Today was the day of the 12Ks of Christmas 12K and 5K run in Kirkland. This race has been going on for several years now and this year they decided to change the course to accommodate the growing numbers of participants over the last several years. The location for the start and end of the race was Heritage Park, this turned out to be a much better location than in previous years because there is a lot more space to sprawl out and nobody was over crowded.
I started off my day by waking up at the crack of dawn and heading down to Kirkland to volunteer at registration and packet pick up.
Promotion Events before at Green Lake Gobble last month. Thankfully this time it was not raining and we were not forced to stay under tents the whole time. We were short probably two or three volunteers and we had a line backed up about 20 yards! But it ended up working out alright. I was able to hand out the packets this time and it worked out much smoother then before. I was volunteering until just before their start of the race, at the five minute mark I ran back up to my car, took off my hoodie, put on my armband and then realized I didn't have the pins for me bib! So I had to run back down to packet pick up and then run back over to the start line, so it was a hectic start but I made it there in the knick of in time. Just when I got my earbuds about in the start gun went off in the race was underway!
I wasn't able to participate in the pre race activities but I could hear the race host over the loudspeaker and it seemed that he was doing a great job of keeping the crowd entertained.
The start of the race went well, the 5K the 12 K stayed together for about a mile and a half before we split off and that's when the race kind of went little awry for me. At about mile three we weren't really allowed to use the full right lane anymore and we kind a got squished down to just the bike lane and sidewalks (with both it was about the size of one street lane) which I don't really like because there were so many people that you had to either run on the sidewalk and be curb hopping the whole time or run in the bike lane which was super narrow and packed full of people. I actually ended up kind of doing the curb hopping thing on the sidewalk for a few miles because the road was so slanted for water run off that it was driving my knee insane.
There were two water stops during the race and they were a little bit small for the race size, some of the volunteers were even using the ground as a "table" for water cups and picking up the cups off the ground which I thought was a little weird but on the upside they did have a real trash cans and I repeat cans as in plural! To throw our cups the away in, which was really nice because I hate having to toss my cup on the ground at races when they don't have enough cup disposal locations. Other than that the race was going really well until the last mile at Waverley Way, there were so many spectators and cheer groups that they spread into the race course and it was really hard to see where we were supposed to go. Next year I'd highly recommend roping off that section so that the runners and the spectators are not mingling and slowing the runners down.
The last mile started off as a slight uphill but then finished the last half mile downhill which is great. I love finishing races on a downhill instead of pushing up the last bit, you can always run harder on the way in when you're going downhill too. The post race reception and party was really great they had a lot of vendors, lots of free giveaways, free water, a really nice stage and a really festive atmosphere even a photo backdrop.
Overall the race was a great event and I highly recommend this family friendly holiday run to anyone! It is also dog and stroller friendly. Like I said my only complaint was the "sidewalk curb hopping", the street probably wouldn't bother most people. Don't let that deter you from choosing this race in the future. It's a Very well organized race that is lots of fun!
Thank you for reading! Keep on Running!