midnight owl 15k

Midnight Owl 15K Run
North Conway, NH
August 9, 2014

The Midnight Owl 15K is a prediction run. Runners start at various times, and the winner is the first person to cross the line after midnight. The runners are not allowed to wear any timing devices. Reflective vests and headlamps are required for this late night romp through the gently rolling hills of northern New Hampshire.

Parking/Facilities/Registration: Race registration was under the lights at Schouler Park in the quaint setting of North Conway Village. The race volunteers easily handled the number pick-up and t-shirt distribution. The staggered starting times of the Midnight Owl 15K prevented the sudden rush of last-minute runners that can make registration difficult at other races. Plenty of parking was available in Schouler Park and at a nearby hotel. The 5 or 6 porta-johns easily accommodated the 80+ runners.

Race Course: Runners covered a gently rolling 15 Kilometers from Schouler Park to Ham Ice Arena. The roads were in decent shape, the traffic was light, and there were plenty of race volunteers and police officers to keep runners moving in the right direction. The route was well-marked with mile marker signs and arrows at each turn. Water and Gatorade was available at 2.5, 5, and 7.5 miles.

Refreshments: There were watermelon slices, bottled water, donuts, and lots of great tasting cookies at the finish area. One thing I would love to see for next year is a coffee urn at the start. Some of us were up past our bedtime before the race even began.

Awards and Results: The Midnight Owl 15K race shirt is an awesome sleeveless tech tee in black with the race logo on the front. It will definitely be part of my summer training rotation. Each finisher earned a Midnight Owl 15K race medal in the form of a bottle opener. The first 5 finishers after midnight received some nice handmade hot plates from Silver Moon Mosaics. There were also some nice awards for the youngest (owlet), oldest (wisest), most traveled (migration), and first to register (early bird). There were no individual results for runners, but the race wasn’t really about running fast, it was about finishing at midnight.

Overall Experience: This was a fun race and a really interesting concept. This race was good for me for a few different reasons. First, it showed me that races can be run for fun and not just fierce and determined competition. Second, I learned the value of running with restraint. I always go out too fast, and push hard. And, lastly, I learned the value in running with someone else. The miles fly by when you are running comfortably and enjoying the company of others.

Pacing was an interesting challenge. The whole race is about running your predicted pace for the entire 15K. There’s no quick start or finishing kick. There’s no fear of being caught, and no incentive to catching others. And, the dark roads and cool temperatures play games with your pacing instincts. As you approach other runners, you think “Am I too fast? Are they too slow? Do they look like they know what they’re doing?”

If you’re looking for an interesting race experience, look no further. Be ready to pace yourself and enjoy the miles. I finished at 11:59:36 pm. If only I’d shown just a bit more restraint…

Did YOU run this race? Leave your comments and thoughts below. Your thoughts and comments really help!

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Thoughts?