Friday, August 14, 2015

Door County Hairpin Run 2015

Obviously I fail and life and keeping this blog updated. Life seemed to get in the way, what with work, running, riding, and just general things that take time. While I managed to write posts and save them in drafts, I never took the time to actually publish them. I apologize in advance for throwing all these saved posts out this weekend.
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On July 4, 2015 I participated in Door County's Hairpin Run. The Hairpin is an annual 5K that occurs on the 4th every year. This is the second time I've participated, and the first time that I participated as a "runner".

When you register for this run there are two different entry options. The first is as a "walker" which means you are not chip timed, the second is as a "runner" which means you are chip timed and you will be able to see your finish line video. My first year I participated as a "walker" because I signed up the day before, and the race is "capped" at 1100 runners. Be prepared that this is an extremely popular race.

Because I did compete as a runner this year I was able to receive an accurate time of 32:16. Not necessarily a time I'm happy with for a 5K, but for this specific race I'll happily take it.
Picture Credit: hairpinrun.com
The Hairpin starts in the main intersection in Fish Creek, WI (If you've been there before, it's the intersection with the awkward 3-way stop by Hideside.) on Highway 42. The road is not blocked off until just before the race starts, which does get a bit scary when runners decide to ignore traffic and line up in the road early. Once the road is officially closed the runners pile into the street and line up for the start. This race does not utilize any type of corral system, and pretty much assumes that runners and walkers will know where they belong.

Despite this race occurring on July 4th, there is no National Anthem sung or any acknowledgment that it's a national holiday. Once the road is officially cleared and the runners are lined up, the race is started. This year someone (race organizers?) flew a drone over the starting line and I believe it was used to track the first runner.

Once the gun goes off you are instantly treated to a HUGE hill. I hate this hill, The hill takes roughly half a mile to defeat and I added on a few more tenths of a mile darting around walkers or slower runners. I don't think I would hate this hill as much if it weren't for having to focus on getting around everyone.

Once the hill is completed you turn into a little neighborhood type area. Now the neighborhood is where the race really becomes fun. All along the course there are people cheering and just creating a festive atmosphere. This year, one family went above and beyond and set up their own water stop around the 1.5 mile mark (according to my GPS). Because I didn't realize they weren't part of the race I didn't give them more than my customary thank you. So, random family who is super awesome, thank you for going out of our way to help the runners. It's people like you who make this race fun!

Back to the course. This course goes uphill for about the first half, with that first hill being the worst. Then it goes downhill for the second half. It gets the name Hairpin from a hairpin turn while going downhill. This turn is a great marker for me because it signals that I'm almost done with the race. But it's also a marker you have to be careful with. Because it's a sharper turn and it's downhill, I did see two people slip and almost fall. Please be careful with the turn, take it wide if needed or slow down!

Once you finish the race they have a timing area set up for you to view your time and a refreshment area with water, Gatorade, cookies, and bananas. At the end of the refreshment area there are coolers, so you can keep refilling your original cup and not have to get in line again.

Overall, this is an enjoyable family race that I would recommend for anyone up in Door County over the 4th of July.


It should be noted that while the highway is closed for the race, the other roads are not. This year I had to turn around and wait for my mom and brother to finish the race. While waiting a car drove through the finish line. According to other runners this lady pulled out of her driveway and started driving on the race course! She was going fairly fast when she crossed the finish line and left a good number of angry participants in her wake. Several parents were angry because they were letting their children walk the course and run up ahead. Those poor kids (or runners with headphones!) could have gotten hurt! My mom attempted to speak to race organizers about why a car ended up on the course, and she got blown off. Similarly, a runner walked up to a paramedic to ask where the police were and he got blow off. Despite the race being a "safe, closed" course I would not plan on it staying clear. The organizers and police patrolling the course did a poor job handling the situation and should have made it clear that cars can, and will enter the course.

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