On New Year’s Day, Dave and I headed up to Guilford, CT, located about 15 miles north of New Haven, for the 28th running of the Frosty 5K. Sponsored by the Guilford Rotary Club, this annual event attracts a large group of runners (727 total, based off of the 2013 results) despite the chilly New England temperatures. Both of us ran the race last year, but I opted out in favor of spectating this time around. I did run around and capture a few iPhone pictures of Dave running, so I was able to get a mini-workout in. We did both note that last year’s race was completely different than this years – the registration area, the start/finish area and the course were nothing like they were in 2012. It’s unclear if the changes are here to stay, so we’ll have to wait until 2014. Dave was nice enough to write up the following review from his experience as a runner. I added in some things I noted as well.
We arrived in Guilford at about 10:15 for the Frosty 5K, our second year running this race New Years Day. It’s a fun, scenic, no frills race. We
had about 45 minutes, which was just the right amount of time to find parking, get to the community center for packet pickup, and back to the
start. The race started next to the Town Green, which made for a nice setting, but also meant no centralized parking. There was ample street
parking, but just be prepared to leave your gear in the car and have a warm-up jog to the community center or starting line. The town community center was the location for packet pick-up, and having an inside location to stay warm was great.
Kristen’s note: I registered Dave while he parked the car, since he hadn’t opted to sign up online beforehand. Day-of registration was relatively easy – the line moved fast enough. They used B-Tags for the timing chip. He didn’t get a shirt, though, which I thought was a bummer given that he paid $25. As a former race director, I know the perils of ordering too many shirts but ordering 30-50 more won’t break the bank. Both Dave and I used the facilities, which were the restrooms inside the Community Center (4 stalls). The line moved pretty quickly for the women but they’re going to run into issues once the race grows to over 1000 participants.
Packet pick up and Registration
This race isn’t that big (750 runners this year), but it was a good size to have good competition. There was a strong contingent of high school cross country runners that kept up a very fast pace. The course is scenic and flat, except for one hill over the Amtrak line, so the biggest concern is the weather. Fortunately, we had nice running weather – partly cloudy, 40 degrees with a 5-10 mph wind that was with us for the first half and against us the way in.
Starting area around the Town Green
The start was not very congested, with a very nice singing of the national anthem. I was pretty close to the start and was running at my desired pace within 100 yards. That’s one of the best things about smaller races! The first 1.2 miles is a straight, flat shot to the marina except for the train bridge. There are some nice views of the marshes as you get out there and a bagpiper that was there last year as well.
At just under 2 miles, you take a right and go through a neighborhood, and this was the only negative part of the race. The walkers started at the same time apparently, and did not go all the way out to the marina, but instead turned into the neighborhood with the returning runners. There were already a significant number of walkers making their turn and it created some level of congestion. I was ahead of the major pack of runners so it wasn’t too bad, but it did create a slalom course for a couple of minutes. Cars were also allowed on this stretch. While for the most part they were slow and courteous, there was one driver that was not!
Dave around mile 2
Kristen’s note: I hung out around this stretch – by the Guilford Fair Grounds, on Lovers Lane – and while I was waiting, a car came barreling down the road while the race was going on, forcing the runners, walkers and kid fun runners to file off to one side. There was a police presence, so I’m not sure why they allowed this to happen (or at least attempted to give the car and the runners some direction). I was surprised there wasn’t an accident. Also, when the walkers converged with the runners, many of the walkers were getting in the way of the faster runners, walking 3 and 4 across and forcing the pack of runners to go around them. It would behoove the race organizers to re-think the timing of the walking/kid’s fun run. I know there is nothing more discouraging than stopping your forward momentum at mile 2.5 of a 5K to circumvent a walker.
All in all, it was a great race. We exited the neighborhood and headed back to the start/finish. There were no mile markers or water stops, but it’s a New Year’s Day run. I expected informal fun and that’s what I got! You could warm up at the community center afterwards if you wanted, but we preferred a walk around the town, which is very pretty. The results were posted promptly that afternoon. I just missed my sub 22 goal, but came in at 22:03 and 60th overall. Like I said, it was a fast field (which also thankfully meant few silly costumes).
Post-race walk around Guilford, which has a great little downtown area with cozy looking restaurants and boutique-y shops