Every year it seems as though the Finish at the Fifty is held on the hottest day of the summer and this year was no exception. Though in the past I have opted to run the 5K at 6PM followed by the 10K at 7PM, I am glad this year I chose to only run the 5K course as the heat was downright ridiculous this past week here in New England.
The Finish at the Fifty is held on the hallowed grounds the New England Patriots call home. There is always a significant size crowd for this race given the allure of finishing at the fifty yard line inside Gillette Stadium and this year’s heat didn’t seem to thin the crowd out much. This isn’t a race you are going to PR at; rather, the race is an experience run and one that is quite fun to enjoy.
My daughter, one of her friends and Mrs. Running Griffin also ran this year’s race and deserve a ton of credit for tackling the run with such oppressive temperatures present even at a 6PM start.
The first mile of the race takes runners through the parking lots around Gillette Stadium and the heat coming off the pavement is quite noticeable. There is a water stop just around the 1 mile mark and then again around the 1.5 mile mark before runners head into the stadium. Once runners make their way through the parking lot, the race then takes an uphill turn as runners run the ramps from the ground entrance of the stadium all the way to the top of the stadium. Once the ramps have been tackled up, a quick loop around the upper bowl of Gillette then takes runners down another set of ramps to head back down toward ground level. These downhill ramps can be a nice challenge, as well, given the gravity pulling on your knees while running them. After heading down a set of the ramps, a half loop around the lower bowl of the stadium then takes runners outside quickly before heading into a tunnel to run out onto the field and be greeted by throngs of fans cheering you into the finish line.
As runners are heading into the finish line at the fifty yard line, runners are shown on the Jumbotron and the Patriots cheerleaders and mascot welcome you into the finish line. One disappointment this year is that there was no New England Patriot player available at the finish line as in the past players like Nate Solder or Jerrod Mayo were there cheering you in and available for photos.
After the race, we hung around the parking lot of Gillette Stadium and tailgated with friends and enjoyed a great fireworks celebration once it was dark out.
Even with the heat and the sea of runners and walkers present, I ran a nice race and felt strong heading both up and down the ramps and finished with an overall time of 26:11, good for 8:26/miles.