This past weekend, my husband, best friend, and I ran The Hard Cider Run in Gettysburg, PA. We signed up back in January and had been training ever since. My husband and best friend have recently gotten in to running, so I was excited to participate in the race with them!
Let’s first start with the reason that we signed up: free cider. We are big cider people, so the “free” glass at the end of the race was definitely a big selling point. I say “free” because it was included in our race fee.
While signing up, my husband and I noticed that the race coordinators were also offering a “Hungry Apple Challenge.” Hmm…..as most of you know, my husband and I are big foodies…it’s actually one of our biggest passions…
In order to complete the challenge, runners had to run the 5K AND eat an apple cider donut after each mile marker. Although I love food, I was hesitant when my husband suggested adding on the challenge. Running and food usually don’t mix well for me. But, I put my fears of throwing up aside and signed up for the challenge. Once my best friend heard that we were doing the race, she quickly signed up to join us!
Race day started out pretty gloomy with several thunderstorms making their way through the area. Packet pick-up was delayed for an hour until the storms passed. Nevertheless, we made our way to the hidden winery in Gettysburg. We made turn after turn until we finally reached it: the “hilliest” winery ever. Once my husband saw the cones at the entrance to the winery, which was at the bottom of the biggest hill we’ve ever seen, he almost lost it…hehe!
Once we were parked, we waited in line and quickly got our race shirts and bibs. You guys, I’m in love with the race shirts we received!
The saying on the back says “Train, Race, Drink,” and the front of the shirt has an apple with a mustache – so cute! Excuse my sweat in these photos – I had just gotten back from a run.
We took our shirts back to the car and made our way to the start line…which was at the bottom of yet another hill…oh boy…
Selfies at the start line!
We lined up, and before we knew it, the DJ counted down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…GO!” And we were off!
The beginning of the course was very narrow and slippery, so we had to walk the first few tenths of a mile until we reached a flat part of the course. We finally settled in to our groove of doing intervals and made our way to mile 1. I was a little nervous about how these donuts were going to go down, but I was up for the challenge. Mile 1 was approaching and we made our way to the donut stand. The race volunteer marked off the first number on our bibs and handed us the biggest apple cider donut I’ve ever seen…oh boy….here goes nothing…
As you can see, I was the slowest eater of the group…
After shoveling in donut #1, I took a sip of water and carried on with Steve and Alexa. The terrain between miles 1 and 2 was fairly easy – we ran along the flat pathway until we came to a HUGE downhill portion of the race (at least .3 of a mile). We flew down the hill supper fast, made the turn at the bottom, and started the trek back up that same hill….mind you, this is the same huge hill we passed when we entered the winery. We made it to the half-way part of the hill before we had to stop to walk….as did every other person running the race.
After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the top and started running before we were quickly met with mile 2 and another donut. The next volunteer made another mark on our bib and handed us our second donut.
This donut didn’t go down nearly as easily, but I did eventually finish it!
After finishing, we looked ahead and saw that miles 2-3 looked fairly easy (just a lot of winding back and forth within the apple trees in the winery. Easy enough! This part of the course flew by, and in an instant, we were at the third donut stand. The volunteer marked off our last number and gave us our final donut.
This donut was definitely hard to get down. While Steve finished his donut, Alexa and I had to carry ours with us. We only had .1 to go, after all! We did one last pass through the apple trees, made a turn, and sprinted through the finish! We quickly finished our donuts and were handed our medals (one for the challenge and one for the race).
How cute are these medals?!
We walked to the end of the finisher corral and got our glass and a can of Jack’s Hard Cider. We could choose between a dry or a sweet cider, but we all got sweet.
Check out this cute glass!
We found an empty patch of grass, set our stuff down, and did a little stretching. Shortly after, we sipped on our ciders and took a ton of finisher photos to celebrate.
Overall, this was definitely a fun experience and a great race to do with other people! Although it was weird not going for time, I had a blast with two of my favorite people and finished with a smile on my face (and I didn’t throw up!)!