This past Saturday, I ran the Newport 10K in Jersey City. Even though this race is in our backyard, it’s the first time I have run it. Right now, I’m not actively training for anything specific except to maintain base mileage before the start of fall marathon training so I am enjoying these weeks to run whatever mileage I feel like. The Newport 10K starts in Newport Town Square which is about 2.5 miles from our apartment. I used this as a warm-up run as I find that lately I struggle in the first couple of miles before finding my groove. As a side note, I never thought I would one of those people who runs extra miles before a race. I used to look at those runners and think woah, they ‘re committed (and nuts!). Ha, now I’m one of those people – not sure about committed though but definitely nuts.
There was no pre-race bib pickup so I knew I needed to leave enough time in the morning. The race website and emails did advise against bringing a bag to the start area but since I knew I would want to take an Uber back and it was cooler when I left the house, I ran with my running backpack (by the way, I have the Deuter Speedlite 15 and I love it!) to make sure I had a clean shirt and bottle of water with Nuun for after the race. All of the information about the race said that bags would need to be left in an off site location but it didn’t mention that you could not get into the area where bib and t-shirt pickup is with a bag. That whole area was completely fenced off with police and I was directed to bag check first to drop off my bag before I was allowed in the area to pick up my bib. This is counterintuitive as I didn’t have a number to pin to my bag and the volunteers at the bag check tent needed to write my name on a sticker that was then pinned to my bag. Since I didn’t have my bag anymore, I didn’t pick up my t-shirt in advance of the start. I quickly grabbed my bib and then made my way to the start with a couple of minutes to spare.
There were signs to line up based on pace. I wasn’t sure what to expect with pacing so I just lined up with the 9:00 min/mile area which was likely conservative but I also didn’t want to push my way up further. The first mile or so was extremely crowded and I spent a bit of time dodging and weaving through the crowds. I’m familiar with Jersey City but it was still nice to run through the different neighborhoods, some of which I haven’t explored before. The weather was really humid and parts of the course were extremely windy. There were also potholes along most of the route. You’re not really supposed to run looking down but I did for a good part of it to avoid the potholes and puddles. I was extremely worried about turning my ankle or tripping which I’m known to do! The last mile of the race was along the gorgeous Hudson River waterfront. I don’t know my official splits and my watch was slightly off due to the weaving and it looks like some of the buildings affected GPS signal in the last mile (my watch recorded a 6:30 last mile which is definitely wrong), however, I think I ran a fairly consistent race of roughly 8:30-8:50 minute miles. It definitely helped that I warmed up in advance. My official chip time is 55:02; 8:51 min/mile. Towards the end I thought I may have been close to a PR (which would have been awesome given the lack of speed work in the last 1.5 years), but it turns out I’m about two minutes off – hey, not terrible though!
After the grabbing a cup of water at the finish, I wanted to pick up my bag first before getting my shirt since it was in the direction of home. However, the police made it clear that I couldn’t go back in to get my shirt if I had my bag so I opted to not get it. It was annoying that to exit the area after picking up my bag, I had to cut through the course. While it wasn’t a huge deal to do that I’m always afraid of getting in the way of runners especially so near the finish line.
And my last rant about this race was that while the race was timed in both clock and chip times, ranking was done based on clock time. I’m used to races that pick either clock or chip time and by default ranking would be done off of that. If chip time is available and there is over 1,500 runners, I would think ranking on chip time would make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the runner who is gunning for prize money but I am gunning for self-motivation and accomplishment. It appears that based off of clock time, my placing is lower than that of chip time and hey, every place matters even when you’re the average runner!
Overall, I’m glad I ran this race but will it do it again next year? Not sure… hopefully some of the logistical challenges of bag check and timing gets worked out.