This past weekend, I participated in the September Run n’ Mate 5k in Washington, DC.
The Run n’ Mate 5k is a different kind of race. We want runners to socialize and we’ve created the perfect opportunity to do just that! We believe that exercise is not just about sweat and hard work. It’s about feeling good, being active, and enjoying the outdoors. Best of all, it’s about sharing those experiences in the company of others. We are a community of young, active adults who want to meet other people with similar interests. In a city that is often transient, Run n’ Mate is succeeding in breaking down barriers and building relationships.
When I saw that description, plus what race weekend was all about — I was all in! It sounded like a great event and a fun way to meet fellow runners.
So, what is race weekend about?
Well, Friday night is a happy hour racebib pickup where you pick up your packet at a local bar (this event’s was at Whitlow’s on Wilson in Arlington) and you get a free drink to enjoy while socializing with your fellow runners. Then Saturday morning is the race + raffle + events. And Saturday night is another event – this time was supposed to be a National’s game, but sadly the game was rained out.
So how did it all go down?
I headed to Whitlows via an afternoon run. I showed up around 4:30, picked up my packet and while I didn’t enjoy a drink (I still had to run ~1.5 miles home), I did get to meet some fellow runners. I met a group of runners from the state department who are all going to be leaving in April for a wide variety of countries – they had fascinating stories for sure. Although I didn’t stay long, I really enjoyed getting to chat with a few new people.
I hopped on my bike (okay first I had to have a stranger help me fix my bike since my chain was all out of whack from traveling cross country) and rode the 5 miles into DC to the race start. At the race start I met the amazing and sweet Erin, who had found my blog earlier this fall while looking for SF NWM race reviews (its one of my most popular posts). [Hi Erin, it was so fabulous to meet you!!!]
Erin and her husband were so sweet and wonderful, and Erin ran an additional 18 miles after the 5k (all the way back to her home!!!) as part of her marathon training for NWM Full this October! Crazy girl!
I saw a few of the people I had met the night before, but I didn’t get there too early, and had to leave to go to work early, so I didn’t get a chance to socialize too much. But it seemed like everyone was having a blast and was enjoying the event.
As for the race, I knew it was a fun race, and a small field (175 total men and women), so I wanted to go out and test my fitness and just do my best. I ended up running hard and steady the entire race, and finished 4th woman OA and 2nd in my AG (not too shabby) with a time of 22:12 (7:09 pace).
Less than a minute off my PR I am extremely happy with that time coming off of a 2 1/2 week running hiatus due to a badly sprained ankle and no speed work for weeks. Not too shabby.
As I said earlier, the event didn’t happen (luckily I can redeem my ticket next year — maybe when they’re playing the Twins?!), but I think it would’ve been a really fun event and would have been a great way to continue socializing and meeting fellow runners.
All in all, I thought the idea was great. My biggest qualm would have been that it was hard to figure out at the Friday happy hour who was with the race and who wasn’t – it would’ve been nice to have a racer designated area in the bar so you know who was there for the race. Additionally, I need to get more comfortable talking to people I don’t know when I’m by myself (and/or find people to go to these events with me…) as I have a hard time just striking up conversations with strangers. If someone approaches me, I’m totally okay but I just never quite know what to say…
Saturday morning was well executed and I even hear people started playing kickball. I would have loved to stay around, but I had to jet off to shower before heading over to my new job (at a running store!!!).
Have you ever signed up for a social race event before? What was your experience? Do you go to races alone? Or do you try to find a friend to sign up with you?