Each week offered a different course, announced a few days earlier on the Series’ well-designed website. The first two weeks were double out-and-backs along the paved park paths, with the order of the east and west sections reversed for variety in race #2.
The final two races were loops on different trails, including some dirt and bark chip sections. Again the order of the loops was switched up for race #4. Having run numerous races in Cook Park over the past several years, I really appreciated the mix of routes throughout the series. I also liked the fact that the distances (3.2 to 3.4 miles) were based on logical courses, and not forced into tidy 5Ks at the expense of a sensible route. All the courses were also very well-marked, with the aforementioned cones, and directional signs at key intersections.
Series scoring was based on time, with the top man and woman in each race receiving 100% and other finishers earning points based on the percentage of their time in relation to the winner. So finishing 2nd only one second behind the winner earned you more points than finishing 2nd a minute behind. This unique system forced you to keep the effort up, even if you were running by yourself. Coasting, and “settling” for a place could cost you valuable points. Only your top three results counted toward your final series place (which was lucky for me, since I missed the first race due to a scheduling conflict).
Though the turnout was somewhat modest (around 50 per race), understandable for a first-year event on weeknights, it was fun to see pretty much the same familiar and friendly faces at each race, and know you’d have your work cut out for you. Adding to the fun for me was the fact that I had a couple people very close to my pace to run with, and we exchanged places from race to race.
The weather varied quite a bit from week to week, with a couple warm and sunny days followed by a cold and windy downpour at the final race, which dampened my enthusiasm a little 😉
But the friendly atmosphere and great organization made up for the rain, and I would recommend future Go Race Series to anyone! At the conclusion of the final race, runners gathered for good food, series awards, and a raffle, capping off a great month of Go Beyond Racing.