Richmond Road Runners

Supporting running in the metro Richmond area

NOTE! The Ashland 10K was well organized, and it had great volunteer and community support. I have been running the race on and off for nearly twenty years.

 

Thank you to the race organization and to the RRRC.

 

 

However, I have no idea why the Ashland 10K was changed but IN MY OPINION ---

 

The Ashland 10K has been destroyed...

Like so many good things that have been a tradition for years has the Ashland 10K fallen victim to the times?

What was once a scenic, fast, interesting 10K is now a hodge-podge of 10K, 5K, and walk.

 

It is all packed in to a course that requires laps over laps and ends up mixing all the groups together so you are finishing with the 5K and running between the walkers.

IMO it was a bloody disaster!

I do not see it on my calender for next year.

 

 

 


 

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John, I think you may have a legitimate concern about the number of overlapping races. I was a volunteer, not a runner, but I do recall someone saying on the loudspeaker something to the effect of "Don't run the 10K on the course you have run it on before, or you will be off-course."

I think at one point in its history, the old course of the Ashland RR Run used to cross the railroad tracks! I think yesterday's current route stayed on the west side of the tracks, so that is an improvement in the actual course; your complaint is, as I understand it, about the overlapping and virtual merging of the two non-RRRC finish line events with the 10K, which may create confusion and possible slower times for the serious/faster runners.

I guess the goal at this point should be to preserve the wonderful community festive atmosphere of the Ashland RR Run without discouraging good runners from participating.
To my knowlege, there were a lot of restrictions placed upon those creating a route this year. The route(s) used in the past were no longer approved by the Ashland Police. They were not allowed to cross Center Street, Rt. 54, and I'm not sure what other roads . I also know that the first few attempts were rejected. Maybe one of the Ashlanders can elaborate on the details of why the route had to be changed and the restrictions.
I was not there, so really can not comment, but wow!!! did you see some of the times? Regardless of the issues stated, the new course seems rather fast.
I ran the race, and was one of the front runners, and the part that I didn't like was the second turn where I ran through a lot of slower runners and had to zigzag around them. Another problem with two loops around that neighborhood is that it relies on the honesty system. There is no way course marshals can keep up with who ran one or two loops around. First time I ran that race, and other than the course a very well organized event.
The race is growing, and so is the traffic in town. I believe this accounts for both the faster times and the stunted course that does not cross route 54.
1st place man and woman were both from out of town and did not race it last year. They were collegiate. 2nd place in the mens group is the new swim coach for Randolph-Macon college. He is a triathlete and this was his first year also.

I think it is clearly evident that the race course is clumsier than in previous years when there was no close looping or competing 5k. However, the race has also lost a more ephemeral integrity since the stretch along Randolph-Macon was closed.

I think these features in this order give this race coherence: 1) traveling north by the center of town, the train station, and the college, which is beautiful and represents a major aspect of Ashland's history. This part was cut this year, forcing the ingrown course. 2) exiting town to travel the stretch of road to Gwathmey Church Road. This is when the race opens ups for those who have paced adequately. Graceful rolling hills and scenic farmland contrast town, representing another facet of Ashland/Hanover. 3) In previous years, when a runner turns around a Gwathmey Church road, it is literally downhill from there. This re-entry back into town straight from the open road to the finish gives the race a graceful form that opens up for speed and focus. It also affords the sense of traveling and returning that is different from vulgar meandering, I think.

I was upset to see the race course garbled, but I am inclined to trust the Ashland Police in their decisions. I would like to know what was proposed, rejected and compromised, to see if the race can be improved while realizing new restrictions, because the premise of the race is a great one.
Here's yet another perspective. I ran as a non-competitive runner in the 10K, and had never run this race before. My husband walked in the 5K. I was thrilled that, because of the way the course was set up, I passed my husband not once, but twice, giving us more of the feeling that we were participating in the same event. So noted that a 10K runner could run one lap instead of two, but, to what end? An artificially (and deceptively) fast time? Anyway, from my point of view this was a very well organized and enjoyable event. Thanks to all who made it happen.
I thought the race was really well set up and run. The weather was perfect, the marshals did a great job. The signs they set up made the double loop easy to manage ("1st time left; 2nd time right"). I enjoy the small town feel and family friendly atmosphere here.

It would be nice if they could highlight the town better by spreading out the 10K as they had in previous years but I'll continue to keep it on my calendar.
As the race director for this year's Ashland Railroad Run, I want to sincerely thank everyone for their comments as they are extremely helpful to us as in planning for next year's race. Dave Klisz, race committee member/course czar, and I, had many sleepless nights worrying about the new route. Dave did an outstanding job working with the Ashland Police Dept. and within our new restrictions to keep the race to the southwest quadrant of town - a very tough assignment.

I wanted to offer a few clarifications/comments:
1. There are three events: kids 1 mile, 10k, 5k Fun Walk/Run
2. The Race comittee's preferred, and originally proposed, new route traveled north of town, utilizing railside trail from Vaughn...down Center st/Railroad ave. with a finish directly in front of the Hanover Arts Activities Center (with an earlier start time to further minimize traffic concerns). It was rejected by the APD. They did not want us to cross Rt. 54 (England St.)
3. Once we had the new course approved and certified; we moved to re-work the 5k. We quickly realized that we should have re-designed them together (inexperience on our part). and we knew immediately that in 2011, the 5k portion would have to be different in some way (start time, no running, something!).
4. It is true that we have more runners in the 5k than ever...once we were cognizant of the issues we were facing with the two courses intermingling we immediately pulled the word "run" from website, posters, flyers, etc., trying to discourage runners (we have had many requests the last two years to make our 5k a timed event).
5. We are aware the course is tighter, turn intensive and a bit crowded...we also knew we were testing our capacity (record number of runners this year at just over 400 for the 10k) but we were pleased that several people we heard from PRed. We conducted a traning session for our marshal volunteers and attempted to highlight the key intersection (1xleft, 2xright) in several ways to best prepare and educate runners.
6. I appreciate the comment about traffic. Ashland and it's outskirts are not the same as they were 20 years ago,,,or even 10 years ago. We wish to work within these circumstances and constraints to minimize disruptions and provide a great experience for everyone.

We learned alot on Saturday and we want to continue to hear your comments so that we can provide a better experience for you all next year....and we hope John S. will give us another try! Special thanks to Michael George and the entire staff/volunteers from RRRC - their advice and assistance were invaluable in preparing and running the race! tammy proffitt
I think you did a excellent job given all the circumstances - this was my 1st time running this event and I will come back for sure.

Thanks
It sounds like there were a ton of details going on behind the scenes - thanks so much for working through them!

I have not run the Ashland 10K before, but from my limited running experience, I thought it was terrific. Maybe the perfect weather and the cheerful people had a lot to do with it as well, but still - it was a great way to start the day :-)
I think the race was a huge success, especially considering some of your circumstances. The crowd support was great and, I think, even enhanced by the loop since I got to pass several cheering friends multiple times. Plus the signs pointing runners in the right direction could not have been clearer.

This was my first time running Ashland so I can't comment on previous routes. But it's hard to imagine a finish more memorable and exciting than running alongside a moving train! Overall, I really enjoyed it and will definitely be running this race again. Thanks!
As a first time participant in the Ashland Railroad 10K, I thought the race was extremely well organized and the race course itself was solid. In my opinion, a quality road race needs the following:
• an accurately measured course that is both safe for runners and clearly marked
• volunteers / race officials to monitor the course
• crowd/community support
• a clock to provide finishing times
• aid stations
• an on-time start
• post race nourishment
• prompt race results.
I think the race director nailed just about everything. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement (i.e., get rid of the 180 degree turn), but as someone who has been running road races for close to 30 years, this was about as good as it gets. I’ll definitely run it again next year. Even the tee-shirt was a hit.
Congrats to Ashland for putting on a GREAT EVENT!!!

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