When you get an email from a race director noting you can run both a 5K and a 10K race if you are wired like me you of course sign up immediately. Temperature in the 90s? No worries. Running ramps to the top of Gillette Stadium? Let’s do it. Knowing you have a 5 miler the next morning? No problem. (Right about now you might be realizing that my wiring might be a little different than most!)
Last night was the Finish at the 50 at the home of the six time Super Bowl winning New England Patriots! Having done this race before, I knew what I signed up for and the heat was certainly an added obstacle to the race just as it has been in previous years, as well.
First up was the 5K race that kicked off at 6:30 PM. The race course was changed a bit and runners started inside of Gillette Stadium. After a brief stretch within the stadium, runners then made their way out to the parking lots where the sun was beating down on the hot asphalt and made for some warm temperatures out on the course. The route has a little uphill in the second mile as runners make their way back into the stadium. Once inside the stadium, runners then make their way up the ramps leading from the ground level all the way up to the top of the stadium. With the heat and hilly climbs, this stretch is a challenge and not for the faint of heart. Once finished on the uphill climb, runners than run along the top bowl of the stadium before then running down a separate set of ramps from the top of the stadium all the way down to the ground level. Here, the knees definitely feel the downhill pull and this ramp running certainly takes its toll. After running all the way down the ramp, runners exit the stadium for a brief additional stretch through the parking lot before turning back into the stadium for a quick sprint through the tunnel and onto the field the Patriots call home. Runners sprint toward the finish line at the fifty yard line where Pat the Patriot and the New England Patriots cheerleaders cheer runners in. I finished the 5K with a time of 27:59, good for 8:58/miles.
After a quick bottle of water, it was then back to the starting line area to next tackle the 10K race which kicked off at 7:30 PM. The 10K started at the same spot and the first mile of the race was the same. Once at the Mile 1 marker, runners then turned left and made their way out onto Route 1, a main road just outside the stadium. After a short stretch on the busy Route 1, runners then made their way into more residential side streets of Foxboro. There was a good contingent of fans out on the route cheering runners along, handing out water and hosing off runners with cool water as even at 7:30 the heat was still quite strong. For most of the 10K course up until around the Mile 4 marker you felt like you were climbing and some of the hills mixed with the heat could really be felt in the legs. (Running a 5K just prior to this race also probably didn’t help, haha) The final mile of the race started on Fidelity Way, a back road leading runners back into the stadium area and runners made a quick run into the parking lot area and then back into the stadium through the same tunnel onto the field and finishing up the race at the fifty yard line. Thankfully, there was a lot of water on the course and the fans helping hose off runners made a really big difference in the 10K and made for an overall nice race. Was able to shave some time off the 5K pace run an hour before and finished with a time of 54:44, good for 8:49/miles.
9.3 miles done on a very hot July night called for then a bit of relaxation. A great fireworks display took place at Patriot Place that evening the folding chair, water, sandwich and snacks helped refuel prior to the fireworks. What a great night!