Hoo boy, did I ever waffle about this race. It’s the race I’ve always wanted to love, but for some reason, it’s gotten in my head.
The Evergreen Pumpkin Run offers a 10 mile and 5K option, both routes winding through the historic Evergreen Cemetery. The paths are lined with hundreds of pumpkins, which runners are welcome to take after they finish.
It’s a beautiful run, with an interesting and scenic backdrop. For me, the weather is usually a factor, but this year, it promised to be cool with low humidity, and I figured since S and I both needed the miles and we were both available, why not give it another shot.
We arrived early in order to get a close-ish parking spot. Since we had opted for on-site packet pickup, we needed to park, walk all the way to check-in for our bibs and shirts, then back to the car and back to the race start (and bathrooms), it’s fairly critical to be there in advance. What we didn’t realize was that there was a new course, which meant that there were fewer spots than before due to road closures, and we managed to snag one of the last good ones.
We easily completed the boring details and hopped on line to wait for a portapotty. It always seems like there are so many runners and not enough bathrooms, but we had gotten on the queue in enough time to go and make it comfortably to the start line.
Miles 1 -3
The first three miles (give or take) follow a route through the actual cemetery. It’s really quite lovely and shaded with huge trees.
It can be crowded for those first miles, just because the 5K and 10 mile runners all head out together at the same time, but it clears up fairly quickly. The first three miles are always the easiest: it’s generally cooler under the trees, and there’s a lot of excitement with all the runners. It was one of the stronger starts I’ve had for this particular event.
In the past, the middle miles were comprised of two out and backs alongside and then perpendicular to the cemetery. At some point, in the years since I’ve run this race, things have changed to just one out and back. While this part of the course isn’t particularly interesting, I liked it so much better than in the past. After making the turnaround, runners knew they were headed back to the final miles and it felt fabulous to not have to strike out on another straightaway. There was one water stop about halfway through this portion of the race, which could be accessed from both sides and was staffed by some enthusiastic cheerleaders.
The final three miles are a repeat of the first three. By the time of the morning, it was definitely warmer, but it still wasn’t too hot, too humid or too sunny. I was tired, but mostly because I had forgotten to bring fuel (and there was none on the course. boo.). S is a great running and race buddy though, because we get to chatting so much and so intently that we almost forget we are running. S was also on the lookout for the grave sites of some of her relatives, so it kept us focused on pretty much everything but the growing discomfort.
And then finally, we reached the finish line! I was extra glad because I don’t think I’ve ever felt so great after finishing this particular race. It wasn’t the fastest, for sure, but I did feel good, and that has to count for something.
We did take a pass on the pumpkins (we were hungry and wanted to get something to eat), but we were just as thrilled with our awesome new bling!
Have you ever raced in a cemetery?
What do you do if you forget your fuel and none is available?