On Friday evening it was off to the home of your New England Patriots for a race at Gillette Stadium known as the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the Fifty. Last year the race night was absolutely stifling so this year temperatures in the 80’s made for ideal running conditions.
There is both a 5K and 10K option for this race with the 10K kicking off at 7PM while the 5K starts at 6PM. My running pals were tackling the 5K and I had signed up for the 10K but when one of them came down with some knee pain I decided to run both races in their honor.
The 5K takes runners on a quick loop of Gillette Stadium before heading back into the stadium to tackle the ramps all the way to the top tier of the stadium. Consider the run a sort of hill workout on steroids with a sea of running friends hitting the ramps along with you. A double edged sword of sorts runs through the mind as you make your way up one set of ramps as you know you will quickly be descending another set from the nosebleed section of the stadium onto the field. The 5K finishes right at the fifty yard line and New England Patriot star Nate Soldier was present high-fiving runners into the finish line.
I finished the 5K with a time of 24:44, good for 7:58/miles. Not too shabby for a course inclusive of climbing all those flights!
Having finished up the 5K, it was then time to make my way back to the starting line for the kickoff (see what I did there) of the 10K race. The 10K race features a much different course and leaves out the ramp ascents and descents and takes runners onto Route 1 briefly before then winding through mostly residential streets. Given the race is the Fourth of July weekend, neighbors use the course as a way to have little parties and cheer on runners and the support along the way mixed with the Americana feel really is perfect. After going through residential neighborhoods behind the stadium, runners then turn back into the stadium grounds on the Putnam Investments road and runners make a quick pass through the backside of the stadium before then finishing at the fifty yard line. Pat the Patriot is available for photos and runners can see themselves finishing the race on the Jumbotrons.
I finished the 10K with a time of 54:22, good for 8:45/miles. Knowing holiday cookouts were in the near future, running 9.3 miles the night before the 4th seemed like a good idea and I’m glad I did both races.
Post-race, a magnificent firework display took place and while we dined and refueled at CBS Scene’s patio we had a great view of the fireworks. A great night of running, food, drink, America and most importantly laughter with friends. This might become an annual tradition!