I can’t remember how I found out about this race, but I think it was on Facebook. Either one of my friends posted it, or it was advertised. The medal looked like Thor’s hammer and I couldn’t resist. I had a 6 mile training run I needed to do anyway for Princess. So, I signed up for the 10k. About a week before the race, I showed my son the medal pictures. He said he wanted to do it. So, I signed him up for the 5k. This is a trail race which I happen to like. It was at George Poston Park in Lowell, NC on Feb 1. I had never been there before. We got up early since we needed to pick up our bibs and shirts. It was actually an easy drive on Saturday morning and Waze led me right to it. There were signs leading us all the way to the back parking lot. We found a spot and parked. We put our gloves on and went to find the bibs. The lot was not very full yet. The weather wasn’t great, but it wasn’t raining. There was a line of a couple people ahead of us to check in. They got us the shirts in a bag and had me sign off 2 waivers. I also got a hoodie that was very nice. The only thing I can think is that they were running a special to get more people when I signed up my son. They had a phone number taped to the table used for signing the paperwork. They told us to take a picture of it in case we needed help along the course. I did, but I won’t post it here. We gathered our things and went back to the car. It was a little chilly and we decided to stay warm for longer. We pinned on our bibs in the car. Once we saw people heading to the start, we joined them. We took a pre-race selfie.
There were some people all decked out in Viking gear. The half marathon people started first. This was what they did before the start.
Once they were done, I realized I needed to use the bathroom before I started. I ran and used it as quickly as possible. I just made it to the start in time for my race. Logan’s 5k was the last to start so I wished him good luck as I ran by. They had given us a few instructions at the start. I knew there were signs about when to turn. I also knew the 10k was just 2 laps of the 5k. We started going around next to some ball fields. The ground was wet from the rain the night before. There was a slope down from the fields to the wooded area. We had to watch our footing as it was a little slippery. There was a man next to me who had hurt his knee and was just hoping to finish. I told him I’d be in the back with him. I could still see people ahead of me as we started on the trails. Since it’s almost confusing describing the trails and I didn’t take a lot of pictures… here is the official course map.
Here is the first sign we came to.
Then it started going uphill pretty quickly. I walked a lot here both for my tired legs and the unsure footing.
At the second bridge, we stayed to the right.
The two people running in front of me were fast 5k runners that had already passed me.
The next sign we came to pointed us to the left.
After some switch backs going downhill, we crossed the first bridge and went left.
I saw my son briefly during the switch backs. After what felt like a long time, we came to this nice bridge.
Not too far on the other side, we found the aid station.
I forgot to say before this, I encountered a couple that has gotten lost. I suspect they were overthinking the course and already doubled the bridge circuit instead of making the entire loop. My son caught up to us shortly after the aid station. I ran back into the lady from the first picture shortly before we found this turn.
Once we broke through the trees and could see the finish line, my son ran for it. I tried to get a picture as it came into clearer view, but he finished too fast for me.
Meanwhile, I knew I had another lap.
Just after the start line was another aid station with a very enthusiastic volunteer. This is the same route we started on, just no aid station then.
This is the path by the fields with the tricky footing.
We made it to the first bridge. You can see how bad the ground was in this photo.
We ran the top trail with the switchbacks meeting the occasional half marathoner. Then we got back to the bridge again. The man in front of us was a half marathoner.
We had to take pictures of the beautiful stream we were running next to.
I didn’t take pictures of the aid station when we passed it again but I will say we were so happy to see it. I thought this very was lovely when we were along the path.
Eventually, we found the last turn sign again. We knew we were getting close to the finish.
We could see the end and my race buddy ran it in. It was her first 10k and she wanted to get a good time. I cheered her on.
We could hear the awards presentation in progress as we made the final turn to the finish.
The finish line was in sight.
After getting my medal, I went to the refreshment tent. They had baked potatoes, but I couldn’t imagine eating them at that moment. I grabbed a water, a Coke, and a bag of chips. Then I found my son. It turns out he won first place in his age group for the 5k. For that, he got a wooden bow and arrow set. He was so happy.
We took a post-race selfie.
My son told me I would get an award and I told him I was probably the last 10k finisher. Just as we thought the awards were over, they announced some last minute additions. Apparently, my running buddy and myself came in second and third in our age group. I’ll take any award I can get. We went up on the podium and Logan took a picture.
For our award, we got pocket knives. After the presentations were over, my son had me talk to the announcer. Apparently he wanted my approval before he gave my son a pocket knife as well. Then, we took a final picture with the props.
After that, we gathered our things and made our way home. I checked and I was the last 10k finisher. I’m not sure what happened to that guy at the start except maybe he decided to change to the 5k after the first lap. The medals were the same no matter the distance run. I would gladly do this race again and hope it comes back next year.