My April race was the Blueberry U Run – U Pick 5k at Southern Hill Farms. This location covers over 120 acres of farm land; 20 acres are solely blueberry bushes…yum! It was such a fun atmosphere and beautiful views from each direction you looked.
I arrived early to secure a close parking spot which was still a 5 minute walk up to packet pick up, but I loved watching the sunrise above the fields prior to the start of the race. More and more people were arriving and the smell of blueberry pancakes filled the air.
I love the location, but the main downfall was the 20 minute drive on dirt roads leading out to the farm and parking. There were a few cars that kept getting stuck in the soft dirt/clay, as well as two accidents blocking traffic. So…be sure to put your car in four wheel drive and arrive early to get a good parking spot.
But once you park safely, make the 5 minute walk up the hill, have some water…then you’re ready to get to the starting line. We ended up having an hour delay until the race started because of all the car issues, but once the count down was complete…we were off.
There had to be over 500 people in this race and the clay roads made for an entertaining path. Also, I couldn’t find my headphones so this was the first race I had NO music! I was so bummed at the beginning, but it ended up being a great experience and wasn’t that much of a bother.
I ended up doing better than I thought (for being the first race since I had been sick and took two weeks off) and ran with an 11:16/mile pace and finished at 34:59 minutes. My pace was much faster prior to getting sick, but lately I have been building back up and will hopefully beat this time in my next 5k on May 20th!
All-in-all, I enjoyed this race for the afterwards experience…the shirt, medal, free pound of blueberries I got to pick myself, and blueberry pancakes; but I was getting pretty antsy to start the race. I felt awful for the cars getting stuck and I’m sure the people directing traffic were having a stressful morning too.
I also have to say that there were moments I struggled to run in the soft sand/clay. Not all spots along the road were soft, but there were moments I found a patch and felt it slow me down a bit. These dirt roads are a popular location for many runners to visit and train on. I might have to check it out again in my spare time to do some additional training for myself.
I LOVE Southern Hill Farms though! Mark and I went to pick out our Halloween pumpkins last year and plan to make a trip again to pick blueberries as a family. AND…the blueberry muffins were AMAZING!!!