Monday, November 21, 2011

Living History Farms Race, 2011

What do you get when you combine 7,500 people, 7 miles, mud, variable weather and costumes? That’s right! The Living History Farms Off Road Race!! Off road meaning, well, off road. We ran through fields, timber, through creeks, under tunnels, around ponds and if you were feeling very ambitious, over hay bales! It was almost like running at Bill’s parents- which actually provided the best training for me.

Our friends, Joe and Jacqui and their girls came down so that Joe could run. It was at least his 3rd race. It was Bill’s second and it was my first! I ran with my friend, Tori. Jacqui brought the kids a little later so they could watch.

Costumes are a very big part of this race. Santa and his reindeer always get a pre-Christmas eve practice in. Brides run away all the time here. You’ve never seen faster turtles, Smurfs, trolls and more. Then there are always the “Wow! Does your dad know you’re wearing that?” part of the crowd. It’s usually men dressed in some form of women’s “clothing”. It’s just a tad uncomfortable to see. Finally, there are the minimal runners. By minimal, I mean, they can make their way through the crowds pretty quickly because, really, who’s going to enjoy watching that in front of them for seven miles?! Costumes don’t have to be elaborate, though. You can just roll out of bed and run in your pj’s if you wish. If you forget to take off your favorite house coat and slippers, no problem. The group of “Grandpa’s and Grandma’s” will offer you a warm welcome as you share their walker.

Isn’t this a race? Yes, yes it is. If you jockey for position at the start line. Be in the top 500 hundred if you want a chance at running the entire thing. From there, you can also actually hear the gun signal the start, or so I’m told. Tori and I were far enough back that we didn’t. We sort of heard a whoop come from the front of the crowd and stood there another 30 seconds before we even took a step forward. Finally the momentum reached our section and we all took our first tentative jogs only to have it stop about one hundred yards later. An audible sigh was heard while having to stop and wait for the crowd to funnel to a narrower running path.

Off we go again, to wind our way through the historical village and then make our way to the tunnel underpassing the interstate. Again, more slowing, stopping, walking. Somehow at the entrance of the tunnel there was plenty of room to run and also to yell. You must yell through the tunnel. It’s deafening. It’s endorphin releasing. It’s part of the race and you must do it. Really, you feel inhibited screaming in a tunnel, you in the whitey-tighties on the outside of your running tights?

From there, it’s a nice run to enjoy the scenery which is farmland and take in more costumes. You can make a game out of counting the number of gloves, hats, shirts, and kilts found discarded by overheated runners. * GASP!* Yes, Tori and I found a couple of kilts and well, we really can’t say anymore. We tried to keep our imaginations reigned in and focus our attention on the next creek crossing.

Most farms have a creek or two running through them. Creek, crick, or however you want to pronounce it, this farm is no different and you must cross it six or seven times to make your off-road race experience complete. How you get in and out is up to you. How much mud you leave behind or have on your behind is sort of up to you and your creek crossing skills (and your running buddies, and the level of the creek, and the current weather…). It makes the race absolutely fun. It could make it absolutely miserable if it were raining/snowing/freezing/windy/deep but in this year’s case it was none of those things so I’m sticking with my first statement.

And that’s pretty much the race. Run a little, walk a little, cross creeks a little, repeat. Finally, you see your cheering section.

Bill is in the green shirt.

Joe is in the white shirt at the very beginning. Keep watching for costume ideas.

The race is over and the re-fuel, recovery process begins. Water, chocolate milk, apple cider, donuts, brownies, beef stew- it’s all good (and warm)!Post Race Smiles



In case you didn’t pick up on it, the Living History Farms Race is fun!

All videos and pictures by Audrey. Commentary by Bill, Jacqui, Joe and kids.

1 comment:

  1. Bill's clip=12 seconds, Joe's clip=59 seconds, Mindy's clip=9 seconds! I think that means that Mindy ran the fastest!!


Thanks for reading. Kind comments are always welcomed!