TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET 10 MILER
So you’re racing the Blessing 10 miler this weekend, huh? Well, so am I. It's the fourth race in our Rhode Runner race series and we're in this together, so before we descend upon Narragansett on Friday afternoon to embark on this scenic, “flat” and fun 10-miler I thought I’d put together a few things to know about this race. Especially if it’s your first time.
1. There Is No Better Place To Finish A Race
Period! The race ends by the famous Towers of Narragansett and right next to the ocean. I mean you are so close to the ocean when you finish that if you kept running straight for another quarter mile you would be IN the ocean! The race also ends on almost a quarter-mile downhill slope which makes it the perfect place to unleash that finishing…
2. It’s Not Completely Flat (But It's Pretty Flat)
The race is considered a flat course because none of the hills resemble the true hills that we’ve all been accustomed to running here in Rhode Island...like Rochambeau. However, because of the distance, it pays huge dividends to start it a little conservatively despite how good you may feel in the first mile (both in terms of fitness and because of the slight downhill during the first mile). In fact, after running the course a few times now I suggest waiting until mile #5, right after the turn onto Pt. Judith Road (see map below) before you begin to push the pace. Here’s the elevation profile from my last course preview, followed by a course map:
3. It’s In The Evening
What?? Yup! In case you haven’t noticed, the race is held on Friday evening at 6pm which means we have to think about race-day activities a little more carefully so that we show up to the starting line ready to go. Think about your meals (including when to have them), your hydration and even the time spent on your feet during the day, so you’re not feeling worn out or hungry at the start. If you game-plan for the race properly it can be a great way to end your work week.
4. The Crowd Support Is Amazing
Truly amazing! There are no shortage of spectators out there on the sidewalks, front lawns (the course travels through quite a few neighborhoods), and even in cars zipping by yelling or honking their horns. You might even run into one or two people standing with hoses ready to cool you down if you want. This support goes all way to the finish, with a most boisterous crowd near the finish line.
5. It Can Be Humid. It Will Also Rain
That last part is almost guaranteed, according to anyone I’ve ever talked to about this race. There is something about Friday evenings in late July that almost always spells rain. Any meteorologists out there feel free to chime in. The race usually starts with clear skies but at some point the rain comes and it becomes a tale of two races. Be prepared to deal with a little bit of (or a lot of) wet weather.
6. There Are 10 Water Stations Along The Course
According to the race information, there are also time checks at every mile, which is very convenient. That’s 10 time checks! Plenty of opportunity to stay on pace. If you would rather drink something other than water I suggest bringing your own sports drink or coordinating with someone along the course who can hold it for you.
7. You Can Walk The Race Too
Yes, there is a race and even awards for walkers. If you plan to do this, note that the walk starts at 5pm, a full hour before the runners.
8. There Is A Race Shuttle
There are actually two race shuttles, at two different times. For those of you who prefer to park at the beach, there will be a race shuttle running a continuous loop from the south parking lot of Narragansett Town Beach to the middle school where the race starts, from 3:00 to 5:30pm. Note: the start and the finish are a couple of miles apart, but once you finish the race, there will be a shuttle running a continuous loop from the Towers to the middle school, from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Pretty convenient, huh?
9. Traffic Will Be Heavy
Get there early!! Especially if you plan to register on race day. Last year more than 3,400 people competed in the race and a good number of them drove in.
10. It Ends At A Seafood Festival
New England Clam chowder? Beer?? Benches to sit on?! The Blessing of The Fleet Seafood Festival located right next to the finish line might the the best part about the race. Bring some cash though, the food & drinks are not on the house.