I should begin by saying that my review of this race miiiiiight be slightly biased because it involves three of my favorite things: Beer, food trucks, and running.
The River Horse 6k is a brand new addition to an already existing series of races, the Great American Brewery Runs. In good news, this means that some folks who knew what they were doing had a hand in this new race. As a result, things seemed to move darn smoothly for a first-time (and sold out) race. Prior to the race, the emails had been nice and detailed, too. Always helpful.
I follow River Horse Brewing Company, since it is one of my favorite NJ breweries, and that is how I found out about this race. I got in early: I signed up as soon as it opened, and even got my BFF to use this race as her first race back in the running game since her 2nd child, a mere 4 months ago!
The brewery itself is pretty easy to find, it is in a warehouse complex off a main road in mid-southwest NJ, not far from Trenton and the PA border. It is in a warehouse complex. BFF and I got there nice and early, because we’d much rather be the first in line for our bibs and port-o-potties and then chill for a while, rather than scrambling around because we got there late. What can I say, it’s nice to have someone else to run with who understands my “don’t ever want to be late” neurosis. When we got there, they were just setting up the starting mats, and barely anyone was there. We got our bibs and hit the port-o-potties for the first time (helloooo no line!). We also were smart and got our IDs checked and paid for a token for beer, so we had less lines to deal with later. Great idea so that runners don’t have to carry their ID with them, that early ID check line!
After milling around a bit, by 9:30, the place was swarming with people and the port-o-potties and bib lines were both long – good thing we took care of business earlier! However, the atmosphere was fun. A few food trucks were already in place, and a band was already playing tunes. The sun was shining and all was well with the world.
I felt particularly at home in this crowd: it was not a “this is an elite event” looking type crowd: it looked more like my kind of folks – every day, hobby runners (even tho some were surely fast). Everyone looked relaxed and casual, not super serious… and they all looked ready to enjoy a beer post-race too 🙂
Course pic from race website here
The race got started pretty close to the 10AM start time. No complaints there. The road was fairly wide throughout, so I didn’t run into any issues with crowding, even though there was a good amount of people in the race. The first mile was largely in the industrial complex, however, after that it wound into a few local roads. There was one little hill before mile two, but other than that the course was relatively flat. Not anything to write home about, in terms of scenery, but pleasant local roads. We could not have asked for better weather! There was a water stop just after mile 2. At about mile 3, you pass the brewery and run by those who have already finished and are enjoying their bevy’s, so as a back-of-the-packer, I wished that I was done already, but it wasn’t that bad. You wound back into the industrial complex for the last .6 or so, so you knew exactly where you had to get to in order to finish. I surprised myself and passed two people in the last 0.2 – and then one of the men out-kicked me right back at the very finish. I surely shook his hand after and congratulated him on the sweet surge of speed to push past me!
I was elated at my finish time. Prior to the race, I told my BFF I’d be happy with under 12 minute miles. I haven’t been running for pace lately, since I’ve been doing distance for the upcoming half, and running at my mom’s pace. However, I was delighted to see 40:30 on the clock as I ran in – and I hoped my chip time squeaked under 40 when I saw that. Either way, it would be a winning pace for me, under 11’s even! When I saw my official time of 39:51 I was super happy. I had definitely run hard, so I was happy to see that rewarded. My speedy best friend finished just ahead of me, only 4 months out of having a c-section. She is a rock star, and I’m so happy to have her back racing with me. We were both quite happy with our finishes! Bonus: River Horse emailed us our results after, too!Oh! And swag! Instead of the usual t-shirt, this race gave away finisher pint glasses (with the first beer free in them!), and a super cute coaster. It was nice to have something different. T-shirts were available for purchase, but honestly, I’ll use the pint glass and coaster more.
Afterward, there were 4 food trucks lined up, beer for purchase, and a band playing. It was a beautiful morning, and everyone looked happy, with their kids and friends relaxing out on the lawn. I got a liiiiiittle bit more sun than I had expected, had a few beers, and ate some delicious cheese curds. A morning well-spent.
Overall, I was very happy with this race, and will add it to my list for next year as well. It was a fun morning, and hopefully next year can get some more friends on board to spend a nice morning with some racing, beer, food, and fun times. Honestly, this was my kind of race: a little less serious, a little more fun. Well done, River Horse 6k!