|Rowley's Red Barn, HQ for the race.
Official Time: 50:59
Placement: 7th overall, 3rd in the 50- 54 age division
Race Website: Here
Weather: Mid 40's, light breeze from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural year.
|Slight downhill here. Felt surprisingly good
|A little bit back to reality here. Holding a steady pace
|Kind of a grind of a hill. 75 feet. Was just tough running
|Back at it. Wish the whole race was like this.
|Feeling it now. Definitely lactate overloaded
|Kind of a shuffle here. Trying hard. Again, uphill
|Giving it all I have for the final sprint
|Total Miles: 6:12 - 50:59
|Apple Orchards in Santaquin, UT
A few weeks ago I decided to sign up for the Apple Harvest run put on by OnHillEvents. I didn't have any other races on my calendar and it was something new. The drive was a bit much and usually I don't drive for an hour for a 10K race, but I decided this race was worth doing.
This race billed itself as a run around the perimeter of a working apple orchard. It would be a bit of a cross country race with the majority of the race on dirt road, jeep trail or gravel. There were only a handful of spots on actual pavement.
The race was held in Santaquin Utah, about an hour south drive from where I live. In my opinion, it is about the last town you hit on your way towards Southern Utah for quite some time. The race's headquarters was Rowley's Red Barn, an agri-tourism type of business that grows the apples.
I haven't actually stopped in Santaquin before -- on my way to Las Vegas I've simply driven by it or have gotten gas there. Exiting the freeway, I was greeted with an older town with rough roads, wide streets and old timey businesses. You could tell there was a mix of old and new --- with clusters of new houses lining the mountainside in the distance.
It was a beautiful morning and with an 8 AM start time, I had some time to run a bit and figure out how the course was going to work and whether I wanted to use a heavier shoe. I also wanted to get a sense as to how well the course was marked, as I noticed there were quite a few turns on the course (spoiler alert: it was well marked).
The race started about 5 minutes late and I was off.
The race, for the 10K, is two laps around the perimeter of the orchard. The course is primarily flat but the last mile is a very slow grind up hill.
This isn't a road race so I wasn't expecting a great time. You just don't get as much of a bounce from dirt trail running versus pavement. I also didn't have much of an idea on how the race worked and what I was in for.
The trail was try and wide enough for the 75 of us to establish our own paces without blocking anyone. The first mile is the fastest with a mild downhill start. Despite having a pretty heavy training week I felt pretty good and went with it. I felt in control and relaxed.
|The final turn back to the start.
I had sort of measured up the competition before I started running and I knew I was settling for at least second place in my age group. Another runner who had soundly beat me at the PC2PG was running the 10K. Also, another runner who appeared to be in my age group sped off. I clearly wasn't going to catch either one of them.
Fortunately there weren't many other runners ahead of me. A couple of younger men and a few women.
|Start of the 2nd loop
The first mile was so much fun and I blasted through a 7:51. The scenery was simply amazing as I darted over puddles of mud and leaped over rivets in the trail to find the optimal spot to run. The weather was perfect.
At this point most of the lead pack had dropped me and I suddenly found myself running alone. I was a bit worried about this because I didn't really know the course -- and it involved a lot of turns. I worked hard to keep up but the nearest person had easily put on a quarter mile on me by the time I hit mile 2.
|Actual segment of the course.
The course was definitely different at the mile 2 marker. Gone were the apples trees and I was running along the backend of the property along a jeep trail. This part seemed to go on for an eternity and it was beautiful running with a view of a mountain on my left but there was no one around me.
Eventually I turned and I was greeted with a long paved road (it wasn't well maintained however) and it was a very slow grind up hill. I lost a lot of momentum here, knowing that I still had 3.5 more miles to go. Also, I wasn't chasing anyone and no one was behind me.
Finally I got up the hill and started to work my way around a processing plant and ultimately back to the starting line. The directions were to basically run through the starting line again and then do the course again.
My spirits were buoyed with the fact that I now knew my way around the course and I knew what I was up against for the second half. Unfortunately just as I was approaching the starting line, the 5K started. Normally I wouldn't have conflicted with it but with our 5 minute delay and me running a 25:19 for the first loop, I ran smack into them.
I forgot to check the distance, but I didn't think the first loop was quite a 5K but somewhere around 3.06 miles.
It wasn't that awful and being that the race was fairly small (about 75 10K runners and about double that for the 5K) I managed to step over the starting line and duck back out again.
It was actually invigorating running with the 5K runners. I got a renewed sense of urgency running with them and finally had company. I quickly found several runners running my pace and my pace improved as did my motivation.
I once again, hit the first mile of the second loop in 7:51. Could I possibly negative split?
I wound up passing many 5K runners and settled into the hunt with a few others. I did manage to catch one additional 10K runner but clearly the first 4 miles of the race had worn me out.
I was hurting pretty bad but I hung on and pushed as hard as I could for the final mile. I was actually shocked by a disappointing 9 minute mile. But the final hill and the undulating terrain had worn me out.
I crossed the finish line in 50:59. I was actually pleased with my overall time. The course wasn't easy but I had predicted that I'd finish over 52 minutes.
The two 50-54 year olds definitely beat me (by over 5 minutes) but they had come in the top 3 overall for the race. So by proxy I won my age group (not really though). I was also the 7th overall finisher -- again a small race, but I'll take my victories any way I can.
After recovering, I managed to get something to drink and socialize. The finisher's medal and age group awards were definitely an upgrade. For a 10K, I was shocked with the quality and design.
Post race refreshments included apple slices (of course), cider, ice cream sandwiches, and water / Powerade. Course support was ample with a pair of water stops for each loop around the course.
I loved this course. It was so peaceful and scenic and while I generally dislike doing multiple loops of the same course, this one wasn't a bore. In fact, I would've liked to have down another loop just as a cooldown. But I was pretty spent after the race.
This race has a sister race in the spring when the apple blossoms start to come out. I am penciling in a race date for that one as well.
10/01: 2022 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
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10/22: 2022 Haunted Emigration Canyon 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
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01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)