Cherry Tree 10 Miler Race Report

Cherry Tree 10 Miler (and 3 person Relay): Prospect Park Park, Brooklyn, NY
2/19/12, 37 degrees, 10mph winds
under 1:50:00

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a race report. I haven’t felt compelled in quite some time and I haven’t felt like I have had the time to write a proper one. I was behind in training for my March 4th Half Marathon, so I decided to sign up for the Cherry Tree 10 mile (and 3 person relay) race, three loops of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park run by a local running club. Yeah, I suppose I could have just run in the park, but I guess I have money to waste, so I signed up.

Race packet pickup was inconvenient to get to the day before, so I went on race day at a high school over a mile away from the start line. I was glad I drove. I double parked in front, and picked up my bib and safety pins and headed back to the car. At the time, I didn’t think about it, but I didn’t get the souvenir that I was promised with race registration.

I drove and found a parking spot ok, which was good because parking around Prospect Park when there’s an event can be rather tough. I was deciding on whether or not to drop off gear to check, and I opted not to. That meant that I’d wear my race day gear and have to freeze before starting. I wore a short-sleeved shirt, and long-sleeved shirt, a hat and an ear band/ear warmers with capris.

And then was the trek to the start. I could have parked the car closer, but figured I could just warm up on the way there. I passed baggage check on the way to the start line. I moved towards the back, where I ran into someone from my running group. I didn’t have my running group’s singlet yet, and I didn’t know many members yet, but I was glad to see her. We talked briefly and then it was time to start.

There were two water stops along the route, so a 6 total times you could get water along the route. Each mile was clearly marked, which was really helpful for me to know when I should speed up (or slow down). There was a guy in my running group who I recognized and he ran in front of me. He ran faster than me, so when we got to the first mile marker and I looked down and I ran the first mile at 9:59, too fast. Oops. I slowed down because my goal was 11 min miles. There is a sloping hill in Prospect Park, and I decided to walk it three times. I didn’t want to waste the energy. I sped up on the downhill. And I ended up running around the same pace as several other people and it all evened up the same.

I finished the race under my goal time of 1:50 and at the end, was presented with water and Gatorade. That’s it. No bananas. No bagels. No pretzels. Ouch. I just ran 10 miles and Gatorade wasn’t going to cut it. The volunteers asked us to hang onto our cups for refills, which I did. I was glad, because by the time I went for the second round, they had run out. Ouch.

I was too annoyed to stretch, and there wasn’t a store anywhere close, so I couldn’t even buy anything to eat. I decided to head back to my car. On the way, I passed by a tarp with a ton of bags on them. No one was attending the bags. I passed by someone who said “more like baggage abandonment”. I was glad I left everything in my car. I headed to the outside world so I could get food.

I was so annoyed all day yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I was still annoyed. I re-read the confirmation and “important information” email that they sent us prior to the race. It didn’t include anything about post-race location for food, but the confirmation said that we were getting a souvenir. I emailed the race directors regarding the souvenir. They responded very quickly. Apparently, I was supposed to get a race hat. They extended an invitation to pick one up at their next membership meeting. I won’t be picking up the hat, I don’t want a hat that much. I didn’t bring up the food, but maybe they got the word that I had a few extra pounds to lose. Maybe they’re trying to help me on my diet. I am really glad that wasn’t my new running team that organized it, otherwise I’d be really bummed.

In short, I would never do that race again because:

Lack of communication between the directors and volunteers. I didn’t get my race souvenir, and I’m sure that means that other people also did not.
Packet pick-up over a mile away from the start. Really?
No food bagels/pretzels/bananas after the race. Why not? I read another race review from last year, and wondered if they had food at the same place as packet pick up. If that’s the case, then they should have told race participants. Or maybe not made them seek out sustenance after the race in a location one mile away. Bad call.
Not enough value for my race entry fee. I paid $25. (I could have paid $21 if I registered far enough in advance.) I don’t need a shirt, a hat, or other junk that I’ll throw away. I do need food after running 10 miles. I don’t need to walk a mile after running 10 to get it, if it was indeed at the high school.

Here are photos from the event. And more here.


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