November 27, 2011

Quarry Turkey 10k

We participated in our third Brazen Racing event over Thanksgiving weekend. Again, we were not disappointed. There were actually two Brazen Racing events over the holiday weekend, the Nitro Turkey race at Point Pinole on Thanksgiving Day and the Quarry Turkey race at Quarry Lakes two days later on Saturday. Each included 5k, 10k and Half Marathon distances. We did the Quarry Turkey 10k. We had been to Quarry Lakes once before when we biked on the Alameda Creek Trail from Coyote Hills Regional Park in Hayward to Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont but didn't get a chance to see much of the park then. (See Alameda Creek Trail Bike Ride post). This race let us explore the park a bit more. Registration fee for the race varied depending on the race distance and when you registered. As with other Brazen Racing events there was an option to register for $5 less if you did not want a race shirt, or pay $6 more for a technical fabric shirt. We opted out of the shirts. We had been warned in the days leading up to the race to get to the park with plenty of time as there are only two lanes to enter the park and it would be crowded. We were grateful that we were warned as we did leave earlier than usual and the lines to enter the park were long. Park entrance fee was $5 and once we paid we made our way toward the Brazen Racing banner. There was plenty of parking in the lots so we quickly found a spot. We made our way over to bib pick up and after a short wait and signing our waivers we received our bibs. We made our way over to pick up our timing chip and race bags which we could use as our sweat bag as well. There were copies of the race routes available for racers to take as well. There were park bathrooms as well as portapotties available. We had time to use them and check our bags before the races started.   
As usual the Half Marathon started off first at 8am with the 10k fifteen minutes later and the 5k fifteen minutes after that. The race start was on the grass and then the route headed downhill onto the unpaved Old Creek Trail before turning left onto Californio Trail. This took us back to Old Creek Trail which crossed through two of the parks lakes. It was a clear day so the views of the surrounding water were great. When we got to the first aid station we made a right onto Western Pacific Trail, this was the place that the 5k and 10k routes split, with the 5k racers making a left. We turned onto Alameda Creek Trail and our turnaround point was at our next aid station. Half marathon racers continued past the aid station to their turnaround point further up the trail. We retraced the route back to the aid station at the 5k/10k split area and ran straight past it continuing on Western Pacific Trail. It was here that we joined up with some of the slower 5k racers and it took quite a bit of maneuvering to get around the slower participants. We ran towards the parking area and stayed on the paved road for a brief time before seeing the finish line. To get to the finish we had to climb back up the grassy hill that was the race start and then just run through the cheering crowd. Most of the race route was unpaved-dirt and gravel. The aid stations all had drinks and one also had snacks like trail mix. After crossing the finish line we turned in our timing chips and received our finisher's medal. Like other Brazen races, all race finishers receive a medal, regardless of the distance of the race they participate in. One perk with this race was that if you participated in both this race and Nitro Turkey then you received a special double medal that would allow you to connect the two individual race medals creating the Thanksgiving Mega Medal. This was a great motivator for many people and there will be a special double medal for their upcoming New Years races. People who participated in both Thanksgiving races were able to pick up their special medal near the race finish. After crossing the finish line we got our water and then made the short walk to the covered park area where the post race food was located. The selection of food after the race was as good as always and included water, coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, fruit, bagels, danishes, candy, ice cream and even pumpkin and pecan pie this time around. After doing many races we have to admit that they have some of the best selection of post race food. We had our share of food and waited a little while before the 5k and 10k results were posted. After checking results we made our way back to the car to head home. As usual, race pictures were taken along the course and at the finish and were available online for free a few days after the race. This is yet another great Brazen perk. With it being Thanksgiving weekend, there was also a food drive benefiting the Alameda County Food Bank. This was another well organized Brazen Racing event and it will not be our last.