I live for action packed, adventure filled weekends and the weekend of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon was definitely one of them!
Sometime last year, after hearing a bunch of people raving about the race’s beautiful course and hearing “bridges” in the name (I have a weird passion for bridges) I decided I NEEDED to run it. The only thing was, it sells out in about 15 minutes. So I threw caution to the wind and actually signed up for a race in advance for once.. like REALLY in advance, so I had no idea what else my schedule would hold at the time.
Turned out, it was to be my boyfriend’s grandparent’s 50 wedding anniversary party the night before. A party that I was to help prep for the two days before hand (when I wasn’t at work), then help set up, then party at. Of course, it turned out SUPER FUN, but after helping make about a million chocolates for the dessert table, eating half of them, and dancing for hours I was pooped and beginning to question my decisions. I left at 9:30 to make the 3 hour drive to the campground I where I was staying. I couldn’t believe there was STILL traffic going through Boston 😒 and I ended up getting mildly lost trying to get gas in NH because their exit amenity signs are different than the ones I’ve evidently come to know and love here in Mass.
In the end I made it to the KOA campground I was staying at in one piece, but questioning my decisions further, at 1AM. I pulled up to the office and was somehow surprised it was closed.. yes it was 1 in the morning, but they had even had an “Extra Comments” section in registration for late arrivals that I had filled out so I was kind of stumped why they’d just leave me. I honestly debated just camping in the parking spot in front of the office for a few minutes until I finally notice a “Night Registration” sign off to the side. It was above a what looked to be a brightly colored bulletin board with only one paper posting a “Non-Emergency Number” on it. It seemed off, but I figured this isn’t an emergency after all so I gave it a shot. After clearly waking the poor woman up, the park ranger explained to me that the “bulletin board” was actually a box.. the night registration box.. which had my info.. so I didn’t have to go disturbing people 😅 She then proceeded to try and direct me to my site even though it was literally the first one at the entrance. I think she thought I was clueless at this point (which I guess I kind of was). I parked in my spot.. 20 feet from the office and attempted to Google Map to the start line so I could figure out how early I’d need to be up. Of course I didn’t have GPS signal so I just went with more than 20 minutes to spare since I thought I remembered it being about that far of a drive. Exhausted and kind of exasperated with how things were going I set my alarm for 5AM and laid down in the backseat of my car. That’s when I looked up to see the sky FULL of stars that I was going to be sleeping under. I immediately felt better and like this was all worth it again and passed out after a short star gaze 😊
I woke up before my alarm, feeling pretty good that morning. I remembered it being a pretty straight shot to the race start so I figured I’d just start driving and hope to find GPS and/or signs. Turned out I just needed to go to the entrance of the campground for GPS AND the race parking (I had looked up the start line before) was 4 minutes down the road! I ended up being the first person there who wasn’t a volunteer! After how hot it was the day before I wasn’t going to be caught dead without my hydration vest. But that was fine by me because then I had more real estate to stash all my other stuff.
I got in line for the shuttle and chatted with others as they gathered for the race. One was staying in a cabin in the KOA campground and told me the pool (that my site was directly across from) was heated (so that’s a fun note if you ever stay there). I arrived at the start with insane amounts of time (especially for me) before the race. I was pumped my Instagram friend Meriam found me and we spent the rest of the time taking a bunch of pictures with her phone because mine was dead from trying to find signal ❤️
We lined up across the entire road at the start, which wasn’t really surprising, but what was surprising was we were allowed the entire road for a good 3 miles! It was pretty cool to see such a large pack of runners take over the road for so long. The course started as nice country back roads, went though a cute little town at one point, then became all roads along one or more beautiful rivers! It wasn’t super hot but they were those wicked clear, kinda shallow rivers that look too perfect not to take a dip in so it was really hard to just run past them! There was a medium length and incline hill at mile 5, but tons of people cheering and only one other REALLY steep hill at mile 8. That one they had a full out marching band at the bottom of to pump you up to the top! The rest of the course was only tiny inclines and declines and the race FLEW by! I don’t really remember much else for racing details.
I could see it as a course you could definitely PR on. I think I’ll make a weekend of it (if I get in) next year, so I can explore the course by walking the day before and then go for speed during the actual race. Some other fun things about this course was they had clocks and live music about every 2 miles along with the water stops. The water stops were also generally really big, on both sides of the road, and manned by some adults, but also lots of adorable kids! It also turned out I hadn’t needed to shove everything I owned into my hydration vest since they shuttle your bags from the start to the finish (I’m just really good a reading instructions and hadn’t seen that 😅)!
I ended up taking my time and running 1:50:11. I will definitely be trying to get into this race again next year and would totally recommend you join as long as you don’t mind registering so far in advance! Even with a much less than optimal night before a race this race was 100% worth it!!