On Sunday I ran in the Great Pumpkin Run 5k with Eric, our friend Sam, and her friend Ashley. We signed up as a team, The Pumpkin-Loving Pavement Pounders.
The race was at 9 am in Granite City, Illinois, which is just across the river from St. Louis, at Relleke Pumpkin Patch. We were supposed to meet at Sam's house before 7 am, but because I apparently can't read text messages, Eric and I were late. We made it, though, had a donut and some coffee (thanks, Sam!) and headed out.
The weather was a little chilly, but not too bad. We dressed in lots of orange and black and other runners did the same.
The pumpkin patch had a lot going on. Carnival rides, corn mazes, a petting zoo, a small flea market, an inflatable batting cage, food stalls...all kinds of stuff. In general, I don't like petting zoos because I'm pretty sure they're not in the animals' best interests, but we did meet a really friendly camel before the race.
The shirts were regular, long-sleeve, cotton shirts, which is kind of nice in a world of technical shirts. When technical shirts for races first became a thing, I loved them, but I quickly got over them. I rarely run in a t-shirt type shirt, preferring tanks or long sleeves depending on the weather, so those technical shirts just sit in my drawer. A regular t-shirt, on the other hand, will see lots of action in my wardrobe, because I still dress like I'm in college.
The race was well-organized. It was a little difficult to hear the announcements, but everything was straight-forward enough we could figure out what to do. All races are pretty much the same, even if you're carrying a pumpkin.
All four of us signed up for the "Tough Pumpkin" option, which required that we carry a small pumpkin for the duration of the race. In return, we got a Tough Pumpkin mason jar. I wasn't too sure about carrying a pumpkin when we signed up, but once I saw the small size, I wasn't worried. And then it turned out to be even easier than I would have ever imagined. I just tucked the pumpkin in at my elbow and trudged along.
The course itself was mostly on flat mud paths through fields, which was challenging at times. I almost lost a shoe in one particularly muddy part. It would have been at least partially my fault because I don't tie them all that tightly.
The last half mile of the course was through a corn maze. They blocked off all the wrong turns so it wasn't tricky or anything, but just being in the corn maze was interesting and made the end of the race fly by.
After the race, everyone got a pumpkin (a second one for those of us who already had one!) and a cup of apple cider. We had the people serving the cider give us ours in our mason jars. They seemed to think it was pretty neat that we wanted to use them. We were happy because we got more cider that way. We hung out for a little while, looked at the booths, and Eric and I ate a little bit before we headed back across the river.
There was also a "Hungry Pumpkin" option that involved eating a lot of pumpkin pie before and during the race, but we skipped that. I'm not so sure about eating during a run. Drinking beer - sure. Food... eh.
The race was timed, which seemed kind of odd given all the variables. I guess if you are a trail runner, it might mean something, but my time was almost meaningless to me.
The Great Pumpkin Run is a fun race and I'd do it again. I might consider the Hungry Pumpkin next time. Maybe.