The 2023 Cambridge Summer Classic 5K was a fun, hot race!
My Garmin had the starting temperature at almost 880 and by the time I finished the temp was over 910 . While I take these temps with a grain of salt, it is hard to argue with their general accuracy. It was freakin hot!
This year I decided to walk over from my office and to not worry about getting a parking ticket or paying for a garage. As I walked down Sidney Street, towards the start area, there was Cambridge Parking Enforcement sitting there! Probably there to tow cars in the way of the race, but I’m sure they were also looking to write a few tickets!
Volunteering at the Cambridge Summer Classic
I’ve been volunteering at these races for the past two years or so. When I was getting PT for my knee, it was a great way to stay involved in the running community.
I’m also the type of guy who gets to races early. I used to sit in my car, do my race prep, and maybe go for a warm up run. While I still need my pre-race routine, I thought Paul might need an extra hand.
I always man the t-shirt table so I can still run the race. When I arrived all the shirts were layed out, but there were only three other volunteers there.
A few more people arrived before the Volunteer Captain came over. She said they were short volunteers and asked if anyone would mind doing another job.
Since I was running the race she said I should stay on t-shirt duty. She directed a few of the other volunteers to follow her and we were down to three people to hand out 2,000+ shirts. Yikes!
Eventually we did get another volunteer, which was great as it was fast and furious for about an hour.
People asked us all kinds of questions and some wanted to swap shirts. The usual.
Starting the Cambridge 5K
The race began at 6:30, so around 6:10 I told everyone I had to get ready. I was hoping to use a porta-potty but with about 15 minutes to race time there were several hundred people in line. I was glad that we didn’t have any water at the t-shirt table!
I jogged down Sidney Street and took a right onto Franklin Street heading towards the VIP tent area. As I jogged down Franklin I saw the water station with a bunch of volunteers.
When I asked for a bottle and told them I was a volunteer one guy piped up and told me no because I wouldn’t give him a shirt!
This guy and several others came to the table asking for shirts. This always happens but usually Paul comes with the people or tells us. I had no idea who this guy was so I said no. He did eventually get a shirt.
Someone said, how do we know you are a volunteer? That was easy, this guy just said I wouldn’t give him a t-shirt, so of course I’m a volunteer. As I reached into the stack to grab a bottle, I seemed to have won that discussion.
After I grabbed my bottle I continued towards the table area. It was pretty crowded but I made my way through the crowd and found the table for volunteers and Paul’s friends. No one else was there yet.
Jogging towards the table, I began to notice how tired my quads and calves were. Two nights before I ran 5K but didn’t push the pace. Was this fatigue from two weeks of vacation in The Sierras?
My heart sunk a bit when I realized how tired my legs were from hiking in the mountains. And hiking is a different type of exercise than running. I just felt out of shape.
I did some stretches, which accentuated my fatigue, and drank some water. Then it was go time.
Running the 2023 Cambridge Summer Classic 5K
It was pretty crowded heading for the corral which made it feel like things were back to normal. I got into the corral and walked about 100 feet towards the front. I looked around and saw plenty of people who I had given shirts to, but no one I knew.
As they made a few announcements I looked towards the sidewalk and saw what looked like another thousand people headed to the back of the corral. When I turned around earlier to check out the crowd, it already looked crowded then. This was going to be a big race.
I was still pretty far back in the crowd, so when the race started I had to walk a while before I crossed the timing mats. It was crowded and hot as we began.
I wasn’t in any hurry to bust out of the crowd! When we got to Mass Ave we took a right and things began to spread out. I still had my water bottle with me and took a quick swig.
I didn’t have a cap on the bottle so I folded it over to try and keep water in it. That didn’t work very well and I ended up wearing half of what was in the bottle. It was still great to have the water I did get.
This race winds through part of MIT’s campus and the Cambridgeport neighborhood. I think we only run this route for the summer race.
While I enjoy seeing this part of Cambridge, I’m not very familiar with it. After a few turns I wasn’t sure where the next turn was or how many were left.
After the second mile I actually hoped they had cut the race short to 2.5 miles due to the heat! There were so many turns, they must be winding us back to the finish? It was so hot and humid. And I was tired.
But we kept winding though the neighborhood.
All I wanted to do was finish the race and have a cold beer.
The air felt so thick with humidity and my lungs felt to out of shape. What else could I hope for?
I didn’t even try to run anyone down. This race was really about just getting to the finish and not dieing. I always say that if you don’t feel like you are going to die, your not running hard enough. Well, I was running as hard as I could!
Finishing the Cambridge Classic 5K
As we made the last turn onto Brookline Street, some people started to kick. God bless them, I thought. Not for me, not tonight.
I was so happy to know that we were on the final stretch and it looked like I would cross the finish line alive. All I could do was move to the right and hope to get a decent finish line shot.
As I approached the finish line I was surprised at how many people were standing just a few feet from the finish. I know that they were hot and tired also, but there were at least another thousand runners who needed to get into and out of that area.
I made my way through the crowd and got a bottle of water with no issues! As I walked along I saw my buddy Jim Gallant. He looked totally hot and sweaty also. We headed for the tables and cold beer.
My finish time was 28:13 at a pace of 9:05. I was happy to beat 29 minutes.
There were a few people at our table but probably half the crowd we see at a Sunday race. We had a case of beer on the table and the beer line was the longest I’ve ever seen it.
Not sure that was going on, but I contented myself with a can from our case. It wasn’t the best beer, but I didn’t have to stand in line for an hour to get it!
After chatting with my race friends for a bit and showing them some of my vacation photos of Crater Lake, I headed across Cambridge to my garage.
As always, it was a nice July evening walk through one of the nicest areas in America. So much is going on here and the streets were full of people going about their business.
Run well my Fiends – Andy