The official name is really the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5k. Longest name ever for a short race.
Like I said earlier, the trip to Bethlehem was awesome and worth it. I’m really glad we went. It almost felt like a chore at first, but it ended up being such a wonderful weekend.
Race morning was a little weird. I’ve never done a race that started so late. The race didn’t kick off until 10:30, mostly because our bibs had free beer tickets attached to them and you can’t legally drink before 11am apparently? That’s what others said, but who knows. All I know is we spent a lot of time milling about before the race. We got there like two hours early to make sure we got decent parking since there was over 3000 people racing.
The race was at the fantastic and famous Steelstacks, which were super awesome and such a cool way to preserve what would otherwise be a crumbling eyesore.
The swag was excellent as well. Two free beers, a tech wick shirt, beer steins and gingerbread cookie medals.
The race was meant to have four corrals, but they weren’t clearly defined. Pace bunnies with signs would have been helpful. Instead the DJ just shouted out rough directions on where to be based loosely on your pace. We seeded ourselves at the back of corral two which was the 7-9 minute per mile corral. I thought that seemed lofty, but what the hell.
The first corral took off about a minute or two late, but that’s not a huge deal. Our corral was shepherded over the start line a couple of minutes later. We took off weaving and dodging, fighting our way through the first quarter mile. I mean really, walkers, you’re supposed to be in corral four. Follow directions, gah!
Thankfully we hit the Fahy Bridge after about the first quarter mile and the slow grinding incline helped thin out the herd. After that we saw our first race course entertainment. They had people dressed in German Oktoberfest type garb dancing along the course. Very fun! That entertainment was short lived though, right at the base of a huge hill that wound around the edge of Moravian College. We hit our first mile marker about halfway up this second hill. I will say though, I’ve run my fair share of hilly races where you only ever seem to go uphill. This race had lovely downhill stretches for every uphill they threw at us. Super rolling course the whole time. The only real flat stretch was in and out of the Steelstacks park.
Mile two was more rolling hills and more on course entertainment. We didn’t hit the turn around until about mile 1.8-something and at that point I knew the course would run long.
Despite everything with the hills, the late start, the night of eating and drinking leading up to the race, my injury; we ended up running negative splits. I’m so happy about that! And I clocked a 9:16/mile pace. I was dying by the end, but I am really happy for the push on my pace. I really needed that. My splits were 9:27, 9:26, 9:11, and 8:14 respectively and I crossed the finish line hauling at a lung crushing 5:45.
That last mile was tough. Another hard run up the other side of the Fahy Bridge before heading back down to the Steelstacks. I thought that last half mile would never end, especially after seeing the 3.1 mile tick by on my watch and not seeing the finish line yet.
I was ecstatic crossing the finish line, albeit wasted. I shouldn’t have been, but considering my last race was IronGirl Syracuse the first weekend in August and I’ve been barely running thanks to my torn up legs, I’m happy with it.
The race overall was really great. Awesome location, challenging course but with lots of changing scenery so it was never boring. The atmosphere was great and I’m sad we couldn’t stick around for our free beers. The only complaints I had were the bathroom lines and the line for water and food after the race. Only the two indoor bathrooms were open and for some reason only 1/3 of the stalls in the women’s side were open in the main bathroom. The line had to be at least 100+ people deep. It was insane, they needed extra porta potties. And they only had one, single line for water, food, and medals afterwards, which was a shitshow. They sent out an email addressing both of those things and offering to have people come redeem their free beer tickets this upcoming weekend at another festival should you have not gotten to last weekend because of the line situations. So at least they were aware of the issues so they can fix them for next year. Inaugural races, you can always expect a glitch or two, but it was not enough to distract from the race and the atmosphere itself, so really no complaints here.
I give this race two thumbs up. Rob and I really want to return to Bethlehem and stay for a full weekend, not just a whirlwind night. Next year we’re hoping to come back for the Runner’s World Festival, which happens to be the same weekend at Empire State Half Marathon.
Ever been to Bethlehem? If not, I better see you at Runner’s World next fall!
Best Medal you ever got?