The 3rd annual River to Ridge Races in Janesville, WI were hilly and friendly. There was a half marathon, 10k, and 5k race. All started on time. Each race began with the runners lining up at the start, and the race director, Bruce Thoms, grabbing the loud speaker and yelling, "Gooooo!"
Each route wove through Riverside Park, a paved street, along the river, lined with gigantic willow tress. Because the route was so beautiful, I opted for no music, and just took in the scenery. Once out of the park, the routes ran along country roads and through neighborhoods.
Mile one was fairly flat. After that the hills come and they continue to roll. The largest is about a half mile long up hill. This large hill begins and ends in mile 2 of the 10k race. After the big hill, the 10 k turns around and runs down that hill, heading back to the finish.
The race was marked by volunteers with bright orange shirts and cones. As this race continues to attract more runners, there will need to be more markings so runners don't get lost along the course.
Along the hill there were volunteers and fans cheering. One of my most memorable moments, was running up hill and reading the following signs in this order: Conquer this hill! You Rock! Don't Suck! (Loved it.)
This is an out and back course. As runners passed by each other, they cheered and encouraged each other. This is, by far, one of the most friendly races I've been a part of.
As you finish the race, they cheer, announce your name, hand you a finishers medal, and a bottle of water.
Post race, had a great spread of food, including chips, cookies, snack bags, protein bars, chocolate milk, and more, under the pavilion. Many runners stretched along the river and waited for the award ceremony to start.
Race director, Bruce Thoms, made sure that top three overall male and female winners for each race received a trophy, along with each top three male and female age group winners. The race director was very present, and helped make sure the race went smoothly, and each runner got what they needed.
Overall, this race is marked by a beautiful course, rolling hills, and a friendly environment.