The Newark Cherry Blossom 10k was my second race of the year, first 10k of the year, and first race as a 25 year old!
This is actually last year’s logo. This year was #36.
Did you know that Newark, NJ actually has the most cherry blossoms in the country, more than in Washington DC? Every year they celebrate the blooming with a Cherry Blossom Festival, and this race is part of that. So, you can imagine how beautiful the course was. Due to our unseasonably warm weather this spring, all the trees were in full bloom. It was lovely.
I love this race. I would have signed up for it no matter what, but the fact that it was on my birthday definitely sweetened the deal. This was my third year running the race, but the first with Chris, and I was excited to show him why this is my favorite 10k. And since 10ks are my favorite distance, this is my favorite race of the year.
At first, we were really nervous about the weather. They had been predicting rain, and it was very overcast when we were driving to Newark, but soon as we parked and headed to pick up our race packets, it was a beautiful and warm sunshiney day.
The race was really inexpensive. It was $16 a person, so the packets were understandably light. We did get really nice and cute long sleeve tech shirts, but not much else. Again, for a $16 race, I’ll take it!
Check in was really easy. We were in and out in 5 minutes. There was a significant line for the bathroom, but I think there were extra port a potties outside. Having the luxury of a real bathroom was worth the wait.
After handling that little matter, we headed back to the car (parking was free in the deck at Clara Maas Hospital right across the street from the start line. It doesn’t get more convenient than that) to pin on our numbers. I ended up changing from my regular long sleeve tee to the tech tee since it was so hot that day. I really should have worn a tee shirt since temperatures hit about 75 degrees by the time the race started.
There were about 900 runners, so we headed to a very uncrowded starting line and waiting for a few minutes before they blew the horn to send us on our way.
The race was chipped, but I started my Garmin when we crossed the starting line anyway.
The course itself is very nice. It winds through Branch Brook park with one large hill and two smaller hills. It’s an out and almost back race. They have a few water stops (although the last two ran out of water). Mostly, this race is so great because of the wonderful people who volunteer and those who come out to watch and cheer. It’s a great community, and there were so many people yelling words of encouragement and just cheering and being enthusiastic. We both had huge smiles on our faces the entire race.
Chris and I had just completed an 11 miler on Friday, and we were still pretty sore on Sunday, so we decided to make this birthday race a fun one and run at a conversational pace. I didn’t pay too much attention to my Garmin, but we hovered right around 11 minute miles. It was nice to chat and take in the sunshine.
We picked it up for the last mile and came across the finish line huffing and puffing. It was a good effort and our official time was 1:09:11 (11:30/mile pace) . I thought the race was about .2 miles long though, and according to Garmin, we finished 10k in 1:07. Either way it was a good race, and we celebrated with bananas, oranges and bagels before stretching and heading out for a real breakfast.
Between the company, the weather and the crowds, I couldn’t have asked for a better race or a better birthday! Next up is the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon this Sunday, and they’re predicting rain. I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that that prediction changes during the week, but I’m a more than a little nervous!
Have you ever raced in the rain before? Is it miserable??