The starting line of the 10km challenge
Since September of last year, Catherine and I have worked private lessons and have not been able to take part in a single one of the Hash runs. We had a great time last summer running with this group and met some great people. This 10km race was actually our first race with the Hashers last May. We invited some of our friends to run with us this year.
This year – being 30 weeks pregnant – Catherine was not able to run, so she planned on walking for a few kilometers, and then taking a taxi to the end. However if you know her well, you will know that she really wanted to run and was a little bummed that she couldn’t. In fact, last year she ran this race and came first out of the ladies – winning us a complimentary dinner date. The Hash House Harrier running group is not only for runners though, usually they mark a course for runners and a shorter one for people who want to walk. This 10km race went along the coastal road so that was not possible on this particular course.
The race started at ShiLaoRen beach, which is one the east side of town. Lucky for us, we live very close to this part of the coast, so it was quite convenient to get here. Across from the beach is a wonderful coffee shop, SPR. Our friends Zach and Heather brought us to this beach and coffee shop last year around this time, after we had just arrived in Qingdao. We had worked some extra lessons on Saturday, and they were located nearby, so we got to SPR early and both ordered a coffee as we waited for the race to start. (Catherine got a decaf, of course!)
Number 15, 16 and 17
Our friends Trent and Angie decided to join us for the run. They are training for the Beijing Half Marathon, which will take place on May 17. So send them some great wishes and luck as they run, hike, and climb along the wall to finish one of the most epic races in the world.
The running group goofing off before the run!
The weather on Saturday was not as great as it was last year. That was probably due to the fact the race was a month earlier this year than last year. We had the race sometime in the middle of May, whereas this year it was the second weekend of April. The pollution hasn’t quite cleared at this point of the year, leaving the sky white with brief moments of sunshine.
Waiting at the finish line
Since Catherine is “our” photographer, I didn’t think to take a camera with me, so above and below are just a few photos from the end of the run where Catherine was waiting for us. Since there were no walkers on this day, one of Catherine’s friends brought her to the finish line in her car. It turned out to be quite chilly too, so it as better that she didn’t walk all that way.
The run – 10km along the coast – should take an hour to run. I wasn’t trying to break any records and was just excited to go for a nice run with friends, so I ran the whole race with Trent and Angie. The coffee I had prior to the race kept me chatty and full of energy for the run. Now I feel sorry for them, I was probably really annoying and talked their ears off!
The benefit of running this race last year was that I knew the course quite well this time round. We therefore didn’t have to focus on the flour trail and could just run with confidence. Near the end of the race, I noticed that there was a slight change compared to last year. There were not supposed to be any “false” trails, so when the arrow said turn left, we did.
The race ended at a park next to the beach
I realized that we were only 100m from the finish line so I started into a full sprint to finish strong. The older guy that you see standing next to the path – in running clothes – is an amazing runner. At 60 years old, he finished this run in approximately 40 minutes. I can’t remember his exact time, but he beat all of us with tons of time to spare!
Trent and Angie were right behind me. It was nice to hear everyone clapping and cheering for us as we crossed the finish line. It was a great run! Although the weather didn’t turn out as well as we hoped, we had a great afternoon… Until….After being at the finish line for a few minutes and just catching our breaths, the “Hare” of the trail (the one that marked the course), was walking up to the finish line and shouting angrily at everyone that was there. Apparently, the course was changed a little bit at the end, cutting almost a kilometer off the race distance. He was outraged that someone changed the course, but the rest of us didn’t mind much. The girls who had “altered the course” did so thinking that they were helping make the course more clear since a car had parked over one of the arrows that had been drawn on the sidewalk, by the Hare, earlier that day. They in no way meant to ruin the race, or cause any trouble. When he found out who had changed the marking, he began to shout very loudly using unnecessary language, and acting absolutely foolishly. His outburst was totally uncalled for and made everyone else there feel very uncomfortable. For us, it ruined the jovial atmosphere of finish line and the afternoon was finished. We didn’t stay for the group celebration or the prizes. There was also a buffet dinner at the Hare’s restaurant that evening, that we decided not to attend. In fact, I am sure we won’t ever attend his restaurant after seeing what we saw….
On a positive note: We really enjoyed our run with friends and loved being out on a Saturday afternoon again. We have been working so hard over the last few months, and we look forward to much more downtime once baby comes. Weekends will be our relax time as the new – and improved – Esser family.