The past week I had a bug up my butt to do a little racing. This was a cut back week of training for the Las Vegas Marathon so I planned to run between 12 and 14 miles.
A random search for races, hoping to find a Half Marathon, helped me discover the All Community Event’s hosted “Hot Cider Hustle” 8 mile race.
Yeah, I get it. Same day as RAM’s Hot Chocolate 15K. Instead of chocolate, this race offered hot cider and caramel apples. I think the similarities end here. Just the name. A very different race experience from what I am reading about the Hot Chocolate race around the interwebs.
I signed up for the Hot Cider Hustle on Wednesday (a few days before the race).
The race is located in Wheaton within the Danada Forest Preserve. I’ve raced in Danada before and knew what to expect course-wise. It’s a beautiful place to run and I did a 10k there a couple years ago. You can see pictures from the course here, thanks to Crysta @ Elginista.
Less than an hour before the start of the race, I:
- parked 5 minutes away
- picked up my race packet
- sat in my car for 10 minutes staying warm before walking to the start after getting my bib
That ease and convenience? Glorious.
My strategy starting the race was to treat those 8 miles as a tempo run sandwiched between a warm up and cool down to get my mileage completed. I was shooting for a pace of 8:50. The first mile was SLOW, almost 9:30. The beginning 1/2 mile was on rough grass and I couldn’t settle into my groove. Each split following was solidly on pace. Overall race time: 1:11:31, 8:56 pace. Fine by me.
Lovely! Crushed limestone through wooded areas or prairie terrain. My only gripe about the course: the first .50 mile and the final .25 of the race you are running on choppy, uneven grass.
Piece of cake, close parking, free.
Long Sleeve Event Tech Shirt, black, standard fit with gender specific sizes and a souvenir mug.
No big parties here. Lots of families gathered which was cute. They had five tables: hot cider, water, popcorn, caramel apples ( packaged Taffy Apple, not as glorious as THIS one) and chocolate chip cookies. I would have loved to see some traditional post race food in the mix too (read: bananas). But it was a fun theme. I did take a package of chocolate chip cookies for the road. Somewhere between the finish line and the car I dropped my beloved cookies! Dang.
Reasonable, I think I paid $40 just days before the race.
If you are looking for a moderate race distance, small racing field (505 finishers), laid back experience, I recommend this race!