...ABOUT THE BASIC RACE DETAILS
What's the deal with the race's name?
It's a not-so-subtle way of keeping your expectations as low as possible. This event isn't a big
What's new with the race this year?
It's generally the same as in past years, but we've made a few minor tweaks here and there. The race day entry fee is a dollar higher this year (so that we can afford an extra porta-john!), but we've extended a $1 discount to members of the Loudoun Road Runners Club too. We've eliminated the Masters and Senior Masters awards, since that's really the purpose of having age group awards, isn't it? We adjusted the start times by three minutes this year for no particular reason other than to be silly. There's "prize money" for most of the award winners this year, although because we're silly, it's play money. (And as a joke, we also offered a special "premium entry" level with extra amenities [the premium entry deadline has passed], but two people actually took me up on it and it's required a lot of extra work. That'll teach me!)
Why are the start times 8:02 AM and 8:12 AM?
Will the races start on time?
Assuming there are no major snags, the races will start exactly on time. We will be synchronizing our watches to an atomic clock, so the 10 miler will start at 8:02:00 AM and the 5K will start at 8:12:00, give or take a half a second. The races will start with a countdown rather than the traditional "on your marks, go". So please be sure to give yourselves enough time to get to the park, register, warm up, use the restroom, etc., because the race ain't gonna wait for ya!
(Okay, so last year's start was pushed back by five minutes because of a much-higher-than-expected turnout and lengthy porta-john lines. So maybe we're not totally without mercy on the start time. But our goal is to start exactly on time, at any rate!)
Will there be bathrooms?
Yes, we are renting at least three porta-johns (one more than last year) for our participants, since the park's bathroom building will not be open on race morning. There's bound to be a line as the start times approach. (There will be two additional porta-johns reserved for the use of "premium entrants" only; you can't use those unless the two premium entrants give you permission.)
Will there be refreshments?
Yeah, but nothing fancy. Water, donuts, bananas, maybe some soda. Sorry, no lobster this year!
I'm not a fast runner. Can I run this race?
Absolutely! Just picture the event as a group run with awards. (Keep in mind, though, that we'll probably start giving out the 10 miler awards around 10:00 AM, and we may start packing things up around 10:30 AM. So if you think you might take longer than 2 hours 30 minutes [which works out to an average pace of 15 minutes per mile], you might want to let us know beforehand so that we'll know to wait for you. But we don't mind doing so! We do know that there will be at least a couple 10 mile participants this year who expect to be over 2 hours.)
Can I wear headphones during the race?
Nope! For one thing, the race's liability insurance policy dictates that our participants may not wear headphones. But more than that, it's a safety issue, particularly given the nature of this event. The roads on which we'll be running are narrow and have a number of tight, blind curves, and there will be no traffic
(This policy was first instituted with last year's race, and we were extremely pleased that everyone happily complied and that we didn't have to DQ anybody!)
Can I run the race with my dog(s)?
Sorry, no. As with the headphone matter above, it's forbidden by our liability insurance, and we also don't want dogs tripping up any of our participants. Spectators may have dogs at the race, but per Watermelon Park's rules, the dogs must be leashed at all times, and you gotta clean up after it.
Can I run the race while pushing my child in a baby jogger?
Negative. Insurance issue again (see headphones/dogs above), and the roads are just too narrow for baby joggers anyway. Besides, large portions of the course are unpaved and bumpy, and your child's not gonna enjoy all the jostling.
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Why are the entry fees so low?
Because we're not trying to raise money for anything. We're just hoping to cover our costs. In fact, if our turnout is low, the race director may lose money... but oh well, such is life.
Why $5.99 and $7.99 instead of $6.00 and $8.00?
A penny saved is a penny earned!
Why do SVR members get a $1 entry fee discount?
Because the Shenandoah Valley Runners require us to do so in order for them to agree to sponsor the race.
Why do Loudoun Road Runners Club members get a $1 entry fee discount too?
Because in past years, we've seen quite a few Loudoun RRCers at our race, and since our race is not far from the Loudoun County border, we want to encourage 'em to come up over the Blue Ridge and run with us! (The Loudoun Road Runners Club does not actually sponsor this race and no official involvement on their part should be inferred; we've just extended the discount to their club members as a local courtesy.)
Nope! We're trying to keep this event as simple and as cheap as possible. But we do offer one actual amenity: Our world-famous Stupid Little 10 Miler & 5K pencils! (We do so as a satirical take on the needless offering of "amenities" at most running races.)
If I'm preregistered, is there anything I need to do on race morning?
Can I get a refund if I can't make it to the race or if the race is cancelled?
Sorry, but because we have to pay our race expenses one way or another, we can't offer entry fee refunds.
If I know a preregistrant who can't attend the race, can I claim his or her entry?
Nice try, ain't gonna fly.
For what is my entry fee paying?
Mainly the porta-johns and the various cheap trophies. Trophies and porta-johns account for around half of the race budget! The rest of your money goes towards copying costs, printer ink, refreshments, cups, course marking materials, and rental of the SVR's race clock & timing devices. None of it goes into any individual's pocket.
Who gets the race proceeds?
In the unlikely event that the race turns a profit, all proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association in honor of the race director's father, who died of a heart attack in 1994 at the end of his daily run. We're not out to raise money, though, and our poorly-conceived race budget is such that our expenses will be close to our expected entry fee income. If we wind up with a low turnout, we may actually lose money on the race. Well, the race director would lose money, since he's paying for everything out of pocket. Truly a stupid idea!
The 2008 race did wind up in the black, and we were able to donate $199.36 to the AHA.
Do you give out my personal information to any other parties?
Nope. The information you provide on your entry form is kept private and is used for race-related purposes only. Trust us, we hate junk mail and spam as much as you do!
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...ABOUT THE AWARDS & PRIZES
Prize money for 25th overall? Why?!?
Why not? Why should the fastest people be the ones to win prize money all the time?
What's with all the Monopoly stuff this year?
I thought it would be amusing to satirize the pointless awarding of prize money at large running races by giving out play money at this stupid little event. And the whole money/Monopoly theme becomes additionally relevant given the current recession we're in!
Given our meager race budget, we can't afford anything more extravagant!
Are any of the trophies going to have runners on them?
Nope! Running figurines are boring. Trophies with bodybuilders or goats or pigeons or majorettes on 'em, now those are conversation pieces!
Cheesy certificates for the age groups? Why not give out medals or something?
Because we're cheap. Besides, we've got twelve age divisions in the 10 miler and thirteen age divisions in the 5K, three age group awards per division, two genders... That's 150 potential age group awards to be handed out. It's far cheaper to print up 150 certificates than to order 150 medals!
What is the "I Almost Got Shafted" Award?
The race director used to compile race results for many local races, and he always felt bad for the person who finished the fastest in a race without winning any award. In fact, the race director has finished in this position himself on a number of occasions. He calls it the "shafted spot". Thus, the first male and female in the "shafted spot" in both races will win trophies! This, of course, means that somebody else winds up being the fastest finisher without an award... but hey, you can't please everybody.
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...ABOUT THE COURSE & THE WEATHER
If you like looking at rivers, tree-lined rural roads, and open pastures, then yeah, it's scenic! Really and for true! Large portions of the course (six or seven miles of the 10 miler, and all of the 5K) are on roads which are literally a stone's throw away from the meandering, 500 foot wide Shenandoah River. The remainder of the 10 mile course passes by farms and rolling fields.
If you'd like to take a peek and judge for yourself, just check out our 76-image Tour of the Courses! (The tour photos were taken in mid-March 2005.)
Truthfully-- are the hills in the 10 miler bad?
There are a couple hills which are a little tough at a hard race pace, but they're relatively short, and they definitely don't compare to the famous hills of the Greasy-Gooney 10K. And remember, two-thirds of the 10 mile course is essentially flat. (And the 5K is pretty much entirely flat!)
That will depend on how recently the road has been raked and reshaped by maintenance crews. If work on the road has been done within a month or so of race day, the unpaved sections would be somewhat soft, dusty, and gravelly, with a pronounced crown in some sections. If the roads haven't been worked on in a few months, there'll be more hard-packed dirt exposed, but there may also be ruts and washboarding in places. This is how it is with all gravel roads, though!
UPDATE: The race director checked out the course on 15 March, and the unpaved sections had not had any recent reshaping work done. So it's mostly hard-packed dirt... but there are quite a few ruts and potholes, more than I've seen in past years. So you're going to want to watch your step!
How much automobile traffic will there be on the courses?
We don't expect too much, as these are rural roads, not major arteries. But the roads will be open to traffic and are fairly narrow, and we will not have marshals out on the course. So please keep your eyes and ears open and try not to get hit by any vehicles! Automobiles have the right of way, primarily because they weigh a lot more than you do.
Will there be water stops?
In the 10 miler, yes; in the 5K, no. The number of 10 miler water stops will depend on how many volunteers we have available. We'll have at least one water stop, which, since this is an out-and-back course, you'd pass twice (once on the way out, once on the way back). If we have enough volunteers, we'll add an additional water stop, but we cannot guarantee this. If you think you'll need a lot of water during the race, you are encouraged to carry some with you.
What are the course records?
The records for the 10 miler are held by Winchester-ites Kevin Shirk (54:04, 2008) and Brenda Schrank (1:07:15, 2002). The 5K record holders are Kevin Shirk (16:28, 2005) and Brittany Pollard (21:43, 2008). See the results page for complete results from all of the past editions of the Stupid Little 10 Miler & 5K!
What's the weather usually like at this race?
It has varied, since the race has been held at different times of the year. We can tell you, however, that the March 22nd average high temperature for the area is 54°, and the average low is 34°. Here's the National Weather Service's point forecast for the area around Watermelon Park.
What happens if the weather's bad on race day?
If it's raining: The race will take place as scheduled unless there's significant flooding going on (see below).
If it's snowing or sleeting: The race will most likely be cancelled.
If the weather's okay but there's snow on the ground: We may have to cancel, since there's no paved parking area at Watermelon Park.
If there's flooding along the Shenandoah River: Minor flooding would cause a re-routing of the 10 mile course, but if the water line reaches Lockes Mill Road itself, there's no way we could hold the race.
While we're not necessarily expecting any weather problems, please check this Web site's main page for updates if it looks like the race day weather might be questionable. At the moment we don't have an alternate race date, so if the race cannot be held on Sunday 22 March, we doubt we'd be able to reschedule it. Too many other spring races taking place on later weekends.
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...ABOUT MISCELLANEOUS STUFF
Where will the results be posted?
We'll do our best to post 'em here on the Stupid Little Web pages within a week or so of the race! We will also try to get them posted on the Web sites of the Washington Running Report and racePacket.
Will you be keeping track of our halfway split times this year?
What is Watermelon Park?
Watermelon Park is a private campground alongside the Shenandoah River. Owner John Miller has been gracious enough to let us use their facilities for the race, and we thank him profusely! The park opens each year on April 1st. For reservations, campground fees, and any other questions about Watermelon Park, you can call the park at (540) 955-4803. The park is also the site of the Watermelon Park Fest bluegrass festival in the fall.
Can I volunteer at the race?
You sure can! We are always in desperate need of volunteers. So if you'd like to help out on race day, contact the race director at (540) 635-1773 or firstname.lastname@example.org!
Doesn't Daylight Saving Time start sometime in March?
Yes it does, but not to
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|The Stupid Little 10 Miler & 5K Web pages are maintained by Karsten Brown.|