“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Parkway Classic 10 mile race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro(Ambassador), and check out bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!”
The running of this race was combanation of 3 FIRSTS for me. It was my first time visiting Alexandria, my first time running the Parkway Classic and my very first race I got to do for Bibrave. Of course the weekend could not be complete without some close calls. I already knew I would be rushing since I was already running 2 races in NC on Saturday, before traveling to Alexandria Saturday afternoon to prepare for the George Washington Parkway Classic. I mapped it and Alexandria was appx. 4 hours from my home. I finished up my 2 races and was back home by 11am. Jumped in the shower and was back on the road by 12. The Parkway Classic had packet pickup all week, but of course I couldn’t get down there until Sunday. Headed down I-85, with my GPS telling me my WAZE giving me an ETA right 4:30. Everything was going smoothly until I hit Richmond, VA, and then it happened. I heard that familiar WAZE alert and I looked down and my ETA was pushed back 15 minutes. No sweat, the pickup didn’t end until 6 so that still left me plenty of time. I traveled another 30 minutes and another alert popped up, ETA now 5:15. Now i begin to sweat. When it was all said and done, after the standstill traffic, accidents and road closures my final ETA was 5:45pm. Now I am in full on panic mode. I make it packet pickup right at 5:45. The pickup was at the Run Pacers shoe store, so no traditional expo. I am a fan of the race expos, so I was exactly happy with this setup. With bib in-hand, i was able to exhale finally. I made my way to the hotel in hopes of an evening of relaxation.
I stayed at the Westin in Alexandria and I would recommend it to anyone staying in the area. The front desk staff was extremely helpful, they gave me late checkout, and even provided me with a list of restaurants that were in walking distance of the hotel. After i successfully carb load, i settled in for the night.
I will admit, I was not a fan of the race day morning organization. They provided free shuttles for the runners starting at 5:30am BUT ONLY runners were allowed on the shuttles. In addition, the start line had no area to park so any family that came with you would not be able to see you off. That did not sit very well with my wife since she was used to seeing me off from the starting line. The shuttle situation aside, it was a nice ride to MT Vernon for the start. The start of the race took place at George Washington house on MT. Vernon, and the setup was very nice. The start line set up included stations to refill your water bottle, get bananas, muffins, coffee and even heat shields. The heat shields were a savior because the it was low 50s for the start of the race. There was also lots of porter potties available for the runners, I only stood in line for 5 minutes.
Runners weren’t allowed into the corrals until about 10 minutes before start. It was my first time at a race that did that, but it seemed to work out very well. Everyone got into their positions without much clutter. At 8am, we were off. One thing about this race, it is next to impossible to get lost since the race is a straight shot, with the exception of a few curbs. The route was filled with up and down hills, but the view of the Potomac River on your right he whole time. That along with all the great volunteers, helped keep your mind off the hills for the most part. There was not a huge crowd throughout the course, but the few spectators that were on the route cheered loudly. Once you hit mile 8, you are heading into downtown Alexandria and the crowds got a little larger. The final stretch was a little downhill, but not before you tackle 1 last big hill.
After you finish, you poise for your official photo then head over to get some free goodies and have a beer. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my ID so I missed out on tasting the beer options. I even got to meet a fellow bibrave pro, when I ran into Janelle.
I would definitely recommend this race to anyone that no only enjoys 10 mile runs, but also enjoys a nice scenic race. The George Washington Parkway Classic fits the bill. Look forward to running it again in the future.