Let’s get the obvious question out of the way … 5.7 miles?? Yes, it was the Stratham Fair Road Race is a 5.7 mile race. This year was the 40th running of this race, which takes place in Stratham, New Hampshire, every year in conjunction with the Stratham Fair. This year’s race was held on Saturday, July 20.

In all honesty, this race was not originally part of my race plans for 2013. However, our running club (Coastal Athletic Association - CAA) encourages our members to run this race every year. It is a small race (167 finishers, including the relay teams), but it also includes a running club challenge between CAA and The Winner’s Circle Running Club. Thus, my wife and I decided to sign up and run.

We arrived in time to pick up our bibs, t-shirts and commemorative pint glasses (there was no pick-up prior to race day). This gave us some time to do some socializing prior to the race.

When 8:30 AM start time came around, the weather was warm and humid. I lined up with the thoughts of taking it easy since I’d be running another race on Sunday. However, when we started, my strategy went completely down the drain. After the first two miles, I was running just over a 7:00 pace, and I’m not a 7:00 pace kind of guy.

Needless to say, the fast start combined with the humidity and the rolling hills quickly took their toll on me. I found myself slowing down, taking water at every water stop (they increased the number of water stops based on the weather) and running under the hoses and sprinklers of the thoughtful homeowners along the race course who were out there trying to keep us cool. Eventually, I found myself alternating between walking and running.

The final mile or so of the course is entirely on a gradual uphill. After recovering from everything that went wrong, I managed to kick it up a bit at the end and finished the race with a decent kick. As I crossed the finish line, I ended up with a 7:59 overall pace. This was far from what I planned on, but given the conditions, I can’t complain that much.

After crossing the finish line, we were handed cool, wet towels. This is the first race that I’ve ever run where this was offered. It was a brilliant idea and exactly what I needed at that moment. Not long after I finished, my wife crossed the finish line too. We spent some time talking with other runners and encouraging the runners still on the course for a few minutes before heading over to the pavilion for some more liquids.

After the race was over, there was an awards ceremony and a raffle where quite an abundance of prizes were given out.

This was a very well organized race, and it is always great to run with a great group of runners. The Stratham Fair Road Race is definitely a race that I will consider running again next year. Maybe I’ll see you there!