On Saturday evening, it was off to Medway, Massachusetts for the Medway Police Chase 5K. Though I have taken part in a few different road races in support of local police departments, I can honestly say that the Medway Police Chase 5K was something quite unique given the race kicked off at 9PM. I have run a few different night runs but they usually are few and far between and taking part in a police chase under the cover of darkness was quite exciting. The whole idea of going the day knowing you have a race at 9PM is also an interesting runner’s nuance to try and work through.
The race course took runners on closed roads throughout Medway and the red and blue lights of the police cruisers, motorcycles and other vehicles highlighted the race course that in some parts was otherwise pitch black. There were some portable lights along the way illuminating corners and runners were provided with glowsticks to wear along the race course should they so choose while I rocked my neon Thirsty Irish Runners shirt, a neon hat and a Glimmer Gear bracelet.
Running in the dark is always interesting given the sensory differences coupled with the fact that you might not be able to see obstructions in the road. Because part of the course was through residential roads, there were sections that were illuminated a bit but there were some stretches that were completely dark. The Medway Police did a great job shutting down the roads and patrolling the course and were appreciative of all the runners out on the course supporting the Medway Police Association. The overall course was quite hilly with a healthy amount of rolling hills mixed in throughout the course. It definitely felt as though you were climbing for most of the race but thankfully right at the end of the race was a nice downhill heading into the finish.
The starting line was packed with flashing lights but quickly I broke from the pack and made my way onto the route. Despite the late starting time, I felt strong on the course and was running pretty strong through the first two miles. A couple of later uphills kept the legs honest and I continued to run strong in the final mile. I ended up finishing the Medway Police Chase 5K in 10th place overall with a time of 24:30, good for 7:53/miles.
A couple of quick modifications to this first annual race will help this race grow even better. Even though the race was at 9PM, a water stop was needed on the course. It was still warm out on the course, not scorching, but one water stop on a 5K course (even in the dark) is pretty much a standard for a 5K race. The other thing that seemed off was the price of tee-shirts. Free tees were provided to the first 100 registered runners and then were being sold for $25 to those looking for a shirt on race day. With plenty of extra shirts, charging $25 for a shirt when the day-of registration was $25 would have brought the price for the 5K to $50 if you wanted a shirt. A more reasonable price or simply giving them away would have been a better option.
The Medway Police Chase 5K was a really nice inaugural race and I hope they do this one again. A great idea in terms of differentiating against other 5Ks coupled with a nice and challenging course made this race a good option for future years, as well.