The 2014 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run was a great racing experience. The race course takes runners on a tour of the national mall and reverberates with historical importance and patriotic emotion. This is a bucket list race and a worthy rite of spring for runners.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: The race begins on the Washington Monument grounds. Most runners take the Metro Service to the Smithsonian Mall stop. Some walk to the race from satellite locations or nearby hotels. There were hundreds of porta-potties on-site, and finding the starting corrals was very easy. Registration was done by lottery months before race day. Runners picked up their bibs and shirts before race day at the Health Expo held in the National Building Museum on April 4th and 5th.
Race Course: The race course was flat and fast. The course crosses the Tidal Basin, loops around Memorial Bridge, heads down Rock Creek Parkway and comes back to Independence Ave on its way to the tip of Hain’s Point. From the point it is about two miles back to the Washington Monument and the finish line. There are a few very minor hills, but nothing over 30 feet in elevation. The toughest part of the course was running into the wind at mile 9 and then cresting a slight hill approaching the finish. The 17,000+ runners were seeded by time at the start of the race to avoid overcrowding and runner traffic.
Refreshments: Heat blankets, bananas, granola mix, and water were available for runners after finishing the race. Medals were awarded to runners who ordered them as part of their race package. Each race bib was personalized with the runner’s first name, so volunteers congratulated runners by name, a nice touch.
Awards and Results: I was impressed with the results. Each runner had a B-Tag on their bib which is used to record their progress and finish time as they pass over timing mats along the course. Runners saw clocks at every mile, and splits were recorded in real-time for anyone who wanted to follow them using the RaceJoy smartphone app. After the race, runners could analyze their results using the info-graphic tools offered by RunPix. Awards went to the top 25 male and female runners and 5 deep in each age group. Age group awards are mailed out to the winners after race day.
Overall Experience: The 2014 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler served as the host of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Ten Mile Championships. The race really had everything you’d want to find in a big race experience: fast times, beautiful weather, and the crown jewel of the nation’s parks.
Did you run this race? Would you recommend it? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.