Hey all, it’s Vanessa your ‘run ambassador!’ In the spirit of pending (hopefully…) spring weather, it’s time to talk running in Charlottesville!
Charlottesville is a running town. On a sunny spring (or summer, fall, or winter) day you can spot at least 4 runners on your way from the corner to the downtown mall. Are they training for something? Maybe, maybe not. If they are, there’s a good chance it’s the Charlottesville Ten Miler. An iconic Cville race, it runs from John Paul Jones Arena, through UVa grounds, into downtown neighborhoods and on the mall, and back to Uhall. With over 1500 runners, the ten miler is the go-to spring running event in this town.
The first year I ran the ten miler, it poured. I mean, serious, serious, rain. There was even a guy running in a speedo. I remember mile 5, attempting to run up the hill of Lexington Ave, thinking to myself, I will NEVER do this again. Except I did, every single year after that. I look forward to the ten miler now, trying to beat last year’s time, waving to the spectators, tackling the tough hills around Scott Stadium. It’s like a high school reunion with sweat and blisters instead of bad music and too much booze.
This year, I rocked the ten miler. New PR, placed 3rd in my age group, and felt great as I finished. I felt mentally and physically prepared, and the light drizzle at the beginning of the race was just enough nostalgia from my first year to pump me up and get me going. I encourage everyone who wants to claim to be a charlottesvillian to partake in the Cville Ten Miler once. It’s a rite of passage, and just as important to this town’s culture as Bodo’s Bagels and Fridays After Five.
Thinking about running next year? Here are my top 3 tips:
1. Train with hills – don’t spend your time on the treadmill with a zero incline. There’s always one more hill to conquer on this course, so spend your training tackling some incline.
2. Don’t go out too fast – I actually bought a watch this year to make sure my adrenaline didn’t push me to a 6 minute first mile, and it paid off when I was able to bring it in strong at the end.
3. Ditch the headphones – Think of it as a happy hour, there’s historic Cville sites along the way, people to talk to, bands playing, and of course, the pink ladies cheering you on by the stadium. Soak it all in.
Check out the Charlottesville Ten Miler, and if you’re feeling ambitious, check out the Charlottesville Marathon and Half Marathon (it’s April 6th, so you can get involved THIS year at a water or cheer station along the course).