were lots of little flying bugs that seemed to have a mission to crash into my face or end up in my mouth. I ended up swallowing a couple. The finish line was drawing near but I could not make it out. Then I saw a big crowd huddled around what looked like a water station and soon realized it was actually the finish line. The finish area itself was narrow and very crowded. It was not easy for spectators to see their loved ones or for runners who had finished to go back along the course to cheer on those still running. To get back to Dublin Blvd from the finish I had to make my way through the Civic Plaza and the festival booths. Postrace food was available there and included muffins, pizza and cups of water. Race day weather was overcast and cool but not cold-great race weather. The course itself was well marked with plenty of volunteers to steer runners in the right direction and times were called out at miles one and two. There were a few water stations along the course as well. Overall the race was good but a bit crowded, I think a 10k race option should be added to help thin out the crowd. The parking and race finish could use some work as well. Until then, I probably won't run it again.