I had been looking for a race to do on for my birthday. This year, it fell on a Saturday so would be on my actual birthday day. I usually do half marathons, but I have not been training enough for that. Ok, ok, so that hasn’t stopped me before! The only half marathons that day within driving distance were the Scream in NC and Burn Your Half Off in TN. I have already done both of those. They are both great races and plan to do them again sometime. I did a little more looking around and decided to look for 10K races. That is when I found the Tri-Span race.
This race is in its 40th year so I figured it would be a nice stable race to attend. We drove up on Friday and went to the packet pickup. They suggested to pick it up Friday to avoid the morning line. The pickup was at a Brewery, and they were offering a free beer to all who were picking up their packets. We got to they Brewery just as it was starting so it was quick. No swag other than the T-shirt but it was cool they had the option of a T-shirt or a Tank top. I opted for the tank. It is also creamsicle orange. First of that color for
sure! It’s nice and light. We got the free beer then decided to try out a few different craft beers before heading back to check into the hotel.
This race had options of a 1-mile walk, a 5k, and a 10K. The mile started first, then the 10K a few minutes later, then the 5K started about 20 minutes after that. The 10K was to start at 7:02 so we got to the race area around 6:15 to ensure we would have time to park and get oriented to the area. In hindsight, we
probably should have just walked from the hotel with as long as it took us to find a spot to park. The race is in a downtown area and there were over 700 runners between the 3 races. We found a good spot and headed over to the start/finish line.
I had been watching the weather forecast all week and it kept threatening to rain. By the morning, it was still showing about 30% possibility of rain but was looking like a pretty good chance of staying dry. By now it was about 30 min before race time, so it was time to find the restroom. It was easy to find as there was a long line. I was in line a while then someone comes up and says there are 20 stalls across the field. I only had a few people left in front of me by then, so it wasn’t worth moving. Once I finally got in there, I realized there were only 2 stalls in this bathroom!
Once that was taken care of, I headed back out to the start line. The 1-mile people were lining up and started. While waiting for the 10K to start, we checked out the view as it was on the river and was a very pretty area. Where we were waiting was a new concert area according to some people I overheard
They lined us up and started the race right on time. That is always a good sign. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to do the race besides doing a run/walk. I didn’t really have a goal besides finish and under an hour and a half. I did not have my timer and my apple watch can be picky so didn’t want to mess with it besides tracking my time for the race. As I started off, my body was tight, and I was thinking this might be a long morning. The first mile is flat, and I did a run walk as I felt needed. We passed several of the places we had visited the day before. By the end of the first mile, I was starting to loosen up so was feeling a little better. Unfortunately, though, it was very hot and humid, and I was already sweating by the first mile. I do not sweat easily!
At just over a mile, we took the first turn, and it went up – a drastic up – a hill – but thankfully not a long one. It then leveled out for almost another mile. There were a good number of water stops which was good due to the heat and humidity. Some water stops also had people with water soakers shooting water help cool us off. Oh, I didn’t mention earlier, the first water stop was at about mile 1, and the second was at mile 2.
It was now time for the bridges. Tri-Span is the name for a reason. This race goes over 3 bridges. The first is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge which was opened in 1969 and it just over a half a mile long. It’s a draw bridge and when it gets to the grating, it is creepy looking down through the holes. I only did that for like 1 second! Once done with that bridge, we looped around the first exit which took us to the next bridge, the S Thomas Rhodes bridge. I was not able to find when it was built but was renovated in 2012. After running over that one, we got a little break from bridges and hit another water stop with water soakers at about mile 4.5. Then a lady behind the water soaker guys tossed some cold water from a cup on me. Wow did I need that! I had been getting more and more tired from the heat but that cold water refreshed me. Due to the bridges, there had been no water between mile 2 and 4.5.
Then the final bridge. When running over this one, you can look over and see the finish line which I’m not sure is good or bad at this point! Thankfully that cold water got me back in a happy place and I was ready to finish it strong. All the bridges were inclines, no straight across ones in this race! Not sure of the name of this bridge but it was a drawbridge like the first one, just much shorter.
After running over the last bridge, there was still a bit to go but was greeted with another water stop with water guns and very cold water. At this point, we were heading back down to the riverfront area which included a wooden walking area along the river. It was very pretty. The rest of the race to the finish line was flat, thankfully!
One last loop around and the finish line is in sight! I crossed the finish line in 1:21. That was respectable for a 10K with almost no training. I was very happy with that. Everyone got a finisher medal and they handed out water too. They had advertised over 1000 pickles. Yep, there were lots of huge pickles waiting at the end. I must say they were creative. Some of the volunteers were handing them out using surgical gloves as holders.
This is a race I would highly recommend to others looking for a weekend getaway race. There is so much
to do in downtown Wilmington, NC. We are looking forward to going back and seeing more of the area. While it was hot and humid, as would be expected in the south in July, it was a great race. The good amount of water stops were definitely a help and the water soakers were an extra bonus!