For those who have wondered whether something serious had happened to me given the absence of new posts recently, the answer is no, I am still alive and kicking. Rather, I have been preoccupied with babysitting my parents for a month (their first trip to continental Europe), 10 days vacation in France (Normandy and Paris) and the inevitable catching up which is required when one returns from two weeks vacation. While I have not had time to write a post, I thought I would provide a brief update on my experience yesterday morning as it is in keeping with my previous posts.
Early last week, I was approached by a colleague asking if I would be interested in purchasing a registration for the Eremitageløbet, a 13.3K (8 mile) road race held in the Deer Park the second Sunday of October. I had heard about the race previously and had expressed an interest in running but had been unable to register as it is a very popular race given its distance and picturesque location. Furthermore, participants from previous years have first priority for purchasing registration and numerous families come from across Denmark for the race to enjoy the fall foliage and for a de facto annual family reunion.
As such an opportunity does not arise so often, I jumped on the chance (despite not having run much in the last month) and found myself shivering on a narrow dirt track yesterday morning along with 17,000 (!) other participants in the middle of a forest on the western fringes of the Deer Park.
Lest you feel sorry for me, the weather was absolutely perfect for a road race with the cool temperatures (10C) counteracted by the bright morning sun glistening off the trees. The race was an eminently enjoyable, if not crowded, event. The registration I had purchased was from a middle-aged woman. As your starting number is based on your time from the previous year, I found myself starting around the 10,500 mark. I finished the race around the 3,000 mark (top 20%), meaning I passed some 7,500 runners over the course of 13.3K (and was passed by more than a few myself).
The most suprising thing about the race was the diversity of people running. Despite the relatively long distance, there were hundreds of kids between 10-12, not to mention loads of people in their 60s and 70s. Everyone was out for a good time and the superb weather made the whole event a more festive affair than more formal road races.
Another crazy thing was that there was no baggage drop-off! While most races have a highly organized, secure location for you to deposit your clothes and other valuable, people simply left their goods hanging on trees and fences around the start/finish line. Sure enough, my jacket, pants and shirt were still there when I returned. Only in Denmark…
Although I wasn’t able to take a camera along, I have pilfered a few pictures from the web to give you a sense of what the atmosphere was like. All in all, a great morning…