I was “home” in Maine this past weekend for the the Fourth of July for a last minute trip. I had seen on twitter that Kara from One red head and lighthouses had signed up for a 10K on Saturday morning, the 38th Annual LLBean race on July 4th. Perfect timing ! I thought.
I started running while living in France and thus had never run a race in the US. So I signed up and on Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. my dad was wishing me luck as he was leaving to golf and I was off to Freeport, Maine.
Race packed pick up started at 6 a.m. We had received several emails about how important it was to pick up your bib Thursday or Friday because there would be a lot of people Saturday. So I arrived about 6:10 a.m. for a race start at 7:30. I was greeted by completely empty streets, empty parking lots and an empty LLBean store. For those of you who know Freeport, this is a rarity. So I snapped a couple pictures to capture the moment !
Bib pick up was a breeze and we also received a New Balance T shirt. I had time for a quick tour in LLBean (open 24/7) and to use the restrooms, and to check out the race map. A bit hillier than I am used to !
At 7 a;m. I met up with 3 other bloggers who were also running the race.
The race started promptly at 7:30 a.m.
With a 4:15 a.m. wake up, the time difference with France, and the hills I wanted to finish the race in under an hour. The race itself ended up being pretty typical of my recent 10Ks.
- KM 1 5:48
- KM 2 5:50
- KM 3: 6:15
- KM 4 5:31
- KM 5 5:57
- KM 6 6:21
- KM 7 : 5:50
- KM 8 5:56
- KM 9 : 5:44
- KM 10: 5:38
I finished in 59 ‘ 23 ”. I placed 806 / 1 242 and 44 / 68 in my age group. Not too bad !
A couple things I really liked :
- As you were coming to the finish line, they were announcing your name with some kind of encouragement. They must link your bib number in real time to a computer, but it was nicea hearing your name announced.
- They sang the National Anthem before kicking off the race. Not sure if this is something that is done at every US race ? or was this done for the Fourth of July ?
- I thought the food afterwards was great. With such an early wake up, I was dying for a big cup of coffee, and there it was ! with bagels, home made muffins and a ton of fruit.
A couple differences compared to what I see in France :
- They had announced that you could not run with a stroller. I still saw some people doing this but was unsure if this is something regular that goes on at races in the US ? I have never seen a stroller in a race in France.
- In France you get a ton of running clubs at races, with big groups of people wearing the club’s running shirt. I didn’t seem to see that here.
- I felt the runners skewed to an older crowd than what you would typically have in France (older = over 50).
The only think I didn’t like was the last 2 km of the race, which are run on Route 1, the major road that goes through Freeport. While there were cones to separate the runners from the traffic, and the traffic was at a standstill, I didn’t particularly enjoy running next to major traffic.
It is definitely a race I would do again, and loved doing my first US race in my home state.
Did you race this past weekend ?