Friday, May 29, 2009

ARR Summer Series Race #1

The Arizona RoadRacers put on a 5 event summer series every year and the first event was on May 23rd in Papago Park. It starts just north of the zoo parking lot. Plenty of parking.

This is a unique race because, while it is chipped timed, it has a staggared start. The oldest runners start first, then in the next 15 or so minutes runners are released to run based on age and gender. Don't worry kids, the youth don't start last.

The goal is to have different winners based on chip and gun times. How did that work out? The overall gun time winner was Sara Slattery (27)with a finish time of 29:16. Her chip time was 16:47. That means she started when the clock was at 12:29. She beat Andy Lawrence (58) by 22 seconds. She was also the overall chip finisher.

The challenge with this format is that between 11 and 17 minutes there's a boat load of folks starting. I started several minutes late due to the crowds. It looks like Andy may have started at about the right time. Not sure when Sara was supposed to start. I was in the 48 year old group and our start time was 12:39. It's really hard to start when you are supposed to, so I don't blame any runner for starting sooner than their race bib allows. I was about 2 minutes late starting, but I didn't want to get in the way of any runners that had a chance to place. I would think it would be really hard for race organizers to figure out the time for runners to start.

Anyway, the race overall was a fun one. It's mostly on the canal heading north past McDowell Road. You turn around and head back against the slower runners. I think the speedy runners probably felt like salmon swimming upstream. I always enjoy seeing the faster athletes run by on the return leg. In this race I also got to see the older runners race by.

At the end as you enter the park again there is a slight downhill which is fun to race down. I didn't notice it at the beginning of the run, but I sure needed it at the end.

ARR did a great job with the after race food. Bagels, chips, cookies, soda, water, peanut butter and cream cheese. They did a good job putting the spreadable stuff on a separate table. It sure did make the line go faster. Tee shirts are an option during the summer series. The theme is "Run like it's Hot".

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